A mazda driving safely on country roads

Top Tips: Driving Safely on Country Roads

Whilst driving around twisting, winding country roads is, for most driving enthusiast, a thoroughly exhilarating experience, the hard fact is that around 60% of all fatalities occur on country roads. The sharp bends, blind bends and unexpected hazards leave you at greater risk of facing something unexpected in your path.

Some country road facts

  • 60% of all fatalities occur on country roads
  • Three people die each day on average on country roads
  • The number of people killed on country roads is nearly 11 times higher than on motorways
  • In 2013, there were 1,070 fatalities and 9,104 serious injuries on country roads

Our Top Tips for driving safely on country roads:

drive safely on country roads - sharp bends - road sign

Country roads often have sharp bends. To stay in control and give yourself more time to react to unexpected hazards, brake before the bend, not in it.

Remember – PPPPP (Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance!) Read the road ahead and anticipate potential hazards. Plan your gear changes, braking and tunr as you look to the road ahead and look out for upcoming bends, hidden dips, blind summits and concealed entrances.

A common occurrence on country roads ares overgrown hedges, bushes and trees which can block your view and potentially obscure an oncoming hazard. Always drive at a speed which will allow you to stop in the distance you can see to be clear (double that on a single track road). Allow more time to stop on wet or slippy surfaces.

drive safely and watch for cyclists on road

You are in the country! Accept that you will be sharing the roads with other (slower) road users such as horse riders, cyclists, walkers and tractors. Be patient. Dips in roads, bends and other junctions joining your road often hide oncoming vehicles, so only overtake where you have plenty of space and time. The Highway Code recommends that motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders should be given as much space as you would give a car when overtaking. See also our blog post on how to overtake safely while driving

The speed limit is a limit not a speed target!. The national speed limit on single carriage roads is 60mph, but there will be times you need to drive under that in order to drive correctly for the conditions. In fact most people do on these roads – the average free flow speed is 48mph.

Even if you’re familiar with specific country roads, never take the route for granted and let concentration slip – the conditions can be different every time.

Don’t rely on lack of headlight reflections at night to mean nothing is coming around a corner so you can drive fasters! Animals such as badgers and foxes are nocturnal and may well be in the road. Drive at a suitable and safe speed at all times.