Winter Driving On Rural Roads

16 Jan 2017

Somerset is blessed with a fantastic and varied landscape: leafy lanes, historic villages and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Driving, cycling, riding or walking through our local countryside can be a real pleasure. However, rural roads are where the majority of fatal collisions occur, and this time of year presents extra seasonal hazards.

Remember that country roads are unlikely to be gritted, so there’s a much bigger chance of ice forming. Shade from woodland, hedges and bridges can create microclimates where black ice can linger long after everywhere else has thawed.

While we’ve had a fairly mild winter so far, surface damage from ice, rain and localised flooding may still have occurred. Fallen branches and patches of debris may have built up, especially around drains, so keep an eye out for these too. Hitting any of these hazards at speed can cause damage to your vehicle, and affect your handling and stopping distance.

While the speed limit for most rural roads is 60 mph, it would be foolish to travel that fast in many areas. Blind bends, hidden dips and tall hedges seriously restrict visibility. Always drive at a speed that suits the conditions and the stretch of road you are on. Particularly on single track lanes, be aware that you may encounter other vehicles, bikes, horse riders and pedestrians with little warning.

Always exercise caution on rural roads, even ones which are familiar, everyday routes. Expect the unexpected, and take the time to keep yourself and your fellow road users safe.

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