Winter Driving On Rural Roads

12 Jan 2018

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 that you need to be aware of.

Remember that country roads are unlikely to be gritted so there is a greater chance of ice forming making driving conditions hazardous. Areas of road shaded by trees, hedges or bridges can create micro-climates where black ice can linger long after icy conditions everywhere else has thawed.

Road surface damage from ice, rain or localised flooding is more likely to occur over the winter months. 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, remember that this is the maximum permitted speed and the maximum speed is not always the same as a safe speed. Blind bends, hidden dips and tall hedges restrict visibility so always drive at a speed that suits the conditions of the road you are travelling on; particularly on single track lanes where you need to take in to consideration the stopping distance of a vehicle coming in the opposite direction.

Be aware that you may encounter large agricultural vehicles, bikes, horse riders, pedestrians and animals with little warning so always drive/ride with care.

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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