Rural Driving Tips: Taking the Safe, Scenic Route

Have you ever been tempted to take a Sunday drive, or the scenic route to your everyday destinations? Many of us associate warm, pleasant weather with rural driving. While it can be relaxing to drive down the back roads, admiring the sights while listening to your favorite playlist with the windows rolled down, rural driving also comes with some risks.

Did you know that almost half of fatal automobile accidents occur on rural roads? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 45 percent of the 36,096 traffic fatalities in 2019 occurred on roads in rural areas.

So how do you reduce your risk while still enjoying your scenic drive? Below are some great tips on rural driving.

Slow Down

This isn’t the most popular piece of driving advice, but it is possibly the best. Twenty-seven percent of the traffic fatalities in 2019 on rural roads were a result of speeding.

There are countless reasons to take it slow on back and rural roads. First, there is visibility: Most rural roads are not designed to be straight lengths of highway. Instead, rural roads often take on the shape of the existing landscape, which means that they tend to have dips, curves and other features that will reduce your ability to anticipate what is ahead.

Depending on the season, the foliage of the landscape can also reduce your visibility. Trees and leaves can obscure road signs, sharp curves, hidden driveways and possible obstacles.

Beyond visibility, there are more reasons to slow down. Rural roads tend to be narrower than highways. Many do not have shoulders or guard rails. If you would need to pull over or stop unexpectedly you might have less room to do so.

Stay Alert

It’s nice to enjoy the view while driving, but remember to stay aware and anticipate events. Rural driving in Pennsylvania often means driving near farmland and forests. Both can throw unexpected road companions your way, either in the form of slow-moving farm equipment or scurrying animals.

If you find yourself behind a slow-moving tractor or other farming equipment, slow down to give some distance. This should allow you to see around the equipment so that you can carefully pass it.

If you find yourself on a collision path with a small animal, for your own safety and the safety of other drivers, it is best not to swerve to avoid hitting the animal. The same is true for larger animals, such as deer, but try to slow down safely to a stop to let the animals pass.

Finally, you want to be aware of other drivers on rural roads. Some drivers are more likely to drive drunk or intoxicated on rural roads, believing that they will be less likely to be caught. In fact, 27 percent of traffic fatalities on rural roads in 2019 were alcohol-related.

Keep Your Distance

It’s no secret that PA roads aren’t in the greatest shape. Damaged or unfinished rural roads can cause conditions resulting in an accident. By following another car too closely, your car could become damaged from flying rocks, or your visibility might be obscured by flying dust. In addition, the surface might reduce your tires’ ability to keep traction, making it harder to stop, slow down or make sharp turns.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact KBG Injury Law. We will fight to get you the Results You Deserve®.