What to watch out for on Rural Roads

09 October 2015 - By Eugene Herbert

Hi
Folks…

With
companies taking infrastructure into undeveloped areas we are receiving more
requests for information on the above topic. For those who like to keep
themselves informed the following should prove of interest.

There
may be times when fleet drivers find themselves traveling on rural roads or
unpaved private roads. These roads can present some driving hazards not
normally found on highways and city streets. So here are nine safety tips about
dirt road driving. You may want to pass this advice along to those drivers who
encounter these roads – as a friendly reminder.http://imagec18.247realmedia.com/RealMedia/ads/Creatives/default/empty.gif

1.
When driving on dirt (also referred to as gravel), always slow down. The
vehicle will take much longer to stop on gravel, and the likelihood of skidding
when turning is much higher. Stopping or turning on loose gravel is more
difficult compared to tar because there’s less tyre traction. Skidding can
occur as traction diminishes. A driver can also experience a “washboard” effect
on dirt roads. This is a series of corrugations that can affect steering and
vehicle control. The way ABS works on these surfaces is of course a discussion
on its own.

2.
Keep headlights on (if not doing so already) to make your vehicle more visible
to others if the dirt road is dusty. Particularly during dry periods of the
year, dirt roads can become extremely dusty and affect visibility. 

3.
Look for “Narrow Bridge” or other signs that indicate the presence of hazards
(particularly the one showing animals jumping) and be prepared to stop for
oncoming traffic. Dirt roads often have little to no shoulder and ditches on
the side can be very steep and dangerous.

4.
Before reaching the crest of a hill or before entering a curve, slow down,
position the vehicle so as to maximise the view of the road ahead and watch for
oncoming vehicles. Hills and curves in rural areas are often steeper and
sharper than on highways.

5.
When approaching a railroad crossing, always slow down, look both ways and be
prepared to stop for a train before crossing the tracks.

6.
When approaching an uncontrolled rural intersection, slow down and be prepared
to stop for oncoming traffic. Some intersections in rural areas aren’t
controlled by yield or stop signs. These intersections can be very dangerous if
you don’t approach them with caution.

7.
Look out for blind spots. Intersections, hills and curves become even more
dangerous when such objects as trees or maize fields block your view of
oncoming traffic.

8.
Slow down whenever you encounter slow-moving farm tractors, animal-drawn
vehicles or road maintenance equipment. Slow-moving equipment may make very
wide turns, either left or right, at unmarked entrances. Always use extreme
caution when passing them. Make sure the other driver sees you before
attempting to pass.

9.
Look out for animals, especially at sunrise and sunset. Though animals can be
found on any roadway, you’re more likely to see them in rural areas because
such roads often extend through wildlife habitats and are close to farms and
livestock. If you spot an animal, slow down and be prepared to stop. If there
isn’t time to stop or avoid the animal, don’t swerve sharply. Resist that
instinct. Your chances of getting injured are much greater if you swerve into
oncoming traffic or roll the vehicle over in a ditch.

While
this is not an exhaustive list, this will be an additional benefit to drivers
who are new to the experience.

Till
next time – Drive Safe and remember different conditions may demand more
diligence.


Eugene
Herbert



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