Driving on country roads is the backbone of a significant amount of country songs, but driving these roads can be a challenge for those who spend most of their time in cities or on highways. Rural roads present unique conditions that, if you’re not prepared for, can ruin your Sunday drive. Below are some tips on how to safely drive through the countryside without writing a sad song of your own.

Watch for Animals

While highway drivers need to be on the lookout for vehicles darting out in front of them, drivers on rural roads should keep their eyes peeled for wildlife. Deer, raccoons, possums, rabbits, and other local wildlife aren’t waiting patiently to cross the road once traffic subsides. Instead of attempting to predict which way they are going to go, come to a halt and let them pass. It’s also not uncommon to see a stray cow hanging out on the wrong side of the fence. If they are walking alongside the road, it’s best to slowly pass them. Driving too fast may startle them and cause them to change directions right into your car. If you have good cell reception, you can call your local animal control office and alert them of the issue.

Unpredictable Conditions

Rural roads aren’t always state-maintained. You may run into potholes, fallen trees, cracked asphalt, and more. Drive cautiously if you’re unfamiliar with the road, especially after a weather event such as a snowstorm or flood.

Sharing the Road

Many farmers use rural roads to haul supplies (hay, livestock, equipment) from one location to another. These vehicles are very slow, You should pass these vehicles only in straight parts of the road (never curves) and wait until you can safely pass without risking a collision with the tractor or oncoming traffic. This is also why speeding on country roads is dangerous. If you’re rounding a blind curve and a tractor is in front of you, you may cause a collision.

Also, since rural roads are less policed than city streets and highways, impaired and reckless drivers tend to travel on them more. Tailgating is especially bad on rural roads, especially at night. If someone is eager to push you up the road, pull over and let them pass. And if you encounter a drunken driver, keep your distance and report them to the police if you can do so safely.

Cell Service is Spotty

Roads that weave in and out of the countryside don’t always have the best cell coverage. This is important to remember if you are traveling by GPS or if you get in an accident and need to call for help. You should always travel with emergency supplies (road flares, blankets, water) but it’s especially important when you’re traveling on a back road. 

Driving throughout the countryside is a lovely way to spend an afternoon, as well as a welcome change from rush hour gridlock. Just remember to slow down and drive with caution as you relax and enjoy the scenery. (Source.)

Did you know that you can take a Virginia Driver Improvement program from the comfort of your own home? A1Driver offers an accredited online Driver Improvement program that you can complete at your convenience. We also offer in-person instruction for those who prefer to learn in a classroom setting.