Stay safe on rural roads, warns GEM

Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging drivers to pay extra attention on rural roads this summer. 

Although rural roads carry around 40% of traffic, they account for more than 60% of all road fatalities.

“Driving in the countryside is usually a great pleasure, with good views, quiet roads and a variety of interesting terrain” said GEM chief executive Neil Worth. “But a narrow, twisting road offers very little clue as to what might be round the next bend.

“That is why we are urging drivers to expect the unexpected and to make sure they have time and space to stop safely if necessary.

“What is round the corner on a rural road with restricted visibility? It could be another car or a motorcycle coming towards you too quickly, a group of cyclists on a ride out, sheep or cattle crossing the road, an inexperienced horse and rider, a wild animal, a slow-moving farm tractor – the list of possibilities is long.

“Until you have perfect sight of what’s ahead, you need to be ready to anticipate what could be there, so that you are always in a position to be able to stop in the space that is available.

“By adjusting your speed and position accordingly, you’re doing your bit to keep yourself and the other road users safe.”

Stay safe out of town on rural roads

GEM has prepared a selection of simple driver tips to help improve rural roads safety:

  • Make sure you use any existing signage to help you. Usual signs include a series of white chevron signs on a black background, indicating a sharp bend. The more chevrons – and the bigger they are – the sharper the bend. So choose your speed wisely.
  • Many country lanes are too narrow for two vehicles to pass safely. So be prepared to reverse into a lay-by or passing place if necessary.
  • Choose speeds that are both legal and appropriate. Then you will have more time to react and plan if there is a hazard ahead.
  • Country lanes may be in a poor state of repair. At any sign of this be ready for potholes and other broken surfaces that can seriously damage your vehicle.
  • Give cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders a very slow and wide berth and keep your distance until it becomes safe to drive past.

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