Country roads may seem safer to you than congested city streets, and in many respects, they generally are. Nevertheless, despite the lack of traffic and busy intersections, rural roads have their own hazards.
Not only are accidents possible on country roads, but you may have difficulty receiving assistance in isolated locations. You should know what specific hazards you face on rural roads and how to drive more safely.
Safety hazards on country roads
While rural roads have less traffic, you are more likely to see animals on them. There may be areas designated for livestock to cross, or wildlife may bound out in front of you, seemingly out of nowhere.
Driving along a monotonous stretch of road may induce a trance-like state called highway hypnosis. This may prevent you from seeing hazards before you have time to react. There may not be any markings for farm driveways or field entrances, and farm vehicles may emerge from these without warning.
Many country roads have trees growing alongside them at regularly spaced intervals. While picturesque, these can be dangerous if you run off the road because the risk of a collision increases while the force is greater.
Driving tips for rural roads
Cenex recommends that you only pass on a two-lane highway when you can see at least a quarter-mile of flat, straight road ahead of you that is clear of any obstacles, and then only when a dotted yellow line on the road tells you it is safe. The shoulders of country roads can also be narrower and have more traffic in the form of farm equipment or horseback riders. Maintain a safe speed for the conditions. Country roads often have less illumination so you may have to use your high-beam headlights more often. However, be courteous of other drivers and only use them when there are no other cars around.
Because help can be slower to arrive on a rural road, be sure to prepare for emergencies before your trip.