Driving is great fun, but it’s also a huge responsibility. When you’re learning to drive that responsibility is shared between the learner driver and their instructor, or the supervising driver in the passenger seat. There’s someone to help correct mistakes, and to make sure you don’t do anything dangerous. When you pass the practical test, you’ve proven that you know how to drive safely. But all of a sudden that safety net disappears. Newly qualified drivers are at a greater risk of crashing than other drivers, and rural roads pose the greatest challenge.
You really need to have your wits about you when driving on country roads. There are potential hazards around every corner. Here are just a few of them…
● Poor road surfaces – watch out for those potholes!
● Mud (and worse!) – expect muck near farms, which could make the road very slippery.
● Changing visibility – hedgerows can obscure the sun, and driving through woodland light can come and go in an instant.
● Lighting – minor rural roads won’t have street lamps, so be ready for hazards to suddenly appear.
● Black ice – minor roads may not be gritted in winter, and ice can lurk in shady patches.
● Junctions – particular care is needed at crossroads and T-junctions, as traffic may be approaching at much higher speeds than in town.
● Farm vehicles – big and slow-moving, so you really don’t want to take a bend too fast and find one coming towards you.
● Horses, cyclists, motorcyclists – there are lots of vulnerable road users in the country. Treat them with respect as they have the right to use the road too!
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