Driving along backroads can be tricky, especially as daylight savings comes to an end this fall. Rural roads can bring many surprises, so check out these tips to ensure your commute is safe.
Pedestrians and Cyclists: Rural roads may be close to hiking trails, so expect to see people walking along roads. Cyclists also like to take backroads due to less traffic, so look out for bikes coming around corners. Pay attention to road signs, drive the speed limit and stay alert to your surroundings.
Dividing Lines: Some rural areas will have a broken yellow line parallel to a to allow faster cars to pass slower vehicles like tractors or other farm equipment. If you intend to pass a slower vehicle, make sure the lane markings indicate that passing is allowed and that there is no oncoming traffic. Other backroads may not have any lane markings. In this instance, cars need to stay on their respective side to make room for oncoming traffic.
One Lane Bridge: Bridges with only one lane should be met with caution. If someone is already on the bridge when you arrive, allow them to pass before you proceed over the bridge. To signal a car to come forward, flash your high beams.
High Beams: High beams enhance your visibility at night on dark backroads. While these powerful lights help your vision, remember to go back to regular headlights when other drivers are approaching since it can impair theirs. In inclement weather, high beams can make your visibility even worse so, drive slowly and use your regular headlight setting instead.
Deer: Hitting a deer can cause a lot of damage to your car and can even cause injuries. Pay attention to signs that indicate animal crossing on roads and drive the speed limit in case you need to brake. Dusk and dawn are times of the day when risk is the highest, and a rule of thumb is if you see one deer, expect to see more. Deer tend to run from loud noises, so if you see deer on the sides of the road, try giving your horn a honk, and they will run away from the road.
Surfaces: In the fall, leaves that have fallen on the roads may cover lines in the road or even create a slippery surface when it rains. During inclement weather on backroads, make sure to drive the speed limit and be cautious of fallen objects on the road to avoid hydroplaning or an accident.
Guard rails: Rural roads may not always have guard rails which can pose a safety hazard. In this situation, it is better to drive closer to the center of the road to avoid driving into a ditch.
We hope these tips help you the next time you drive along rural roads. Enjoy the scenery and have a safe trip!