offering serenity, solitude, beautiful scenery, and a sense of true freedom and exploration. Whether you’re taking a road trip off the beaten path or roaming the rural highways of your own stomping grounds, driving the back roads can be a wonderful way to discover the country and get around to places you might never otherwise see. That said, it’s always important to keep safety in mind when you’re driving, and there are special considerations you ought to be aware of on rural roads. Keep these tips in mind when you’re on the back roads to help make sure you make it home safe and sound.
- Mind the speed limit
You may feel like you’re alone on these roads, free to drive as fast as you want to. However, it is extremely important to maintain a safe speed and observe any posted speed limits. Cars can come out of driveways, and livestock or other animals may decide to cross the road. Just because the road seems free and clear doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way, so don’t drive faster than you would on a regular highway.
- Keep your passengers safe
Again, just because the roads feel empty doesn’t mean you can get lax when it comes to following road safety rules. This applies to your passengers as well. Make sure they’re strapped in, aren’t sticking their arms or feet outside the window, and that they’re not distracting you while you’re driving. Infants and toddlers always need to be in properly installed car seats.
- Keep the lights on
A nighttime drive on a rural highway can feel almost magical under the right circumstances, but it can also be dangerous. Rural roads often aren’t lit with streetlights, so be ready to use your high beam headlights so that you can see where you’re going. Just be careful with them when there’s cars approaching from the other direction.
- Animal crossing
If you do have to wait for cattle or other livestock to cross the road, stop your car and wait patiently. Don’t honk your horn or do anything else that might frighten them, and stay inside your vehicle.
- Pass carefully
If you get stuck behind a slower-moving vehicle, you’re probably going to want to pass them. Make sure you pass when the painted lane divider indicates it is legal for you to do so, and don’t take any unnecessary risks when there are incoming vehicles in the other lane.
- Plan ahead
Make sure you know how to get back on the main roads from wherever you’re going, and be prepared to handle minor issues like flat tires if you’re traveling outside of your cell phone coverage area. And don’t forget to fill up on gas!
The country back roads offer amazing views of farms, crops, wildflowers, and other natural and agricultural beauty, so take advantage of the opportunity to experience them if you can. Just don’t forget to exercise a little extra caution when you’re driving on them.