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           to safety on the road

Rural Driving

Rural Driving

Rural driving presents unique challenges. Some of them combine to make rural crashes more deadly than urban ones. For one thing, it simply takes longer, on average, for life-saving emergency care to arrive on the scene of a crash. Some of the other factors that present special challenges or dangers include:

  • Lower use of seat belts
  • Lack of roadway lighting at night
  • Line of vision is often limited by hills, curves, foliage
  • Unpaved or gravel roadways
  • Sharing the road with slow-moving vehicles, such as farm equipment

 A few adjustments will help you decrease your crash risks in rural areas. 


You still want to scan about half a mile (or kilometer) ahead. Sometimes, though, your line of sight will be cut short by hills, curves, or foliage on rural roadway. So when you can't scan ahead as far as you'd like to remember to scan as far ahead as you can see, keeping in mind that the goal is to spot and react to potential hazards as early as possible.

Sharing the Road

Sooner or later on a country road, you're going to come up behind a slow-moving vehicle, such as farm equipment. When you do, the farm equipment will probably be moving at about half your speed, so slow down immediately. If you don't, you'll be on the bumper of the equipment before you have a chance to even think about proper following distance.


Use extra patience and care when passing other vehicles on rural roads. Don't rush your pass. Even if another driver is waving you around, be sure your path is clear before you make your move. And don't even think about trying to pass:

  • On a hill
  • On a blind curve
  • By using the shoulder
  • On a stretch of road where passing is prohibited

Animal Collisions

Wherever you know animal collisions are likely, take precautions. In particular, take roadside warning signs to heart, as they mark areas where collisions have occurred before and are likely to occur again.

  • Slow down.
  • Stay alert and scan constantly.
  • If you see an animal by the roadside, be prepared to brake
  • Increase your normal following distance.

One final tip: Drivers are more often injured when they try to swerve around an animal (and end up swerving into another dangerous situation) than when they hit it. So if there is an animal in your path, brake immediately and hold a steady path.