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Driving on the UK’s Country Roads – Key Tips for Safety
The UK’s country roads are essential aspects of its wider road infrastructure, connecting rural communities with larger urban centres and providing vital through-roads for major routes. They are also a useful back-up strategy for when motorways are congested or closed, and a powerful part of any conscientious driver’s arsenal.
But for the uninitiated, driving the UK’s country roads can be intimidating – and even dangerous. These country lanes, while largely well-maintained, are narrow and often used by agricultural workers to transport stock between their adjoining fields. Also, the speed limit that governs country lanes is the national speed limit – which stands at 60mph for single-lane carriageways, and 70mph for dual carriageways.
The combination of tight roads and high speeds is a recipe for disaster, especially for new drivers. With this in mind, what are some key ways in which drivers can drive safely while using such a crucial part of the UK’s transport network?
The Speed Limit Isn’t a Target
Firstly, something many drivers make the mistake of doing, however unintentionally, is to treat the national speed limit as a national speed target. The 60mph is a maximum limit, and does not describe speed expectations in the same way that a 30mph limit on city roads might. This isn’t to say that driving at 20mph is a safer option; slow driving can cause accidents just as speeding can. But if you are unfamiliar with a stretch of the lane, taking those blind corners at a slower speed can ensure you don’t make any mistakes or encounter any surprises.
Don’t Drive for Other Motorists
By this same token, you should endeavour to drive within your own comfort zone at all times – that is, you should not feel pressured to change your driving for other motorists on the road. You may find a driver acting erratically behind you, or tailgating you in an effort to cause you to speed up. There are safe places for them to overtake on every country lane, so do not bow to their pressure to increase your speed. Your safe driving is the most important thing.
Keep Emergency Contacts Handy
Country lane journeys will tend to be just as uneventful as any other journey, but preparing your emergency contacts in case of an accident can help you feel more confident – and also expedite any post-accident processes.
Having a fully-charged burner phone with numbers for your insurance company and breakdown service can come in handy. You may also want to save the number of a no-win no-fee solicitor, in the event you suffer a car accident that isn’t your fault and need guidance for next steps.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, vigilance is a virtue when using country roads. Various road signs will tell you what to expect, whether a change in speed limit or a crossing for livestock. You should also keep an eye out for local hazards, in the form of agricultural vehicles with heavy loads.
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