Tag Archives | narrow roads

Single-track roads

These are roads (not unique to rural areas) that are not wide enough for two vehicles to pass at once. To make matters worse, they are often lined with hedges and are full of twists and turns, which reduce your ability to see ahead. Even though many of these roads have the national speed limit of 60mph, you should always drive at a speed you feel is safe and appropriate, remember the golden rule of speed:

When visibility is limited by hedges and bends you can use your horn to warn other road users of your presence. At night you can flash your headlights to give a similar warning.

If, as often happens, you come round a bend and find your path blocked by another vehicle directly ahead of you, one of you will have to reverse to the nearest passing place. There are no exact rules here, but if you have a passing place close behind, be polite and reverse into it. If however, you can see a passing place close behind the other vehicle, wait for them to reverse. Common sense is all it takes.

Rural reminder

Although rural roads are generally quieter than main roads in towns and cities, driving them safely involves practice and consideration. For example, some rural roads will not have markings to indicate where the centre of the road is. If this is the case, you’ll need to think about lane positioning and be careful to ensure you stick to the left hand side of the road. Bear in mind that large vehicles, like tractors or lorries, may be coming in the opposite direction, so you must be prepared to slow down and possibly stop on a narrow lane.

Driving on rural roads at night opens up more challenges. It’s likely that there won’t be street lighting, so you’ll have to rely on your dipped headlights and full beam to illuminate the road ahead. Make sure you adjust your speed appropriately, always remembering that you should be able to stop in the space you can see ahead of you. It’s also likely there’ll be more animals around at night, so be prepared in case something runs out in front of you.

Stay safe on narrow roads

If you dislike driving on narrow lanes because drivers on the other side of the road get too close, try to look past the oncoming cars as they get near. Focus on the road ahead of you and keep glancing at the left kerb to help you hold your position. The less space you feel you have, the slower you should be going. Consider the width of the oncoming car. If there’s a centre line, check to see whether the vehicle is on it’s own side.

Also, try to predict the actions of the oncoming cars. For example, are there any obstacles on the other side of the road, such as puddles, that might cause them to move out? Match your speed to the risk. And plan in advance what you would do if an oncoming car did veer suddenly. Keep checking your mirror so you know if it’s safe to brake abruptly.