Welcome to the world of driving on rural roads – a realm that’s far more than city driving with an extra serving of cows. Whether you’re a fresh-faced novice just starting your driving journey or a seasoned pro used to the hustle and bustle of city driving, rural roads present their unique set of challenges and hazards.
Rural roads are not the same as city streets. They have their unique road signs, weather conditions, and potential obstacles. So buckle up, dear reader, as we take you on a written journey through the twists and turns of rural driving and dont forget to check out our youtube video for more tips on country roads and rural driving.
Understanding Rural National Speed Signs
On rural roads, a national speed sign indicates a maximum speed limit of 60 mph. However, this isn’t an excuse to put pedal to the metal. One of the first quesitons learners always ask me when im teahcing them to drive is “why is this road a 60 mph speed when it would never be safe to do that?” and the answer is always that its a limit not a target. Always factor in road conditions, traffic, and potential road-racing rabbits when deciding your driving speed.
Why do Country Roads Always Have a National Speed Limit?
This is a great question and one I get asked all the time. There are a number ofd reasons such as less people, less traffic and longer roads. But the main reason is that it would cost the governemnt a fortune to try and fit change in speed limit signs to every bend and wiggle on every country road in the country. So instead they put a one size fits all limit on all rural roads and expect people to use some common sense when driivng on them.
Tips for Approaching Bends on Rural Roads
Approaching bends on rural roads can feel like you’re trying to solve a Rubik’s cube blindfolded. But here’s a secret: it’s all about the ‘limiting point.’ This point is the farthest spot on the road you can see. If it seems to be getting further away as you approach a bend, you’re safe to pick up speed. If it’s getting closer, time to ease off the gas. If you would like an example of this watch our video on learning to drive on country roads.
Street Lighting and Night Driving on Rural Roads
No street lighting in rural areas isn’t there just to give off an eerie UFO movie-like vibe. It’s a signal that you’re on a national speed limit road. THis is a great time to start using your main beams if you havent already. Just remember if you see someone else headlights coming at you, make sure you turn off your main beams otherwise you will dazzle them. When you get dazzlied you cant see for a few seconds making driving down a road at 60 mph a very hard job.
Understanding Road Signs for Rural Driving
Rural road signs can often be just a case of using some common sense until you get the odd one that you have never seen havent got a clue what it means so here are hte basic must know signs on rural roads.
National Speed Limit Applies: This sign is a white circle with a black diagonal stripe across it. It indicates that the national speed limit (60mph on single carriageway roads, and 70mph on dual carriageways and motorways for cars and motorcycles) is in effect.
Bend Warning Signs: These signs are triangular with a red border and show a clear symbol of a bend. The bend could be to the left or the right depending on the sign. The sharper the bend, the larger the angle on the symbol.
Junction Warning Signs: These signs are used to warn of an upcoming junction. They can vary in design depending on the type of junction, for example, T-junctions, Y-junctions, or crossroads. If you are traveling at 60 mph it may be difficult to slow down if a car pulls out a junction as you come around a corner.
Slippery Road Signs: This sign warns drivers that the road surface may be slippery, especially in wet conditions.
Animal Crossing Signs: These signs warn drivers of areas where animals are likely to cross the road. These could be farm animals, deer, or even migratory toads.
Double Bend Warning Signs: Similar to the bend warning signs, these indicate that there’s a series of bends, first to the left (or right) and then the opposite direction.
Slow Markings: Often painted directly on the road, these inform drivers they should reduce their speed.
Passing Place Signs: On narrow country lanes, you may encounter small laybys or widened areas of road designed to allow vehicles to pass each other. These are indicated with a white rectangle bearing the words “Passing Place
Practical Driving Tips for Rural Roads
My biggest tip for rural driving is to always prepare for the worse and hope for the best. This means any time you a pproach a blind bend imagine then is a tractor or lorry around that corner coming your way. Are you going at a safe enough speed to be able to slow down as you see them or will you crash into them? Then all you have to do is continue to adjust your speed using the limiting point method to prepare for something around the corner.
My other big tip is if you are on a country road with no central white line and no pavments, dont feel you need to hug the head so much you damage your car. Instead hold in the middle of the road slightly away from the hedge to give you a safer driving position. Then if approaching a corner or another vehicle try and safely move closer to the hedge in good time to allow the vehicle to pass.
You should also use this method when there is heavy rain. Don’t try and drive through every puddle yo come across as its just going to make your experience much harder. Instead move out of the puddles while its safe to do so and only move back in when needed.
If you are still tidying up those parking maneuvers before hte big driving test day feel free to check out our guide form a driving test expert on how to reverse bay park.
Facing Common Rural Driving Challenges: Weather, Unpaved Roads, and Wildlife
Rural driving doesn’t stop at understanding road signs and the basics of speed control. We’ll also have to tackle the trickiest of weather conditions, skid on some gravel, dodge a deer or two, and navigate some heart-stopping curves. And remember, each challenge you face is an opportunity to become a better driver.
If you want to take a deeper dive into all things driving, check out our online driving course. It’s packed with detailed lessons, practical tips, and even more of our patented humor.