Driving rural roads has a lot of advantages; yes, the beautiful scenery and the wildlife can be breathtaking, but it can also be very dangerous.
Do not take for granted the wide-open spaces. There are many hazards that can be hiding just around the next corner.
Machinery gets bigger and faster every year. This time of year, you see more farm equipment on the road, as the crops are being harvested and they need to be moved from the field to the farm storage or to an elevator. Watch for the blinking caution lights or the slow-moving sign, as this is your warning of equipment that is moving slower than the posted speed.
Please be patient if you do come across this farm equipment as they cannot stop or see you as well as you may expect. If you are in their blind spot or try to pass, they cannot always see you.
Top five driving dangers on rural roads
Winding roads – sharp bends in the road can limit your view and room available on the road.
Speed limits – drivers who commute might be accustomed to driving at the speed limit or above.
Limited vision – there are bends, unmarked field and farm driveways and entrances.
Wildlife – there may be wildlife or livestock that cross your path.
Farm traffic – farm equipment is large and operates below the speed limit, they do not always maneuver or stop as quickly as you may expect.
Little things that make a big difference
Keep your windshield clean – dust and dirt can make it even more difficult to see when the sun hits it.
Use low beam headlights.
Stay alert – keep your attention on the road and your surroundings.
Watch for dirt and debris on the roads – mud or dirt on the road can be slippery when wet.
Be patient – trying to pass where visibility is not safe or pushing equipment.
Most of all – be kind and patient on the roadway. We are all trying to move from one place to another and let’s do that safely, so we can all get home to our loved ones.
Just as their family wants to see them home safely, so does yours. The few extra minutes it takes if you are following behind equipment is to take advantage of that time to look around at the beautiful scenery, instead of passing in a potentially dangerous situation.