Directions for Back Roads Driving

by Rhomylly Forbes

The hazards a driver has to consider when cruising along back country roads are different from the dangers of urban or highway driving. Country roads are often not as well maintained or as well lit as city streets, and drivers need to know how to be proactive and safe when driving the back roads in their region. The car may be the same, but it will react differently on different road surfaces.

1

Watch out for wildlife. Keep a close eye out for deer, especially at dawn and dusk; stop and flash your headlights if you come upon a deer standing in the road. Colliding with a deer can cause major damage. Deer often travel as a group; if you see one, there are likely more nearby that could also dart out into the road. Other across-the-road rural travelers include raccoons, opossums, chickens, cattle and skunks. You do not want to hit a skunk if at all possible; the smell will linger on your car for days.

2

Safely remove insects from your car. If you discover a bee, fly, or other flying insect in your car as you drive down a back road, stop the car before trying to dispatch it. Whether you roll down the window and shoo the bug out of the car or smash it on the dashboard with your shoe, pull over to the side of the road first.

3

Slow down in gravel. If your road suddenly turns from pavement to gravel, slow down. Gravel provides far less traction than asphalt, and you could quickly slide out of control, especially if you drive around a curve too fast.

4

Watch out for winter road hazards. If there has been recent winter precipitation, drive slowly and carefully when in the country. Back roads are plowed or salted long after the city streets are cleared after a snow or ice storm -- if at all -- and can also become icy and snow-covered sooner than highways and roads in town due to less traffic.

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