Top Tips for Driving on Country Roads

Driving on country roads can be daunting for even the most experienced of drivers. Sharp bends, ditches and the possibility of being stuck behind a tractor are all factors that mean it's important to be hyper-aware of your surroundings. Our guide looks at the key things to consider when driving on country roads, whether you're a young, inexperienced driver or simply not used to driving on rural country lanes.

Trip planning

Plan your trip in advance, especially if you're unfamiliar with the area. It's important to ensure that you know the route you're planning to drive - whether it's a country road or not. Be sure to take a map and a set of written directions as mobile signal can be patchy in rural areas. 

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Winding roads

Rural roads tend to be rather bendy, so slow down when approaching them - especially if you can't see past the bend - it may be a lot tighter than appears to be. Some drivers like to do a quick beep before going around blind corners, just in case there's an oncoming driver - but be aware that on some roads there may be horses and riders, so avoid doing this excessively. 

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Spacing issues

Make sure you give cyclists and horses plenty of room if you're overtaking. It's also important to make sure you only overtake in a safe spot where you can see oncoming traffic.

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Fuel up

When driving on country lanes, petrol stations can be rare so it's important to make sure your car has plenty of fuel before you venture off into the unknown. Breaking down on a single-laned country road can cause a multitude of problems as pile ups can easily happen.

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Driving at night

If you're driving after dark, it's worth bearing in mind that country roads are rarely lit. Therefore we recommend using your full-beam headlights so you can see what's going on ahead of you, but don't forget to take the full-beam off if you see oncoming traffic - you wouldn't want to blind someone and cause an accident.

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Leave plenty of time to get to your destination

Tractors and other slow-moving farm machinery are the bane of many country drivers lives. If you do get stuck behind one, don't take unnecessary risks - only overtake when you have enough room and can see the road ahead for any oncoming vehicles. It's also polite to wait your turn to overtake if you're in a queue of traffic.

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Advice for young or inexperienced drivers

  • Take care when driving on country roads and if you don't know the area don't be embarrassed to reduce your speed or stop in a safe place to ask for directions.

  • IAM Roadsmart is looking to change the way driving lessons are taught by adding a "rural" element to them. A study undertaken by the group revealed that over 80% of all serious accidents occur on single-carriage rural roads.

  • Visit our young driver insurance page for more information on how Towergate can insure you on the road.

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Young driver insurance from Towergate

Our cover for young drivers can cost less than third-party only cover with other insurers, and can include additional discounts for not driving between 11pm and 5am. Our learner drivers insurance also allows you to start earning your no-claims bonus before you pass your driving test, and includes a GPS tracking device, rescue and roadside recovery breakdown and third-party injury claim compensation.

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Motor insurance from Towergate

We can offer a range of motor insurance policies to suit your needs. Read more on our motor insurance webpage.

 All cover is subject to normal underwriting terms and conditions.

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About the author

Chris North FCII, commercial vehicles insurance articles author Chris North FCII is a respected industry leader with over 40 years' experience, who has worked in the insurance industry in a variety of roles, accumulating a wealth of knowledge.He is currently Technical Manager for Towergate's motor division, providing expertise on all matters relating to motor fleet insurance, in particular haulage and self-drive hire fleets.