How to Drive Safely on Rural Roads

How to Drive Safely on Rural Roads

Whether you live in the country or want to experience the beautiful countryside, driving in rural areas can be dangerous if you are not careful, especially if you’re used to driving in more metropolitan areas. Scotland has some of the most beautiful scenic routes in the UK, and with the boom of ‘staycations’ more and more tourists are flocking to drive the famous North Coast 500. The UK’s National Statistics reported that although in 2020 a majority of causalities occurred on built-up urban roads, the majority of fatalities occurred on rural roads. However, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure you are safe on the road.

1- Be Aware of the Speed Limit

The first thing that is often forgotten when driving out the country is the speed limit. There’s usually little to no sporadic traffic which can often lull drivers into a false sense of security. Rural roads often have higher average speed limits (compared to urban roads) that are sparsely posted so it’s important to make sure you drive below the speed limit. This is because there are often agricultural vehicles, as well as winding roads to be aware of.


2- Road Quality

Roads in the country are often old and somewhat neglected compared to those in the city or suburban areas. It’s important that you drive carefully as these roads can be unpaved, have potholes, and no road markings. Rural roads are also often more sinuous and narrower in nature with blind bends, dips, and other distractions.

3- Use Passing Places

Always make sure you are using caution when passing vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders etc. on the road. Rural areas often have long stretches of one-track road that have small laybys for slower vehicles to use, so faster ones can pass safely.

4- Watch for Hidden Driveways

Rural areas often have scattered residences, farms, and villages. When driving on countryside roads, watch for hidden driveways that could contain hidden vehicles waiting to come out onto the road. These driveways are often hidden by hedges, fencing, or even curving roads or hills.

5- Be Aware of Agricultural Vehicles

Tractors, ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), residential cars are often found on rural roads. Remember that often these vehicles, like tractors, often travel well below the speed limit as they may have limited visibility. Always make sure that you keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, especially if you are wanting to make a manoeuvre like overtaking safely.

6- Look Out for Livestock

In the countryside, it won’t look out of place to see livestock being moved across rural roads from one field to another. There should be road signs marking these areas and warning drivers to slow down and use caution. Make sure you take corners slowly, and if you do happen to come across livestock being moved from one side of the road to another, make sure you stop leaving plenty of room between you and the animals. It’s important you wait patiently and avoid revving your engine or honking your horn to not spook the animals. You should also remain in your vehicle until it is safe to continue driving.

7- Visibility

Country roads often have fewer streetlights than cities or suburban areas. Expect darker conditions when driving at night. As well remembering to put your lights on, consider putting them on high beam to increase your visibility. You should also be cautious of residents out for walks or a run that may not be wearing hi-vis clothing, and even animals that may be on the road.

Taking a drive in the country can be a wonderful experience as you enjoy the vistas, fields, and country houses. It’s important to remember that rural roads are not used to get places faster, they are often used as scenic routes, so make sure you pay attention to your surroundings are respect the people and animals that inhabit the area.

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitor and Injury Lawyers Scotland today.

How to Get Your Bike Ready for Spring

How to Get Your Bike Ready for Spring

Most bike users have had their bikes locked away in the shed or the garage over these cold winter months. Now that the first signs of spring are showing and the blue skies are starting to peak out, you may feel like it’s a good time to finally fish it out. However, when bikes are out of use for a while, certain parts can become loose or worn out, and this can cause discomfort to you as a rider and in the worst-case scenario, can result in an accident. Read our new blog on how to get your bike ready for spring to make sure your bike is in perfect shape before you begin your new season riding.

Check Your Tyre Pressure

One of the most important things to check this spring is your tyre pressure. Tyres loose air pressure over time so naturally will have with time in storage. Your bike’s manufacture guide should recommend what the correct tyre pressure is for your bike, and Cycle Guard recommend that you use either a floor pump or an electric bike pump to get it back to the right level.

Adjust the Derailleurs and Shifters

Your derailleurs are in charge of ensuring that your gears shift smoothly. If it has been a long time since you last rode your bike, your derailleur may need adjusting. This is pretty easy to check, simply hang your bike upside down using a bike stand and spin the bike pedals to run through the gears to check that they shift right. Any potential adjustments can be made using a Philips-head screwdriver.

Check Your Brake Levers

Your bike’s breaks not working properly is probably one of the quickest ways to get into an accident, so it is important that your breaks are working properly. Check your brake levers to see if they engage with the brake pads correctly, your brakes shouldn’t get stuck and should bring the wheel to a full stop when riding. Any adjustments that need to be made can be done so by unscrewing the barrel adjuster slightly.

Check Your Brake Pads

It is just as important to check your brake pads as it is to check your brake levers, they should not look worn or be loose at all. Replace your brake pads if they are worn before starting your spring ventures and similarly, you can adjust the brake cables with a screwdriver if the brake pads are not close enough to the rim.

Check the Spokes

Your spokes are supposed to ensure that your wheel stay straight. If your wheels don’t appear straight you need to tighten your spokes using a spoke wrench, but make sure that you do not overtighten as this can create too much tension resulting in cracks or deformities in the rim.

Check Your Bike Chain

Over time a bike chain can become loose and there is a risk that it could fall off your bike whilst you are riding, potentially causing serious injury. To check if your bike chain has become loose over time, check the chain tension by pressing your fingers against the top of the chain, it should not be more than a couple of centimetres. If it is, then you should get your bike chain replaced.

Check Safety Gear

Your safety gear includes your bikes light and reflectors, it is extremely important to check that these still work as they can reduce the chances of you being involved in an accident whilst riding. Additionally, in the UK, after sunset it is illegal to ride your bike on a public road without bike lights.

Apply Dry Lubricant

If your bike has been in storage for a while, the moving parts of your crankset may not be working in the right way. These parts include your bike’s chainring, chain and cog. Popular Mechanics advise that this can easily be fixed by applying some dry lubricant if they do not move properly

Adjust the Bike Seat

If your bike hasn’t been in use for a long period of time, your bike seat may become loose this will likely cause you great discomfort. Be sure to tighten your seat before you set off riding again. Similarly, if your bike seat has become worn it is a good idea to replace it to avoid the same issues.

Secure the Child Seat

This does not apply to all bike riders but if you have a child seat attached to your bike it is just as important to check it as it is to check your bike seat before you set off this spring. Similarly, if the seat seems damaged or worn it would be a good idea to get it replaced before riding.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a bike accident, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.