Driving along our rural roads are a pleasure to enjoy, from beautiful views to memorable journeys. And just like driving in our towns and cities, you should drive with care.
Rural roads may appear to be free from driving restrictions, but they’re not and drivers need to take the same precautions as driving elsewhere.
We’d encourage our road users to drive carefully this summer as part of our #SummerRoadSafetyEssex campaign, tackling the issues affecting the safety of all road users and to keep our roads moving.
Speeding along any road is illegal, but country roads pose more of a problem with bends that makes seeing what’s up ahead difficult or impossible.
Speeding is a recognised contributory factor in collisions but reducing your speed can prevent driver error.
We’d advise you to slow down on your approach, giving yourself extra time to see what lies ahead.
As with any road, there could be a danger lurking around the bend. Pre-empting hazards gives you time to judge what is happening and take evasive action, if necessary.
With the introduction of the Hierarchy of Road Users this year, pedestrians, two-wheel vehicles and horses are placed at the top, showing they are more vulnerable.
Watch out for people enjoying a country walk, a rider exercising a horse or a cyclist taking in the views.
Please overtake carefully, giving them plenty of room. The Highway Code explains that you should treat them in the same way as a car – that way, you are ensuring their safety.
If you find yourself behind a farming vehicle, keep a safe distance. The driver may have limited visibility.
Use caution when passing: it may be tempting to overtake a slow-moving farm vehicle, but make sure that the section of road is suitable to do so and watch out for adjoining roads where emerging cars could pose an additional risk.
Of course, the welfare of animals are at the heart of our rural communities. At certain times of the year, you can find farmers moving animals between fields.
Please consider their safety too; if an animal is spooked, it could behave in an unpredictable way.
Stay on the road and off fields. Farms are private land and run for business.
Stopping to have a picnic, ride an e-scooter or parking up in a field could damage crops and affect the farmer’s livelihood. If you want to do similar activities, make sure you have the farmer’s permission beforehand.
Each year, 20% of drink drive related collisions take place on rural roads, but they have the highest severity ratio, with 40% resulting in death or serious injury.
Of course, you may want to socialise with family and friends at a country pub during a day out. But please, keep you, your passengers and other road users safe. Don’t drink and drive.