Although we’ve got some wonderful roads to drive on here in Somerset – the beauty can come at a cost…
Rural roads make for gorgeous scenic drives on sunny days, but with the remoteness of the certain lanes comes the risk of deteriorating roads and unusual hazards.
Before you risk damaging your vehicle or, worse yet, yourself – take a look at this list of hazards to watch out for:
Tractors & Trailers
Any frequent traveller of Somerset’s rural roads will be more than familiar with the plethora of farming vehicles than can clog up country lanes and keep you from getting to your destination on time. Whether it’s a Land Rover dragging a horse cart or a 2-tonne combine harvester – these vehicles are large and powerful. They can often force smaller vehicles onto the sides of the verge and even pose risks to cyclists.
If you face an agricultural vehicle coming in the opposite direction – stop – take a look around and find the nearest place to pull up, so that it can make it’s way safely past you.
Something that city dwellers rarely have to deal with, but is almost second nature to drivers of Somerset’s rural roads – horse riders may be common, but that doesn’t make them any less of a hazard. Animals, no matter how well trained, have the potential to react in strange, alarming and dangerous ways – it is almost always a good idea to give them an extremely wide berth. You don’t want to risk damage to your car, or the horse (it might just be worth more than your vehicle!).
An oncoming horse must be treated with care, reverse slowly back, indicate and make sure to smile and wave at the rider.
Although rogue pot holes are soon becoming a thing of the past, with several ‘Spot That Pothole’ apps informing Local Councils as to where there lethal holes can be found, they can still pose a significant threat to both you and your car. Before you lose a wheel, or send yourself flying into a verge – take extra caution when driving through remote back roads. The quieter the road, the more likely it is to be littered with dangerous divots and holes.
Take extra care when driving in the rain or at night and drive slowly over potholes if they can’t be avoided.
Old rural roads can often be lumbered with less than ideal drainage – the roads can be uneven and agricultural waste can often severely block water outlets. When the rains come (and they can fall pretty heavily in our county of Somerset!) these back roads can sometimes be covered in thick flood waters that provide significant hazard to vehicles driving at speed. At times, when the rains are at their heaviest, you may find that fords are have water flowing at over half a metre.
When approaching water on the road, always take caution and approach slowly. If the water is running fast, consider an alternative route or risk the consequences!
Rocks & Debris
Driving in rural roads has it’s benefits and it’s risks. The price we pay for gorgeous greenery and a variety of landscapes is that sometimes the countryside may invade the roads. Whether it’s rocks tumbling down from hills, branches being blown from trees or even the trees themselves blocking the road – anything can happen on a Somerset back road, especially when the wind’s blowing up a storm. Even loose animals can pose a threat in these conditions, so it’s important to remain vigilant at all times.