If you are visiting or living in a rural area, then driving on rural roads and less-traveled roads of your town is a necessary part of life. Driving in rural towns can be a unique experience, with more open roads and fewer people around.
However, there are also some risks when driving on roads that might not be as well maintained or filled with heavy traffic. That was especially true in our area after recent flooding with many wash-outs in the area.
There are some unique considerations to take into account when navigating these roadways, so let’s dive into what to look out for. You may want to warn your guests as they travel to visit you.
1. Unpaved Roads Driving in Rural Towns
Driving on unpaved roads is something that you won’t find in most cities or suburbs. Before tackling an unpaved road, it’s important to make sure that your vehicle is up for the challenge.
For example, check your tires and brakes before heading out. Don’t forget about your oil and fuel levels as you don’t want to run out in extreme conditions.
You should also reduce your speed when driving on these roads; even if you think it looks smooth, unexpected bumps and dips can appear out of nowhere. You quickly could be broken down and need assistance.
2. Wildlife Crossing Signs Are There For A Reason
Wildlife is a major concern when driving through rural areas, as animals are known to wander onto roads unexpectedly. It is especially important to remain vigilant during dawn or dusk when many animals come out of hiding looking for food or water.
Be prepared for sudden changes in speed by keeping your eyes open and scanning both sides of the road ahead of you for any signs of wildlife. Be especially cautious when driving near wooded areas where deer, bears, moose, and other animals may reside.
3. Weather Conditions: Check Often Before You Drive On Rural Roads
Weather conditions in rural areas can change quickly—the sun could be shining one moment and a thunderstorm could roll in the next. That’s why it’s important to stay up-to-date on local weather reports before setting off on any journey.
If the forecast calls for rain or snow, make sure your car is equipped with appropriate tires for the season and pack extra supplies such as blankets or clothing just in case you get stuck during bad weather.
In the colder climates, you may experience frost heaves driving in rural towns. These can cause major bumps and damage to your vehicle. This is especially true if you are trailing snowmobiles or other equipment behind your vehicle.
You can watch the video below to see how vehicles react to riding over the frost heaves.
Lastly, if you find yourself having to drive through inclement weather conditions, slow down and keep your distance from other cars on the road.
4. Extra Time Needed Driving On Rural Roads
No matter the weather, country roads tend to have fewer signs than highways or city streets so it’s important to give yourself extra time if you are planning a trip into unfamiliar territory.
Make sure you read up on directions beforehand and leave early so that you don’t end up rushing while driving in an unfamiliar area with potentially blind curves or dips.
Don’t rely on your GPS or phone as internet service and satellite service could be spotty on rural roads. However, do note that a Garmin GPS is your best bet for driving on rural roads over your vehicle service or phone service.
Knowing where all the major landmarks are located along your route will also help if you take a wrong turn or if something unexpected happens along the way.
5. Watch Your Surroundings
In a rural area, there are often many small side roads that join up with main highways. Be sure to pay attention to your surroundings when approaching an intersection; always look both ways before proceeding through an intersection even if you have the right-of-way.
Additionally, if there is no stop sign at an intersection, proceed slowly as other drivers may not see your vehicle due to limited visibility from surrounding trees or buildings. Not only do you have cars and trucks on a rural road to watch but you may have horses and buggies like this sign pictured below.
Best Vehicles For Driving On Rural Roads
If you are thinking of relocating to a rural town, you may want to consider what vehicle you will be driving on rural roads. You may need to trade it in for a 4-wheel vehicle.
Or if you have an electric vehicle you may need a gas-powered one in rural areas, especially if in a colder climate as you can lose range. There may not be enough charging stations either to charge your electric vehicle in a rural area.
According to True Car, here are some of the top 10 best 4-wheel vehicles on the market today.
- 2023 Toyota Sequoia
- 2023 Nissan Pathfinder
- 2023 Toyota Tundra
- 2023 Ford Explorer
- 2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
- 2022 Lexus LX
- 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee
- 2023 Jeep Wagoneer
- 2023 Land Rover Defender
- 2023 Chevrolet Suburban
Better Used Vehicles For Driving In Rural Towns
These are some of the best-used vehicles under $10,000 according to Kelley Blue Book.
- 2012 Toyota Rave 4×4
- 2011 Honda CRV
- 2011 Honda Pilot
- 2014 Subaru Outback
- 2014 Mazda CX9
- 2014 Kia Sportage
- 2014 Subaru Legacy
- 2015 Nissan Rogue
- 2013 Volvo S80
- 2012 Acura RL
As you can see from the above makes and models having a proper vehicle for driving in rural towns could be a bit costly.
However, it is necessary if you don’t want to get stuck in rough terrain or in snow storms in the colder rural areas of the country, A 4-wheel vehicle is a must if you have to be out and about in tough conditions. It can be the difference between life and death.
Conclusion Driving On Rural Roads
Driving on rural roads is a unique experience that requires extra precaution due to potentially hazardous conditions like unmarked roads and animals on the road as well as potential distractions from other drivers who aren’t paying attention. Check your local news for local conditions as well.
When navigating these areas, remember to check for unmarked roads ahead of time, be aware of any bumps or curves in the roadway surface, and watch out for distracted drivers who could put everyone at risk of an accident due to their negligence behind the wheel.
By following these tips you will help ensure your safety when traveling through rural towns.
What have you encountered driving on rural roads in your travels? If you moved to a rural area, did you have to trade in a vehicle? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below.