Often considered as one of the “jewels” of the south, North Carolina is a popular tourist destination for individuals from all parts of the world. Though there are a few large cities in the state, North Carolina is considered by most experts to be a relatively rural part of the country. It should come as no surprise, then, that many of the roads in North Carolina—especially in areas with low population densities—are less than ideal. Understanding the dangers of these rural roads, and how they can be managed, is essential for those who wish to ensure optimal results when driving in this part of the country.
Unlike highways and expressways, which are often designed to be as straight as possible, country roads may bend and wind for miles on end. In most cases, the large farms and private property owned by landholders in North Carolina dictate the road routes. Unfortunately, these country roads feature a number of sharp turns and corners, some of which can be deadly—especially for drivers who are not familiar with the area. Traveling at a cautious pace and anticipating curves in the road is an effective way to avoid disaster when it comes to driving in the country.
The shoulder is traditionally defined as the part of the road that connects the outermost driving lane to the edge of the motorway. Shoulders are often considered to be essential when it comes to increasing road safety, as they serve as a “safe zone” in which bikers, joggers, and even damaged vehicles may travel. Unfortunately, space limitations mean that most country roads have a relatively narrow shoulder—if one is present at all. This can be dangerous when a breakdown occurs, as there may not be a secure place to pull over.
Obviously, driving on a country road can be a dangerous activity—especially at night. Unlike roads in urban areas, which often feature abundant amounts of artificial lights, visibility while driving on country roads is often quite limited. In fact, most drivers must rely only on their own headlights when it comes to maximizing visibility in the country. While hitting another vehicle is a serious threat in low-light conditions, striking an unseen animal is even more likely. In most cases, these types of accidents can lead to serious damage to the vehicle, and may even result in personal injury.
Poor Surface Conditions
Finally, Readers’ Digest reports that the condition of country roads may be one of the most dangerous aspects of driving in rural areas. Country roads often feature cracked other otherwise damaged surfaces, which can make driving—and stopping—quite a challenge. In addition, some country roads may not even be paved at all, but rather might simply be covered with a thin layer of gravel. Research shows that stopping a vehicle on a gravel road may take twice as long as the same stop on a properly paved surface.
No matter where you are driving it is important to pay attention to your surroundings and be alert. Accidents can happen at a moments notice, the only thing you can do is make sure you are as prepared as possible.