Those Duke brothers sure pushed the boundaries of safe driving, but in reality there are driving hazards all around us on the road, no matter where you might be. Whether you’re in dense urban or suburban environments or out in the country, you need to be ever vigilant behind the wheel.
Driving Hazards to watch out for in built-up areas
Denser areas seem an obvious place to start, because with more people and more development there are more frequent intersections, more pedestrians, and generally more apparent opportunities for something to come up unexpectedly. Fortunately, these areas typically have lower speed limits to ensure that drivers can stop in time because there is a higher likelihood of driving hazards popping up. Here are few of the biggest safety concerns that you should keep in mind:
Vehicles coming from junctions
With intersections, merge lanes, and driveways abound, one of the biggest road hazards comes from other drivers you may not have seen, or may not have seen you. Try to be aware of all of the junctions around you and approach each situation defensively, even if you have the right of way.
Car doors opening
In dense areas there is often on-the-street parking, and if you are in a lane adjacent to parked cars you should maintain awareness and caution in case a door is opened in front of you.
Pedestrians and Children
There are road rules for pedestrian behaviors, but it’s a person’s prerogative to do the unexpected. Jaywalking, unaware, and distracted pedestrians are a huge liability to drivers because they are rarely operating in a mindset as cautious as motorists. Children at play, running out from between parked cars or playing near the roadway are especially unpredictable.
School Crossing Guards
While safer than pedestrians, school crossing guards are an unexpected hazard, especially if they appear on a route you are used to taking. Introducing a new traffic hazard to a well-traveled route can disrupt the expectations of the most seasoned drivers.
While children are a big concern, they should at least have some experience and education about how dangerous a roadway can be; unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our furry family members. Dogs and cats, especially, have no knowledge or regard for roadway safety, and when a dense area restricts your visibility, an animal can easily and unexpectedly run in front of you from between parked vehicles.
Cyclists and Motorcyclists
In dense areas, cyclists and motorcyclists need to be especially vigilant because their visible profile is so small, and most other motorists are primarily trained to be on the lookout for other cars and trucks. Take into account that cyclists often don’t follow the exact rules of the road, and that motorcycles can accelerate and brake more quickly than cars and you have two potential hazards that are disruptive to the flow of car traffic.
Driving Hazards in Country areas
Country areas carry with them a whole different set of hazards, and while a city driver may think that country driving is a breath of fresh air, the reality is that there are hazards they may never expect. Below are some hazards you may have to contend with while driving in the country.
Country roadways are often less developed or planned than urban and suburban ones, as such they might be much narrower than a road is supposed to be, sometimes only wide enough for one vehicle. This can be especially challenging when approaching single-lane bridges.
Just like narrow lanes, country roads can often have sharp, unexpected bends that is especially dangerous to unfamiliar visitors.
While urban settings have manmade obstructions, rural roadways can often have natural ones. The lack of traffic and development leads to turns and intersections that are obscured with overgrowth.
Infrequent, but still happens, some rural areas even have roadway intersections that aren’t even marked. Keep your eyes open and be aware.
Horses, farm animals, tractors, and Cyclists
When riding a country road, it’s easy to think you’re the only one out there, but country roads are just for leisurely drives, they are also often used by rural residents, human and otherwise. It is not uncommon to encounter horses or other livestock, be it by accident or intentional. There are also cyclists out for a healthy ride, and slow moving awkwardly shaped farm vehicles that obscure your vision and clog the roadway. Remember, even in the country you shouldn’t cross a solid yellow line.
With this list of driving hazards you should be safer than most. Stay safe and keep your eyes open.