Bookmark and Share
Kent Highway Services Kent Road Safety

Other Country Road Users

Many of us forget that we share our country roads with a variety of other road users. Users such as motorcyclists, horse riders, cyclists, agricultural vehicles, heavy goods vehicles and walkers are common on country roads.


Natural Hazards

Country roads, by their very nature, can pose various hazards that are not normally encountered on urban roads or motorways: animal waste on the road, escaping livestock, overgrown hedges or fallen trees, to name but a few.

Remain vigilant and consider the road. Did it rain last night? What could be around that bend? Asking yourself 'what if,' may just save your life.


Country Road Signs

Some country road signs can be difficult to identify, as they are not everyday signs like the ones seen on our urban roads. Most of us would benefit from a knowledge refresh. So why not have a look at the online version of the Highway Code, at www.direct.gov.uk

Below we have noted some general guidance for the most common road users on country roads.


Car drivers

Read the road and weather conditions, expect the unexpected.

Don't relax when you see the national speed limit sign, make a conscious choice to use it as a legal maximum, not a target.

Use the horn responsibly remembering that it easily frightens horses and other wildlife.

The National Speed Limit sign sets out the legal maximum for the road. This can vary depending on vehicle or the type of road. The following information comes from the Highway Code:

National Speed limit Single carriage-ways Dual carriage-ways
Type of vehicle mph (km/h) mph (km/h)
Cars & motorcycles (including car-derived vans up to 2 tonnes maximum laden weight) 60 (96) 70 (112)
Cars towing caravans or trailers (including car-derived vans and motorcycles) 50 (80) 60 (96)
Buses, coaches and minibuses (not exceeding 12 metres in overall length) 50 (80) 60 (96)
Goods vehicles (not exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight) 50 (80) 60 (96)
Goods vehicles (exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight) 40 (64) 50 (80)


Motorcyclists/cyclists

You may suddenly need to avoid uneven road surfaces and obstacles such as oily or wet patches on the road. Give them plenty of room and pay particular attention to any sudden change of direction they may have to make.

You are more vulnerable to skidding on grit, mud or other debris, which are more prevalent on country roads than other road types.


Walkers

Use the pavement if there is one. If not, try to walk in single file.

Keep to the right-hand side of the road so that you can see oncoming traffic.

Keep close to the side of the road, it may be safer to cross the road well before a sharp right-hand bend so that oncoming traffic has a better chance of seeing you.

Help other road users to see you. Wear or carry something light-coloured, bright or fluorescent in poor daylight conditions. When it is dark, use reflective materials.


Horse riders

Wear a helmet and light-coloured or fluorescent clothing in daylight and reflective clothing at night or in poor visibility.

Before riding off or turning, look behind you to make sure it is safe.

Give a clear arm signals.

Keep to the left.

Never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends.