Chapter 15 Driving in Rural Areas

Yes, I realize that we don't live in Australia but the same rules still apply.

Characteristics of Rural Driving- Lesson 15.1
Rural Roadways- Rural Roads are usually made from different materials. For example they might not be paved at all. They are also not as well lit, because of nearby foliage that can cast shadows that might mess with your sight.
Safe Speed- Rural roadways mostly have a speed limit of 55 mph or more. But it depends on conditions on the roadway. For non-ideal conditions lower speeds might be posted.
Traffic controls- These are signs, signals, and lane markings. These warn, inform, regulate, and direct drivers. Tell of conditions ahead. Mostly graphics or pictures.
Roadside Hazards- Rural roads are in all types of conditions. Older roads are sometimes more narrow and are not as maintained as other roads. They might also have potholes and other damages. Also trees, shrubs, and snow could block your line of sight. Why do you think that rural roads aren't as well maintained as other roads?
Using Basic Skills in Rural Areas- Lesson 15.2
Applying IPDE and Zone Control- Learn to control how fast you are going on rural roadways. The faster you go the less time you have to identify and react.
Visual Search Pattern- Should apply a visual search pattern when driving. A 12-15 second visual, should be enough time to scan your area when driving at higher speeds. Why should you have a increased visual pattern when driving on rural roads?
Curves, Hills, and Intersections- Curves are common on roadways. When you are driving too fast when on a curve you might have difficulties because of your speed. Usually there will be a yellow warning sign before the curve. Located 250 to 700 ft before. They also have advisory speed signs, that are yellow and rectangular.
Curves, Hills, and Intersections- Hills don't usually have signs warning that they are there. Unless there slopes are steep. Hills block your line of sight, because you can't see over it and to the other side.
Curves, Hills, and Intersections- Some rural intersections have traffic lights, while others have stop signs. Most rural intersections have a smaller side road going into a larger main road.
Following Traffic- You should increase your following distance because of higher speeds. Also increase it when weather conditions are less than ideal and when someone is tailgating, or following to closely.
Driving on Multi-lane Roads- Multi-lane roads have multiple lanes that travel in the same direction. Why do you think multi-lane roads exist?
Multi-land Roadways with Center Lines- Some multi-lane roads only have a dashed or solid yellow line. Never cross a solid yellow line to make a left turn because crashing onto traffic is very likely.
Divided Roadways- Divided roadways have something in between traffic moving in opposite directions. That something is called a median. A median is an area of ground or concrete that separates the lanes. Like in the image.
Lane Selection- Try to drive on the right-hand lane of a multi-lane road, because the left-hand lane is usually for drivers who are passing or want to make a left turn.
Turning at Intersections- When leaving, turn right from the right lane. When turning left, turn from the left lane closest to the center line or median strip. Some even have special turn lanes. When preparing to turn, you should signal early for the cars behind you so they can adjust accordingly.
Entering a Multi-lane Road- Be careful when entering a multi-lane road because oncoming drivers might not be able to see you. 1st step- Check traffic, check for open zones, enter the nearest lane for your destination, look and steer towards your intended target, and accelerate to the correct speed.
Passing and Being Passed on Rural Roads- Lesson 15.3


  • 3 stage process.
  • Decision stage,
  • Preparation stage
  • Execution stage.
  • Passing should mostly be done in the left lane.
  • Check all lanes before passing. Be cautious.
No-passing Situations- When there are solid yellow lines, or signs that say DO NOT PASS or NO PASSING ZONE don't pass. Also shouldn't pass on uphill roads, at intersections, in bad weather, within 100 ft of a railroad crossing, etc.
Being Passed- When another vehicle is passing you, it is safer to move into lane position 3. Creating more space between the two vehicles. And a better view for the passing vehicle. Slow down, if the passing driver is having difficulties.

The video is kinda boring, but informative.

Rural Situations You Might Encounter- Lesson 15.4
Slow-Moving Vehicles- A slow-moving vehicle is a vehicle that is not able to travel at high-way speed. When you encounter one, you should slow down and prepare to pass.
Animals- Reduce speed and scan a larger visual pattern in animal prone areas. If you do encounter an animal prepare to stop and wait until it has moved.
Meeting Oncoming Traffic- Slowing down in hazardous situations is the safest decision to make. Also be alert. And be ready to move when the situation calls for it.
Railroad Crossings- Trains travel at higher speeds at rural areas. So be alert for any trains crossing. When at a railroad crossing slow down and check left before crossing.
Special Driving Environments- Lesson 15.5
Mountain Driving- When going up you should accelerate slightly. Downshift into a lower gear of the slope is steep. Go slowly! When going down, again downshift. Don't ride your brakes, and again go slowly. Check the weather before driving on a mountain. The weather can make mountain driving much worse.
Desert Driving- Should wear proper attire when desert driving. Like sunglasses. Also should plan frequent stops, change drivers often, and carry a lot of water. Desert driving also affects your vehicle. Check your radiator fluid after every stop. But never remove the radiator cap from a hot radiator. Check tire pressure.
Sand and Dust Storms- Don't drive during sandstorms or dust storms, which can cause problems when you need to see. Slow down and pull over if you ever encounter a sand or dust storm. Check your vehicle before driving again. The sand can mess up your car.
Flash Floods- Flash floods are sudden and can develop quickly. It is especially dangerous in the desert because the sand doesn't absorb the runoff and sand washes away easily. If a flash flood occurs seek higher ground quickly and wait for the water to lower.
  • Questions
  • What do you think is the hardest part of rural driving?
  • Why is entering a multi-lane road so difficult?
  • Why should you increase your speed when going uphill? Causes?
  • Why is lane position 3 better when you are being passed?
  • What do you think about rural driving? Difficult or not?
  • When should you pass a vehicle? What situations?


Created with images by satguru - "Cow Roast e" • bradleygee - "curve cow" • cwwycoff1 - "The Long Road Home" • rutlo - "Springer & Gene Autry" • jaxbot - "DSC_4491" • smjbk - "Country Road" • Unsplash - "farm track rural road field path" • artverau - "dirt road road rural" • Andy Atzert - "No Passing" • David~O - "Dust Storm"

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