If you’ve ever taken a long drive out to the country or a state park, you know what it’s like to transition from driving on the pavement to driving on a dirt road. It’s a completely different experience and should be treated as such. You can’t expect to drive on a dirt road the same way you’re used to. It’s not just the surface of the road that makes it different, either.
Typically, dirt roads are found in rural areas and wooded areas. I’m sure you know what that means – you also have to watch out for wildlife and other vehicles such as slower moving tractors or off-road 4-wheelers that seemingly come out of nowhere.
If you want to become better at driving off the beaten path instead of heading straight to these OC car accident lawyers, here are some dirt road driving tips to keep in mind before your adventure.
1. Stay Alert
Always assume there’s going to be something around every corner. Be on high alert for other vehicles, animals, a downed tree, and major holes or bumps in the road. Always drive slow and be prepared to stop at any time.
2. Eyes Forward
Look as far ahead as you can to avoid something sneaking up on you. Just because there isn’t as much traffic doesn’t mean you should take your eyes off the road. Stay focused and watch out for surprise dangers ahead.
3. Take it Slow and Easy
Drive slowly so you don’t end up slamming on the brakes or swerving to avoid hitting something. If you’ve ever had your tires skid on a dirt road, you know you lose all control over your vehicle. It’s better to take it slow and avoid that scenario altogether before you need to find a quality lawyer representing auto accident victims. Plus, you can enjoy the scenery better.
4. Don’t Slam on the Brakes
Just like slamming your brakes on snow or ice, hitting the brakes hard on a dirt or gravel road is a recipe for disaster. You’ll likely end up sliding, losing control, and you may even drive into a ditch or hit a tree. Take it slow, stay alert, and slowly press the brakes if you see something you need to avoid hitting.
5. Never Follow Other Vehicles Too Closely
There is often a path of dust or debris left behind by vehicles traveling down dirt roads. This will make it more difficult to see when a car is slowing down or stopping, as well as obstructions in the road. Leave plenty of space between you and other vehicles to be courteous and safe for everyone.
6. Approach Puddles with Care
You never know exactly how deep a hole is in the road if it’s covered with water. Some potholes could be deep enough to cause you to pop a tire. If you’re ever unsure how deep a water crossing is, it’s best to either slowly go around it when it’s safe to do so, or get out and check the depth with a measuring device.
7. Double-Check Your Vehicle
Check your vehicle once you get back on the paved road. Dirt and gravel have the potential to wreak havoc on a vehicle, so it’s best to check your tires for rocks and look underneath for tree branches or other objects that might be stuck. Of course, make sure you get to a safe area first before you pull over, like a gas station or parking lot.