"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." ~Maya Angelou

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rules for Driving on Country Roads

As I was driving the last mile home this evening I came upon a wreck on our shale and gravel road (just before the doughnut tree, for those who know the road). Two high school girls had apparently lost control of their car on the gravel and rolled it in the worked field. I'll spare you the gory details but it was not a pretty sight. There was a young man already there with them so, after checking that they had called for help, I backed up and waited, with my flashers on, until the ambulance arrived. Country roads, although beautiful, can be very treacherous for drivers who are not used to driving on them. Here are some things to remember. 1. You should drive more slowly than you usually do: the roads around here are either shale, dirt or gravel and you can easily lose control. 2. Never swerve to miss hitting an animal. It is their job to get out of the way. It is your job to keep your car going straight down the road. 3. Slow down slowly; slamming on your breaks will make your car fish tail and you will be in the ditch. 4. Speaking of the ditch: STAY OUT OF IT! You have no idea how deep it might be. 5. After a rain DO NOT drive down a dirt only road. Unless you have a four wheel drive pickup you will be stuck, either in the road itself or in the ditch. 6. Be sure you look for the dust plume from the side roads as you approach an intersection, and slow down if you see one. 6A. After a rain there will not be a dust plume and, if you are used to looking for them, you may well miss an oncoming car or pickup. 7. In the summer months the weeds and grasses in the ditches are so tall that you must be very cautious. There is no way you will be able to see an approaching car before it is upon you. SLOW DOWN! 8. Do not 'get jiggy wid it' to the music on the radio and do the steering wheel dance. You will end up in the ditch or in the hospital. 9. Although the rule of the right of way is just that: the person on the right gets to go first, it isn't usually followed. Here are the right of way rules: 1. The person with the bigger vehicle gets to go first. The other person stops. 2. HOWEVER, if a man is driving the pickup and a woman is driving the car, the car gets to go first because he will give you the wave to go ahead. 3. Do not count on rule number 2 being in effect but be ready for it anyway. (Do not try to 'out wave' the guy in the pickup. He will not move until you have moved.) 4. Oil and saltwater trucks always get the right of way no matter what. (They are bigger and are driving faster than anyone else anyway and are not paying attention to you.) 10. Stay far enough back from the vehicle in front of you so that you are not driving in their dust cloud (that one is common sense). 11. If someone is stopped beside the road, pull up and see if they need help. 12. Slow down and creep past anyone who is walking, getting their mail or building fence. They are hot and sweaty and don't need a dirt bath. 13. DO NOT TRY TO PASS ANYONE ON A COUNTRY ROAD. If you think you need to pass them, you are driving too fast. SLOW DOWN. 14. You may drive down the middle of the road unless you are coming to a hill, then you must pull to your own side of the road. 15. If you drive up to someone who is just standing on the other side of his pickup and he doesn't look at you...drive on and don't look. He is probably peeing. 16. Watch out for deer on the road, especially during the full moon and in the Fall. 17. Watch out for cattle on the sides of the road at all times. They will jump right out in front of your car and you and they will both lose. 18. Do not try to run down a turkey with your car. They will fly up and come right through your windshield. This is not a good way to hunt turkey. Get a gun and learn how to use it. 19. Do not try to run over armadillos in anything lower to the ground than a pickup truck. 20. Be aware that everyone sees you and what you are doing when you are driving in the country. You may think there is no one around but there is always someone watching so don't do anything stupid that you may regret later. People who live in the country know what cars and pickups everyone who lives around there drives and they notice and watch any vehicles that don't belong. 21. Do not dawdle through a muddy low place; keep going or you will be stuck. 22. If you see a lone coyote running across a field PAY ATTENTION to your driving; there will be several pickups tearing around the section focusing on the hunt and they will not be watching out for you. By the way, THEY HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY. (This generally happens on Sundays and holidays). 23. No matter how untraveled the road always check every intersection. There are people drive down those roads in the boonies all the time. 24. The train tracks are used many times a day and are not marked with bells and whistles. Trains travel through the country at lightning speed and will not even think of slowing down for a car or truck. Remember: in any game of chicken between a car and a train the car loses. LOOK AND LISTEN. 25. Fasten your seat belts before you ever put your vehicle in gear. Most wrecks happen within a mile or two of your home. Wear your seat belts even if you are only going half a mile. 26. Never drive through water that is across the road. It may have washed the road completely out and you won't know it. 27. Do not try to break you way through snow drifts. Leave that job for the snowplows. 28. When driving across bridges that have no sides keep your eyes on the far side and keep going. 29. Slow down when you cross all bridges; the road at the ends of the bridge will have been worn away and there will be pot holes there that will rip your car to shreds. 30. If you are lost, pull in and ask someone how to get to where you were going. They will know where everyone lives and will probably call ahead to let them know you are on your way. 23


b said...

Well, I must admit "get jiggly wid it" is the very last thing in the world I expected to hear from my dear friend, Debra.... :)

Jessica Lena Lehman said...

i love it. i have been in the ditch myself from the animal after audra's wedding. luckily, able and dad were there to save me.