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Curves and Winding Roads

Curvy, Winding Roads Require Caution

According to the US Federal Highway Administration, almost 30 percent of all fatal car crashes that occur every year happen on curvy roads. Of these accidents, over 80 percent are due to skidding, sliding, or rolling over off the road. Another study out of Canada adds that the majority of these crashes are single car incidents. Considering these startling statistics, it can be easy to see why officials encourage even the most experienced drivers to use extra caution when driving on winding roads.

Slow Down

On curvy roads, there are two things drivers have much less of – control and visibility. This is why it is so important to take any bend in a windy road with a slower speed than you would on a straight road. All of the causes of fatal crashes listed earlier – skidding, sliding, and rolling over off the road – are caused by taking on a bend in the road too fast. Speeding is easily the number one cause of these types of accidents. It is safest to take the average bend at a speed of 20 to 25 mph – wider bends can generally handle 35 to 45 mph and tighter, smaller curves should be traveled at 10 to 15 mph.

Get Close to the Center Line

When taking a curve on a very narrow road, make sure to hug the center line – regardless of if the bend curves left or right, the vehicle generally drifts to the right toward the outer portion of the road. Staying closer to the center line helps keep the vehicle centered in the lane as it approaches the apex of the bend. Additionally, staying closer to the center line of the road, especially on a narrow road, helps keep the vehicle away from objects and hazards that may be on the right shoulder, which can come up unexpectedly since drivers cannot easily see what is going on far enough ahead of them.

Use Your Headlights

Curvy or winding roads generally feature more trees, which cause additional shade and make it darker and sometimes harder to see. Using headlights, even in the day time, can make it easier for drivers to see in these shaded areas and make it easier for them as drivers to see their car even with the sun in their eyes. Additionally, when drivers are tackling these bends in the road at night, using headlights are obviously essential not only for you to be able to see but also for other drivers to be able to see you.

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