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Expect unexpected, rural motorists warned

Police are warning rural motorists to slow down and expect the unexpected on country roads this summer.

It comes after a tractor had to swerve to avoid a car, causing the implement it was carrying to fall into the road, blocking it in both directions in North Yorkshire.

Police arrived within minutes, and managed traffic in the area to keep everyone safe. The tractor driver arranged for a forklift to attend and clear the implement, and the road was clear by 4.45pm. No one was injured.

Vast swathes of North Yorkshire’s 6,000-mile road network are rural, and police are reminding motorists of the importance of driving safely and patiently on our country roads.

The best drivers read the road ahead and anticipate potential hazards, said police.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said: “From poultry to ploughs, these incidents just go to show the unexpected hazards that drivers on North Yorkshire’s rural roads can encounter. We’re grateful for everyone’s patience while we sorted things out.

“Remember to read the road ahead, and expect the unexpected, so that everyone gets home safe.”

Motorists should look out for upcoming bends, hidden dips, blind summits and concealed entrances. They should stay in control allowing time to react to unexpected hazards.

Overgrown verges, bushes and trees on country roads can block views and potentially obscure an oncoming hazard.

Motorists should always drive at a speed which will allow you to stop in the distance you can see to be clear (double that on a single track road). Allow more time to stop on wet or slippy surfaces.

They should also remember that the speed limit is a limit not a target.

The national speed limit on single carriage roads is 60mph, but there will be times you need to drive under that in order to drive correctly for the conditions. In fact most people do on these roads – the average free flow speed is 48mph.

Motorists who get stuck behind a slow moving vehicle should patient.

Dips in roads, bends and other junctions joining a road often hide oncoming vehicles, so unless it is absolutely safe, don’t overtake.

Even motorists familiar with a country road should never take it for granted as the conditions can be different every time. If passing vulnerable road users such as horse riders, cyclists and walkers, pass wide and slow.

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