The Beautiful Yet Unpredictable Roads of Somerset

Released On 7th Aug 2023

The Beautiful Yet Unpredictable Roads of Somerset

Driving in Somerset and the West Country presents a blend of scenic pleasure and practical challenges. The roads can be unpredictable for a number of reasons:

1. Varied Terrain

Somerset's geography is diverse, offering everything from the flat levels of the Somerset Moors to the hilly and winding roads of the Mendip Hills. This range of terrain requires drivers to be on constant alert and adapt to differing road conditions.

Tip: Always adjust your driving style according to the terrain. Slower speeds on winding roads, and careful attention to road signs in hilly areas, will help ensure a safe journey. Proper tyre maintenance is also key for varied terrain.

2. Weather Impact

The local weather can change quickly, bringing everything from mist and fog to heavy rain or even snow in the winter. These conditions can affect road visibility and traction, requiring additional caution.

Tip: Equip your vehicle with suitable tyres for different weather conditions, keep headlights and windshields clear, and adjust your speed according to visibility and road wetness. Carry an emergency weather kit in your vehicle.

3. Narrow Country Roads

Many roads in Somerset are narrow, winding country lanes. These can be particularly challenging to navigate, especially when faced with oncoming traffic. Some roads may lack clear markings or have high hedges that impact visibility.

Tip: Use caution around bends, and be prepared to stop or pull over to allow oncoming traffic to pass. Adjusting mirrors for maximum visibility and always being aware of the road's width can make navigation easier.

4. Seasonal Changes

Different times of the year bring unique challenges. For example, winter may bring icy conditions, while autumn leaves can make roads slippery. Spring and summer might see increased tourist traffic, leading to unexpected congestion.

Tip: Stay informed about local weather and traffic conditions during peak seasons. Having seasonal check-ups for your vehicle to assess tyres, brakes, and fluid levels will keep it prepared for various conditions.

5. Wildlife Encounters

Somerset's beautiful countryside is home to various wildlife that might unexpectedly appear on the roads. Drivers must be prepared for the sudden appearance of animals such as deer, badgers, or pheasants.

Tip: Drive cautiously in areas known for wildlife, especially during dawn and dusk when animals are more active. If you spot wildlife near the road, slow down and be prepared to stop if necessary.

6. Agricultural Activity

Being a predominantly rural county, agricultural activities are common in Somerset. Tractors and other slow-moving farm vehicles can appear suddenly around bends, and muddy tracks from fields can create slippery road surfaces.

Tip: Be patient behind slow-moving farm vehicles and only overtake when it's safe to do so. Watch for muddy patches near fields and adjust speed accordingly to avoid skidding.

7. Historic Road Layouts

Some roads follow ancient paths and might not be designed for modern traffic volumes or vehicle sizes. The blend of historic charm and practical modern use can sometimes lead to congestion or navigation challenges.

Tip: Familiarise yourself with common routes and have an updated map or GPS handy for navigation. Respect local speed limits and be mindful of narrow passages where modern vehicles may struggle.

8. Flood Risks

Certain areas in Somerset, particularly the Levels, are prone to flooding. Sudden heavy rain can lead to unexpected road closures or hazardous driving conditions.

Tip: Monitor local weather forecasts for flood warnings and plan alternate routes if needed. Avoid driving through standing water, as it can be deeper than it appears, and keep an eye on local authority updates for road closures and guidance.

Understanding these factors can equip Somerset drivers with the knowledge and confidence to navigate the region's roads safely. Regular vehicle maintenance, attentive driving, and a keen awareness of the local conditions are key to enjoying the unique driving experience that Somerset  and the West Country offers.

If you ever feel uncertain about your vehicle's ability to handle Somerset's unpredictable roads, don't hesitate to consult with a local expert. Our team at Okee is always here to assist you with any concerns or needs. Contact Us