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Bristol Advanced Motorists
Driving Skills Forward Since 1958

We are the leading road safety charity throughout the South West, committed to raising driving standards, engaging with the road-using public and influencing road safety policy. We meet once a month at the BAWA Health and Leisure Centre in Southmead Road Filton. Our meetings are free and open to everyone and we have a varied programme of guest speakers throughout the year.

Tel: 07071 201173

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Motoring tips and advice

Driving Tips From Bristol Advanced Motorists


Country roads may be a more enjoyable drive than long straight ones, but they account for two-thirds of serious crashes.

Bank and summer holidays see more drivers on rural roads who are not familiar with them. Higher speed limits, tighter bends and unexpected hazards all add to increased risk.

Expect something – a cyclist, horse, tractor, an articulated lorry – around every blind bend, and watch out for clues of their presence, such as, wide tyre skid marks on the road surface or horse dung on the road. Be particularly careful when passing horses. Just like people, horses are individuals and will react differently. Always give them the same space you would a child when passing, and don’t risk startling them by rushing up or making any sudden noises. Try to be understanding if there are two horses riding side by side. Horse riders sometimes do this to protect less experienced and nervous riders and horses. Most horses will shy at drain and manhole covers - probably because they can hear water rushing underfoot - so be prepared for them to swing out into the road.

Rural journeys often take longer than expected because of the slower road users, so allow extra time in your journey for obstacles, so you don’t feel the need to rush.

In the spring, new vegetation growth may block your view around bends. Your speed should reflect the distance you can see to be clear – if you can only see ten metres ahead, you should be able to stop within that distance. Vegetation can also obscure road signs. If you are looking for a particular sign, slow down until you see it and know where you’re going. If you spot a sign too late, it’s best to carry on rather than try a sudden manoeuvre.

On bright days, overgrowing trees can create dappled dark shadowed areas which are difficult to see into. Put your lights on and slow down until you can see the road is clear.

Where there are farm vehicles moving around, there is likely to be mud spread on the road so be careful when passing entrances to fields. Loose gravel, leaves and potholes are also common so always keep an eye on the road surface.

Watch out for groups of motor bikers who can arrive unexpectedly and at speed. Listen out for clues of their approach and remember that the last rider in the group may be tempted to overtake dangerously to keep up with his friends. The same goes for cyclists - and bear in mind that they have a legal right to wobble!

On fast country roads, side turnings and gateways can present a real hazard. As you approach them question whether you could react in time if somebody was to appear from the entrance. If not, take your foot off the accelerator, and be prepared to brake. Try to spot side turnings early and take extra care when approaching buildings which may have entrances obscured from view.

Despite rural roads being the most dangerous, they are not part of the driving test. If you’re a learner, or are giving instruction to one, make sure you include rural roads in your practice.

Finally remember the national speed limit is a maximum, not a target speed, and may often be too fast for the conditions.

For more information on becoming an Advanced Driver, telephone 07071 201173 or email

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