24 May Who Has The Right Of Way On A Narrow Road?
This is a common question and the short answer is no one! We need to apply the Highway Code’s guidelines on single track roads to these situations. With those in mind here’s how to negotiate narrow roads safely.
The most important step is to slow down and take plenty of time to look ahead on approaching a narrow road.
Firstly, you want to avoid a collision with any car approaching, which will be in the middle of the road. Secondly, you need to see whether you can proceed, or whether another vehicle is already most of the way along the street, meaning you would only obstruct both of you!
Finally, look for obvious passing places, whether these are designed for the road, and signposted (often on country lanes) or result from gaps in parked cars.
If two drivers enter the street at opposite ends, both should look for the passing place. If there is one, they can both proceed to this spot, where one can move into the available space, and the other can pass safely and continue with their journey.
If there is no obvious passing place, one driver must give way. Always drive defensively and be willing to yield to the other driver.
Motorists may indicate they are giving way with a wave or a flash of the headlights, but never make assumptions. If it appears that the other driver is giving way to you, take your time and proceed with care.
Remember to thank them for their courtesy.
It is common to encounter narrow roads in hilly and mountainous environments. Visibility can be very poor on such roads, as they may be winding, so remember to adjust your speed throughout. The Highway Code states that if it is necessary for one driver to reverse to a suitable passing place, the vehicle going downhill should be the one that reverses.
This is because in steep environments it is easier for this driver to maintain control of the car’s speed.
On narrow roads you must be doubly cautious when attempting to pass more vulnerable road users such as cyclists and horse riders. If the road is not wide enough for you to give them enough space to pass safely, you must stay behind them.
Remember you have a duty of care as a road user and a driver to avoid risking injury to others.