Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Road tripping Shropshire #StoppingDistance

Now the spring is here there is nothing that we love more than getting out onto the road and exploring. A whole new county to look around and discover the history of, from the start of the Industrial Revolution at Ironbridge to the cairns and Iron Age hill forts atop some of the majestic hill ranges in Shropshire. At any available opportunity, we love to go on road trips, sometimes with nowhere in particular to go to, we head out in a direction and just come across interesting places.

Wenlock vintage road sign


It is however clear to me that driving around Shropshire is a lot harder than it was back in Cheshire and this is for several reasons, mostly the hills and narrow lanes. Therefore, it is very important that our car is safe on the roads by having regular services and checks. The main aspect of living here in Shropshire is the high terrain, my village is the gateway to the Shropshire Hills so many times we are off over a hill or down into a valley and with the UK weather being so changeable the road surfaces can quickly change and affect driving.

Kwik Fit have been running a Stopping Distance campaign to raise awareness of altering your stopping distances in different weather conditions; twice as long to stop in wet weather and a whopping ten times as long to stop in icy and snowy weather. Certainly, driving around my new area which is incredibly rural and remote has had its difficulties over the winter, some of my routes being up in the hills had a decent amount of snow and some areas receive a lot of rainfall and run off from the top.
Above Church Stetton


So for example crossing the Long Mynd and its very steep drops, which we drove over at the weekend is very nerve wracking at times and close attention needs to be paid to the weather and road conditions, also ensuring that the car isn’t going to break down!! Making sure the car is roadworthy is something that can be checked with an MOT test at Kwik Fit and they are able to provide checks to brakes, batteries and of course tyres.  

Were you aware of the recommended stopping distances? Take a look at this video.



Added to the rainfall making the roads wet is the land drain run off from fields and the streams so even in the summer, most of the narrow lanes seem to have trickles of water running to torrents after a downpour. Stopping distances on the narrow single lanes need to be adhered to as you never know when you will meet a car coming from the opposite direction and the brakes need to be swiftly applied. There are a lot of tractors thundering around the countryside and it’s common to find yourself reversing back down a single track lane to a passing point when finding yourself face to face with a large tractor or milk tanker (I dread this!). With the hedges being high in places, you really have to gingerly drive down some lanes in case other road users are not as careful as you.
Driving in Shropshire






Then add lots of animals into the mix, cows crossing the road, lone sheep on a hill road, horse riders.

Mud on the roads from farm traffic is another to be careful of for making the road slippy .....did I mention pot holes too!! 
Cows going to be milked



PotholesRural driving, especially in Shropshire has encouraged me to take better care of my car for if I'm driving around with Little Bird I want us to be very safe and definitely not break down or come back to my car and the battery is flat. Also to drive much slower on these narrow roads, taking greater care and regularly looking at the tyres. I didn't do this and learnt the hard way with a flat tyre on a busy road near Shrewsbury.

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