Driving on curvy roads is a risky proposition for several reasons. Driving through curves exposes your vehicle to a centrifugal force that pulls the vehicle towards the curve’s outer edge. This pull depends not only on how sharp the curve is but also on the speed you are driving in. The stronger this pull, the higher is the risk of your vehicle skidding off the road.
Curves also restrict your view of the road ahead, which can prove to be rather dangerous if you are not careful and driving at high speed. The risk is even more when you are navigating blind curves. You may suddenly find yourself facing another vehicle coming towards you or encounter pedestrians or animals crossing the road. Therefore, it is crucial to be alert and in complete control of the vehicle when driving on a road with curves and bends.
Passing vehicles is not only illegal but rather unsafe when your line-of-sight is compromised, which is often the case on curvy roads. Curves limit your ability to see oncoming traffic. Correctly timing your way through the curve could be slightly more difficult than usual. Additionally, curvy roads may not give you sufficient room to see around the vehicle that you want to pass.
Understanding road curves and how these are dangerous is the first step to driving safely on curvy roads. One should avoid rushing, follow the speed limits indicated on these roads, and slow down before steering through a curve. Avoid turning too close to the curve but keep towards the other end of the road, away from the curve while you complete the turn. You can then move back into your original lane as you steer out of the curve.
Do not speed up on curves but only after you’ve driven through them. Speeding up through a curve can make your vehicle skid. If the vehicle does skid, refrain from applying brakes or making sudden steering motions but wait for the vehicle to slow down a little on its own before trying to regain control.
Driving on curvy roads in the hills can be a different ball game altogether, one that demands its own precautions, practice, and patience.
Curve signs are important as they inform motorists about a change in the horizontal alignment of a roadway that may require them to be alert and make adjustments to their driving. Curvy roads are difficult to navigate and often have sudden, sharp, or blind curves. Signs give motorists a warning about these situations for them to slow down in time and refrain from passing.
Curve Warning signs are covered in MUTCD Section 2C.07 on Horizontal Alignment Signs. The section defines the type of curve signs and when each should be used. Guidance about the use of supplemental distance plaques is also provided. The section also provides a table to help with the selection of horizontal alignment signs. The different curve and alignment signs are shown in Figure 2C-1.
Other than these, Chapter 6F of the MUTCD on Temporary Traffic Control Zone Devices provides standards and guidelines on Reverse Curve Signs and Double Reverse Curve Signs in Section 6F.48 and 6F.49, respectively. Signs that fall under these sections are shown in Figure 6F-4.
A Winding Road sign is used when there are three or more successive curves in a road with a tangent distance of less than 600 feet between each curve. It is a warning sign that alerts drivers to be prepared to slow down to navigate the curved road ahead. These signs are defined in the 2C.07 section of the MUTCD and may be used with a supplemental distance plaque to communicate the road’s winding section’s distance.