Motorists are being reminded to obey speed limits and watch out for potential hazards while travelling on rural roads, ranging from sudden curves to crossing wildlife.

Safer Roads Ottawa launched a new public awareness campaign, saying "Ottawa sees too many fatal collisions on its rural roads."

Between 2016 and 2020, 21 per cent of collisions resulting in deaths or major injuries have occurred in rural areas.  The city says rural roadway collisions have contributed to one-third of Ottawa roadway fatalities.

Safer Roads Ottawa says open and clear rural roads present challenges and risks for drivers, including:

  • Curves and sudden turns
  • Soft gravel shoulders along the roadway
  • Hidden intersections
  • Slower vehicles – such as farm equipment and tractors
  • Wildlife, including door and coyotes.

"What compounds these safety challenges, especially at night, are speeding, aggressive driving, distracted driving and impairment from alcohol or drugs," the city said. "Drivers must maintain the same attention to speed, control and alertness as driving on any urban roadway or highway."

The Safer Roads Ottawa campaign will use social media and online advertising to raise awareness about safe driving on rural roads.

The city says it is also using "engineering measures' to enhance roadway geometry, signage and pavement markings on rural roads across the city. Those measures include upgrading approximately 20 linear kilometres of gravel shoulders and enhanced delineation of horizontal curves.