According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration nearly 30% of fatal vehicle collisions each year happen on curves.
About 83% of these crashes on winding roads are roadway departures from sliding, skidding or rolling over.
A study from Canada adds that most of these collisions are single car collisions.
Another 2005 study in the U.S. found that "run-off-road" collisions were 30% of all fatal crashes, but only accounted for 16% of all crashes.
Considering the above statistics, it is easy to see why extra caution needs to be taken when driving on a curvy, winding road.
Consider also most roads with lots of bends are rural.
If you were in a serious collision on a rural back road and couldn't call for help yourself, there's a good chance you would wait a while before someone would notice you since these roads often have very little traffic.
Also once an emergency vehicle was dispatched it would probably take them longer to get there because often these curving back roads are a ways outside of the city where ambulances are dispatched from.
Watch You Speed
Remember there are two things you have less of on winding roads, visibility and control. This is why it is necessary to take a bend in the road at a slower speed than a straight road.
All the causes
mentioned above for running off the road, sliding, skidding and rollover
are themselves caused by taking the bend at too high a speed. Speeding
is the number one cause of these kinds of collisions.
Watch for the warning signs that tell you what the safe speed for the bend is.
I find the average bend on a winding road is safe at 20-30 mph. Your wider bends in the road are usually safe between 35-45 mph. the smaller, tighter curves, especially with a slight downhill is safe at 10-15 mph.
Below,the top pictures show winds in the road that are safe at 20-25 mph while the bottom pictures show curves that can safely be driven at 10-15 mph.
Notice the steep decline on the edge in the top left picture. Because this road is wider and on more level ground, it can be driven at a faster speed even with a steep drop-off to the right.
The bottom pictures is a road going downhill, slightly narrower than the road above, with a curb easy to hit on either side. Bends with a downward grade greatly increase the potential for loss of car control while driving.
Slow BEFORE entering a bend
Just as in a turn, you should slow down before you enter a curve. This will probably mean braking on level ground or going downhill. It will mean lighter on the gas pedal going uphill.
Coast until you reach the apex of the turn
Once you are into the bend, you should be off the brake unless it is a steep downhill.
Do remember braking while in a curve or turn puts more stress on the brakes because of the pressure when turning the wheel.
You shouldn't need the accelerator through the apex of a turn unless you are going uphill.
Use a little speed out of the curve
this usually means using the gas pedal, if it is a downhill you will let slightly off the brake.
Hug the center line especially on narrow roads
I find when driving through a left bend or right bend my vehicle drifts to the right.
Keeping closer to the left line keeps me centered in the lane as I approach the apex of the curve.
Also on winding roads keeping closer to the center line keeps you away from objects on the right shoulder that may come up unexpectedly such as pedestrians or parked cars.
Check your rear view Mirrors on the straight part of a winding road BEFORE you enter the bend.
It's especially important to be looking well ahead to see what direction the road goes and how wide or narrow the bend is.
It doesn't take much to lose car control when turning the steering wheel on a curvy road because you're glancing behind and missing what is ahead on the road.
Head lights on especially on a curvy road.
Winding roads have a lot of shaded area because there are usually more trees. This makes it harder for other drivers to see you especially if the sun is in their eyes. Having your headlights on will make you much more visible to oncoming cars on a winding road.
DMV Practice Tests DriversEd.com.
DMV Practice Tests DriversEd.com.