The Etiquette of Gravel Roads. By Bryce Andrews. New West.

One thing very important that Andrews doesn’t mention is raising your right hand’s index finger if someone pulls over a bit or slows down as you pass.

This is more for dirt roads than gravel roads, but it tells me “jerk” if they don’t acknowledge with this little gesture if I pull off or over a bit.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

6 Responses to The Etiquette of Gravel Roads

  1. avatar Mike says:

    Good article. One thing I have found in my travels is that people in big SUV’s are usually the least considerate on gravel roads. Of course I’ve also encountered people in passenger cars and ATV riders who were just as bad.

    One time in Yellowstone I was doing the speed limit down Washburn Pass because of heavy animal activity( I always drive the limit in the parks so as not to run over the wildlife with my vehicle, and especially from Tower to Canyon which has all kinds of critters darting out in front of the road – I usually end up having to “mercy kill” red squirrels that people run over then don’t bother coming back to finish the job because they are completely oblivious. Anyway, back to riding down Washburn – a Cadillac Escalade was literally within inches of my bumper, the driver yelling. As we got to a bear jam, I put on the brakes, put the car in park, got out and walked up to the window of the giant SUV and there was this 70 year old man and his wife, red faced and angry. I asked them why they were literally inches from my bumper down the mountain. He said “because you were going to #$@ #$@# slow, @##@#@”. At that point I told him if he did it again he would not be happy with the results of his actions. There was a Ranger there who saw the whole thing(whom I know) and he applauded.

    A couple times I’ve encountered ATV riders who have seen my out of state plates, and then rode as close to my rental car as possible trying to kick rocks up at it (usually while I was walking back to the car from fishing or photography).

  2. avatar TPageCO says:

    The loss of courtesy on dirt/gravel roads seems more a result of increased traffic than out-of-state SUV’s. When cars go by every thirty seconds or so, there’s a tendency to stop acknowledging other drivers unless it’s a neighbor in the other car.

  3. It’s true that busy gravel roads do not, and probably should not, generate acknowledgments.

    I find big new SUVs and giant “light” pickups not used for any purpose than show are often unpleasant.

    What makes you pull over, however, is vehicle towing a cart with an ATV, bicycles, small boat or whatever coming. The tiny wheels really throw up the rocks.

  4. avatar vicki says:

    This is all true, and sad. I remember how exciting and refreshing it used to be when you would drive down a remote road and people would wave. It was such a courteous change of pace from all the “birds” flying in the air of the city.
    Now, it is about fifty/fifty as to the waves. But I can say I honestly have seen very few irritating 4×4 and atv’ers where I frequent. That is likely due to the use of area sand dunes by these people, so I don’t see them as much. I din’t go there, they have no need to come where I fish because they do go there.
    I do know that the speed on the roads leading out of the lake and mountains can be deceptively dangerous. Many-a-speeder and even some slow drivers fall victim to the sun glare through trees or pull of the sand, and end up in the fields, and drainages off the road. Some of these people are seriously and fatally injured. It never ceases to amaze me how many people drive by when they see an accident.

    I have medical training and am not only inclined to, but obligated to, stop and help. But so many other people just cruise by in their dust ball and only slow to gauck.

    I can understand not feeling safe stopping to provide help if someone is unhurt but stranded.(especially if you are alone, or female). But for crying out loud, get to a phone and call for assistance so that people are not left in need of help!
    Yep, rude, careless and even heartless behavior seems to be on the rise. Too bad, and shame on those people!

  5. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    Saw it on CNN. It looks “canid” (with an ugly face). I never thought the mystic chupacabra would turn out bull mastiff, how boring :-)) Makes me wonder what the bigfoot will turn out.

  6. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    Oh, sorry this was intended as a repsose to Vicky´s bigfoot/chupacabra posting. Somehow I have troubles with posting today, get some strange system responses!

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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