THIS was the dramatic scene facing police and motorists on the A169 near in North Yorkshire yesterday.

A tractor had to swerve to avoid a car, causing the large piece of farming equipment it was carrying to fall off into the road, blocking it in both directions, at about 4.10pm, near Wykeham.

Police arrived within minutes, and managed traffic in the area to keep everyone safe. The tractor driver arranged for a forklift to attend and clear the implement, and the road was clear by 4.45pm. No one was injured.

It wasn’t the only disruption motorists encountered on the A169 that day. Earlier, at about 11am, a clutch of chickens were wandering round the road near Pickering. Officers attended and helped members of the public round them up.

Vast swathes of North Yorkshire’s 6,000-mile road network are rural, and police are now reminding motorists of the importance of driving safely and patiently on the country roads.

Their advice is:

• The best drivers read the road ahead and anticipate potential hazards. Look out for upcoming bends, hidden dips, blind summits and concealed entrances.

• Country roads often have sharp bends. To stay in control and give yourself time to react to unexpected hazards, brake before the bend, not in it.

• Overgrown verges, bushes and trees on country roads can block your view and potentially obscure an oncoming hazard. Always drive at a speed which will allow you to stop in the distance you can see to be clear (double that on a single track road). Allow more time to stop on wet or slippy surfaces.

• The speed limit is a limit not a target. The national speed limit on single carriage roads is 60mph, but there will be times you need to drive under that in order to drive correctly for the conditions. In fact most people do on these roads – the average free flow speed is 48mph.

• If you get stuck behind a slow moving vehicle be patient. Dips in roads, bends and other junctions joining your road often hide oncoming vehicles, so unless it's absolutely safe, don't overtake.

• If passing more vulnerable road users such as horse riders, cyclists and walkers, pass wide and slow.

• Even if you’re familiar with a country road, never take it for granted as the conditions can be different every time.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said: “From poultry to ploughs, these incidents just go to show the unexpected hazards that drivers on North Yorkshire’s rural roads can encounter. We’re grateful for everyone’s patience while we sorted things out.

“Remember to read the road ahead, and expect the unexpected, so that everyone gets home safe.”