If polled about it, most motorists would likely contend that rural roads are safer than urban ones. They’d likely attribute their response to the fact that there’s less traffic riding down country roads instead of city streets.
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) data shows that rural roads are considerably less safe than urban ones. That same data reflects that at least one-half of all U.S. fatal accidents occur in these areas.
What are the more common causes of rural crashes?
If you’re wondering what it is about rural roadways that makes them less safe than urban roads, safety analysts point to the following:
- Increased chances of motorists driving while under the influence of alcohol
- Road design: Rural roads are often long and winding. They tend to have low shoulders, and there’s generally little distance between the lane and its trees along the side of the road. There’s also little more than a centerline separating motorists from oncoming traffic.
- Lack of seat belt use
- Speeding: There are generally fewer law enforcement officers in rural areas. The open roads in rural areas, coupled with the lack of law enforcement, make motorists feel like they can speed, thus making them more likely to lose control of their vehicles and become involved in a crash.
- Larger presence of wildlife that may run out in front of vehicles
Motorists who become involved in an accident in a rural area are more likely to suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries due to the time it takes for emergency crews to reach them and transport them to the hospital.
Crashes at intersections may be more likely among urban motorists. T-bone ones may occur due to one driver failing to yield to another driver’s right of way. Rear-end crashes may result from tailgating in heavily congested traffic. If we introduce interstates into the mix, then speed is likely a factor. There’s also the added element of sharing the road with truckers, which may result in underride incidents and rear-end crashes resulting from delayed braking.
What should you do following an accident?
No matter where your accident occurs, you should see a doctor to ensure that you’re okay following a crash. The tests and imaging studies they’re likely to perform will be costly. Your expenses will increase if you require further treatment. You may be eligible to recover compensation to pay for these unexpected costs.