It’s more dangerous to drive on rural roads than on urban roads. The vast majority of Americans live in urban areas, with under 20% living in rural areas. However, the fatal accident rate is much higher on these roads, and studies have found that people are more likely to pass away when driving in these locations.
The reality that rural roads are disproportionately dangerous may be surprising to many drivers, especially those who find rural roads to be relaxing and generally easier to navigate. Why aren’t city streets, with their confusing designs and abundance of traffic, more dangerous? There are three main reasons why crashes in rural areas lead to more fatalities, statistically speaking.
Distance from hospitals
First and foremost, an accident in a rural area is usually not very close to a hospital. This can delay how long it takes for medical professionals to respond and how quickly they can transport someone to a medical center. Many car accidents are survivable in the city but would be fatal if they happened in the country. Additionally, remote single-car accidents may not even be discovered for a long time, thus significantly delaying treatment.
Higher speed limits
Another issue is that speed limits are higher on rural roads. They tend to be around 55 mph. Accidents at higher rates of speed are more likely to lead to fatal injuries. Plus, many drivers also break the speed limit, even though it’s already much higher than it would be in the city. Speeding happens everywhere, and rural areas already have higher overall speeds, leading to more fatal crashes.
Dangerous driving behaviors
Finally, many of these accidents are linked to dangerous activities and driving behaviors. Distracted driving is one example. So is speeding. Researchers have also found evidence of lower rates of seatbelt use and more cases of reckless driving on rural roads. When these dangerous behaviors also happen at higher speeds, they can lead to serious injuries in the event that accidents occur.
Simply going for a drive may be more dangerous than you might initially expect. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a tragic accident, be sure you know what legal options are available to you, as you may be entitled to significant compensation regardless of where your crash occurred.