While rural areas usually have far less traffic than cities, accident risks are still high on rural roadways. In fact, the Governors Highway Safety Association reports that approximately 50% of fatal crashes happen in rural areas.
Motorists should be aware of certain risk factors when traveling on rural roads.
Many rural roads provide a chance to get up to high speeds. These roads can go for miles without stop signs, and since there is little traffic, drivers can speed along much easier than they can in the city. Speed is a factor in most accidents. This is often because high speeds prevent motorists from reacting in time to hazards. Additionally, the severity of accidents tends to increase at higher speeds.
Rural roads are more likely to have animals that get into a vehicle’s path. Deer are especially concerning, and their large size can cause serious damage to a person or vehicle. Rural drivers need to understand when deer are most active and what areas these animals frequent.
Rural roads can vary significantly in condition. They may have horrible potholes or even washed-out areas, depending on recent weather. Sometimes, back roads are so narrow that only one vehicle can move on them. These things all add up to potential factors that could lead to accidents.
Rural roads may seem safe since there is less traffic, but single-vehicle collisions can be just as bad as multicar crashes. To help prevent accidents, motorists in rural areas should drive with caution, stay within the speed limit, avoid distractions and plan their trip ahead of time.