Fatal accidents are more likely to take place on more remote, rural roads. This fact is often surprising to people who drive in rural areas frequently. These roads may feel safer because they are less populated, but statistics show that they are affected by a notably higher fatal accident rate.
Why does this happen? Every accident is unique, so there are a lot of different factors to consider. Yet, there are some consistent concerns that tend to play a role in many fatal accident scenarios that take place on rural roads.
Rural roads often have higher speed limits and fewer speed enforcement measures compared to urban roads. The combination of higher speeds and limited enforcement can increase the frequency of collisions and the severity of accidents when they occur.
Lack of infrastructure
Rural roads are typically narrower, lack proper lighting and have fewer safety features like guardrails and median dividers. This can lead to a higher likelihood of accidents and more severe outcomes when they happen.
Limited access to emergency services
In rural areas, emergency response times may be longer due to greater distances between accident sites and hospitals or fire stations. Delayed access to medical care and proper treatment can increase the odds of fatalities. Many injuries – such as internal bleeding – have a much higher chance of leading to a fatality if medical care is not provided quickly. Access to care often takes just a few minutes in the city, but major delays can happen when rural accidents occur.
A related issue can be a lack of cell service. It may take much longer to even contact the authorities after a rural crash, as compared to one in an urban area where consistent cell coverage is the norm.
Riskier driving behavior
Some studies suggest that drivers engage in riskier behaviors on rural roads at higher rates, such as excessive speeding, not wearing seatbelts or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is true that these things also happen in the city. But the combination of higher speed limits and distant emergency services mean they are more dangerous activities on rural roads.
Even drivers who understand these risks and try to avoid them can be injured in accidents caused by other parties. By seeking legal guidance, these crash victims can better ensure that they can receive the maximum amount of compensation that they’re rightfully owed.