Drivers often assume that a rural road is safer. It feels like it has lower traffic levels than a city street. There are fewer traffic controls, stop signs, pedestrians and other such issues, making it less confusing. These wide open spaces feel like a safe and simple place to drive.
But studies into traffic statistics actually show that the opposite thing is occurring. Fatal accidents happen at a higher rate – a disproportionately high rate – on rural roads. In some cases, this means there are still fewer fatalities, but you have to factor in traffic levels and miles driven. When you look at the number of fatalities per mile, it’s much higher than what you’ll find in the city.
Why is this?
One reason for this difference is that rural roads have higher speed limits. Crashing at 55 miles an hour is simply more likely to be fatal. So there may be more accidents in the city, but they are less likely to lead to fatal injuries or to severe injuries.
Another reason is that rural roads are farther from hospitals. When response times are increased, it can mean that someone passes away from their injuries simply because medical care cannot arrive at the scene – or get them back to the hospital – in time.
Finally, some studies have noted that drivers in rural areas are more likely to be impaired and less likely to use their seatbelts. Both of these things could increase the odds of a fatality in a crash and may increase the odds of the crash itself.
What can you do next?
If you’ve lost a loved one in an accident, make sure you know exactly what legal options you have. You may deserve substantial compensation.