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3 reasons why rural roads are particularly dangerous

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2023 | Car Accidents

Many people assume that rural roads are less dangerous than roads in urban areas. Certainly, traffic congestion and complexity are hazardous. There are also more cars in urban areas, and the road systems can be much more confusing, which means they feel more dangerous.

However, when it comes to the number of drivers as compared to the number of accidents in both areas, rural locations are actually more dangerous than urban ones. Researchers have looked at how many miles people drive in both areas, and compared this to the rate of fatal accidents. This gives them an idea of which roads are the safest and the most dangerous to drive on. What they find is that much more driving takes place on urban streets, but this activity only accounts for around half of the fatal accidents that occur on U.S. roadways. As reports put it, “the risk of dying in a crash was 62% higher on a rural road compared to an urban road for the same trip length.” Below are three potential reasons why.

Hospitals are farther away

To start with, assuming that accidents are going to happen in both settings, drivers who are closer to the hospital are naturally going to have a better chance of surviving. If a hospital is five minutes away, someone who has been injured has a much better chance than if a hospital is 20 or 30 minutes away.

Speed limits are higher

Additionally, it’s clear that speed limits themselves play a role in the odds that an accident is going to be fatal. Even if a higher speed doesn’t make an accident more likely, it does increase the potential severity of injuries incurred in the event of a wreck. An accident at 55 miles an hour is simply more likely to be fatal than one that occurs at 25 miles an hour.

Drivers take more risks

Drivers take risks and make mistakes in both the city and on urban roads. But researchers do note that some risky activities seem to be more common in rural areas. Examples include things like driving without a seatbelt and driving under the influence.

While it is obviously important to drive safely whenever one is traveling, taking particular care when driving in rural settings seems to be worth drivers’ energy and effort.