The Danger of Driving in Rural Areas

Open, rural roads

If you do not use the word "rural" very often, this basically refers to the countryside, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Is it safer to drive in a city or in a rural area? Most people would probably respond that country roads are much safer. After all, there are fewer cars! A driver doesn’t have to worry about as many fender benders. There are no furious taxi drivers shouting at you as you try to maneuver through the streets. And, in general, there is less chaos on the nation's backroads.

However, most people would be wrong.

Surprisingly, statistics indicate that crashes in rural areas can be anywhere from 3 to 10 times more deadly than in urban areas!

Let’s take a good look at those numbers.

Only 19 percent of people in the United States live in rural areas. So that’s why it’s a surprise to see that in 2015, 54 percent of driving-related fatalities took place in rural areas.

And if that percentage sounds bad to you, the truly astounding fact is that the number has actually gone down over the last twenty years.

Why are country roads more dangerous?

There are several factors, but here are the top reasons why rural driving is more hazardous:

—Seat belts. It all comes down to the seat belt. Outside of cities, people tend to neglect their seat belts. Therefore, when a crash does happen, the victims are more vulnerable and have more severe injuries.

—Speed. Speeding was a factor in 26 percent of rural deaths in 2018.

—Alcohol. In the country, 27 percent of crashes where someone was fatally injured involved a driver that had consumed alcohol.

Those are the major factors, but others do come into play.

—In rural areas, there’s more of a chance that animals will be in your way (so expect anything from a moose to a cow to appear in front of your vehicle).

—Also, sharing the road with slow-moving farm equipment can become dangerous if drivers don’t show common sense when passing.

—Turns and twists in rural roads might be nice for a romantic Sunday drive, but they become dangerous at night.

—Although large trucks give the impression of making people safer, in 2018, 69 percent of deaths in rural areas occurred when the people were in large trucks.

How can you keep safe when driving those beautiful country roads? Watch your speed, buckle up, avoid drinking, and keep an eye out for unusual road companions, like wild animals or tractors.

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