Roughly 19% of the population of this country lives in rural areas, and only 31% of the total miles people travel in their vehicles involve rural roads. Yet, 43% of all traffic fatalities in 2020 occurred in rural areas.
Given that rural roads see so much less traffic than urban streets and busy highways, this seems like a puzzling phenomenon – until you start to understand the reasons behind the statistics.
There’s limited access to emergency services and longer response times
If you get into a bad wreck in the middle of a downtown area, the odds are high that the police and an ambulance can be there within minutes. The close proximity of first responders, clinics and hospitals all around allows car wreck victims to receive medical attention much faster than they might in rural areas.
In rural areas, emergency services often have to cover large distances from their home base just to reach an accident scene. This alone can erode the so-called “golden hour” for trauma response and the initiation of medical treatment, within which injury victims stand a much better chance of recovery.
Head-on collision and high-speed accidents are more likely to occur
The other reason that rural wrecks can quickly turn deadly has to do with a combo of factors. First, the lack of congestion on rural roads seems to encourage drivers to be a little heavy with their feet on the gas pedals. The lack of traffic may lead them to a false sense of security that makes speeding seem more acceptable.
Second, head-on crashes may be more likely. Poor road infrastructure, especially in areas that are hilly and winding, may lead drivers to straddle the middle of the lane when they think no other traffic is around. Encounters with animals in the road, which are more frequent in rural areas, can also cause drivers to panic and go left of center, leading to head-on accidents.
Ultimately, whatever the cause of an accident, the devastating aftermath of a fatal wreck can put your entire family’s security in jeopardy. If you’ve been seriously injured in a car wreck or your loved one was killed due to another driver’s error, you have every right to expect fair compensation for your losses. Seeking sound legal guidance is a good way to better ensure that your interests are protected moving forward.