Many people in Washington are nervous to drive on busy freeways filled with traffic. In fact, you may even know someone who tries to avoid highways whenever possible. But what some people don’t understand is that rural roads can actually be more dangerous than crowded highways.
The statistics on rural road accidents
In 2019, over 16,000 people died in auto accidents that took place on rural US roadways. This number accounted for almost half of the 36,000 car accident fatalities that year. You can understand how bad the problem is when you know that only around one-fifth of the US population resides in rural areas.
Why accidents happen on rural roads
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that rural roads had almost twice the fatality rate as urban roads in 2019. According to transportation safety experts, rural roads can have a deadly combination of:
- Higher speeds
- Lack of lighting
- Narrow shoulders
- Lots of curves
Rural roads with less traffic are often far from hospitals, which could make response to emergencies take longer. According to data from 2018, 58% of drivers injured in rural road accidents died while they were on their way to the hospital. In urban road accidents, 41% of drivers died while they were on their way to the hospital.
What is being done about the problem?
There are some efforts by local and state governments to study the problem of rural road safety, but many safety advocates say that not enough is being done. Some of the safety measures recommended by engineers include widening shoulders, adding traffic lights and creating median barriers.
If you were injured while traveling on a rural roadway, it’s possible that poor road design contributed to your accident. You may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver as well as the city that was responsible for maintaining the road you were on.