When you’re driving, you likely feel a bit more tense and nervous when you’re in heavy traffic. This is very common for drivers of all ages. It feels like driving in the city or on the turnpike puts you at the greatest risk. The more cars there are around you, the more you worry about a serious accident.
While traffic congestion can cause accidents, the severity of crashes is actually much greater on rural roads. They are more likely to be the site of fatal accidents, and they are, in this light, more dangerous than city streets. Why is this, considering how safe and open many of these rural roads feel?
Breaking down the statistics
We know about the risk by looking at the stats. For instance, a mere 19% of Americans actually live in rural areas, as more and more people move to the cities. They drive a disproportionate amount since everything is so spread out, but they still only cover about a third of the country’s driving miles.
Even so, nearly half of all fatalities happen on these same rural roads. How would it be that less than 20% of the population accounts for 50% of the deaths, while the other 80% of the population accounts for the other 50% of fatal accidents?
The biggest issue is speed. The general speed — even when laws are being followed — tends to be much higher. Often, city streets are around 25-35 miles per hour, while rural roads tend to be 55 miles per hour, and everyone drivers about 60 MPH.
In an accident, one of the main indicators of how bad injuries are going to be is simply how fast the vehicle was traveling. So the same event in the city may not lead to a fatality.
For instance, a city driver could start texting and cross into the oncoming lanes at 25 MPH. Not only would both drivers have more time to react and stop, but, even if they didn’t, their combined impact would be at 50 miles per hour. If the same driver crossed the centerline in a rural area, the combined impact would be closer to 120MPH. The drivers would have less time to react and would likely suffer far more serious injuries in an accident.
Have you gotten injured?
If you have been injured in a car crash, it’s important to understand all of the rights you have to compensation.