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Rural Roads and Motor Vehicle Accidents

While you might think of motor vehicle accidents being more likely to occur on traffic-packed, narrow urban streets, the opposite is actually true.

Despite the prevalence of rush hour traffic, pedestrians, and bicyclists that may be more difficult to see in urban areas, the majority of highway fatalities from car crashes occur on rural, not urban roads.

In fact, the fatality rate for car wrecks in rural areas is 2.4 times higher than the fatality rate in urban areas. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration reported that although only 19% of the U.S. population lived in rural areas, 54% of all car crash fatalities occurred on rural roads.

There are a variety of reasons for the differences in the rates of fatal car crashes in rural and urban areas. Residents of rural areas may drive more miles on average than residents of urban areas, and may be less likely to use safety precautions such as seatbelts and child restraint systems.

Rural roads and vehicles driven in rural areas may be less safe than urban roads and vehicles, in that they tend to have fewer guardrails and shoulders. Rural roads also may be unpaved, have sharp and unexpected curves, and contain unexpected obstacles, such as slow-moving farm vehicles and livestock.

Furthermore, crash victims may wait longer for medical attention following crashes, which may be of a lower quality than in urban areas.

In order to help avoid serious car crashes on rural roadways, drivers should plan their routes ahead of time, rather than attempting to follow a GPS while driving, as GPS devices may not be as accurate in rural areas.

Drivers also should take care when driving unfamiliar roads, as they may contain unexpected twists and turns. Obeying posted speed limits, and slowing down to speeds below the speed limit when weather conditions are less than optimal, also can go a long way toward preventing accidents.

Whether you are driving on rural roads or urban streets, accidents with catastrophic results can occur. No matter the type of motor vehicle accident in which you are involved, you will need assistance with any personal injury claim that you might have. For more information about how to properly handle your personal injury claim, contact the Wisconsin personal injury lawyers of Boller & Vaughan today.