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Rural driving is far more dangerous than city driving

| Jul 17, 2019 | Firm News

Most people who grow up driving in rural areas feel like it’s far safer and far more comfortable than driving in the city. It doesn’t feel nearly as chaotic. People don’t seem like they’re always in such a hurry, they treat each other with less hostility and there simply are not as many cars around to pack the roads past the breaking point.

While some of those things may be true, the reality is that rural driving is far more dangerous. Roughly 50% of deadly accidents happen in rural areas, per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, while the other 50% happen in the city.

That makes it sound even, but you have to consider miles driven and population statistics. Of the total vehicle miles driven every day, only 30% of deadly accidents happen in rural areas. At the same time, a mere 19% of U.S. citizens live in these rural towns. This means that the fatality rate, if things were equal, should be well below 50%. On a per-mile basis, the smaller rural population dies in traffic accidents at a much faster rate than the larger city population.

The issue of speed

A big issue is simply speed. That’s not even to say that rural drivers break the speed limit more often. It’s just that the speed limits are so much higher. That raises the odds of death when a crash does happen.

In the city, someone might break the speed limit by 10 miles per hour and still only find themselves going 35 MPH. If another car pulls out in front of them at a busy intersection, while they could get injured, the odds are smaller that they’ll pass away.

On a rural road, someone breaking the speed limit by the same amount is now going 65 MPH. If another driver drifts into the oncoming lanes while sending a text message, now the two cars are going to crash at a combined speed of 130 MPH.

Speed even impacts single-car accidents. The roads are designed for higher speeds, but mistakes happen. Someone who loses control and hits a tree at 25 MPH in the city may just have cuts and bruises, while someone who hits a tree at 55 MPH in the country may pass away from their injuries.

By no means is this an indictment of rural drivers. It simply illustrates the differences in driving on rural roads and the unique challenges that drivers face, even when things may seem safer due to lower traffic levels and other such factors.

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