In Pennsylvania, 1,200 people died in traffic accidents in 2015. Almost half of these victims died on rural roads. Pennsylvania’s fatality rate on rural roads is the 16th highest in the country.
TRIP, a national nonprofit organization that reviews road transportation data, reports that the maintenance of bridges, roads, and infrastructure is a major problem in rural areas, and it impacts safety. Across the nation, the rate of fatalities is higher on rural roads.
According to the TRIP study, for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled on rural roads, there were 2.18 traffic fatalities in 2015. On other roads, the rate of fatalities was 0.83. That means that rural non-interstate routes had 43 percent of traffic fatalities even though they only had 22 percent of the country’s travel.
Rural Roads Present Unsafe Road Conditions
Urban thoroughfares are maintained and designed differently than rural roads. Rural roads tend to have narrow lanes and shoulders. They may also have loose gravel and potholes, and a lack of any median separating opposite lanes of traffic.
Although the roads in rural areas may be less traveled, motorists drive longer distances to every destination from food shopping to work to healthcare services. Drivers are likely to use cell phones to break up the monotony of rural driving. Distracted driving is a problem even in areas where traffic is light. The narrow shoulders and lack of medians leave little room for error.
The design of rural roads can be more dangerous as the roads tend to have fewer controlled intersections and traffic lights. The study also found that almost one quarter of Pennsylvania’s rural bridges were structurally deteriorated, presenting more unsafe road conditions for drivers in rural areas.
Tips to Drive Safely on Rural Roads
Tips for driving safely on rural roads include:
- Stay alert and drive at a safe speed, even if there is little traffic
- Be cautious when passing, especially on unfamiliar roads that may have dangerous curves and loose gravel
- Beware of hidden driveways and uncontrolled intersections where the cross-traffic may not stop or even slow down
- Keep an eye out for farm vehicles and keep a safe distance when following and passing them
- Be on the lookout for livestock and other animals that may be crossing the road
Chester County Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Victims of Car Accidents
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact a Chester County accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. To schedule a consultation, contact us online or call our Philadelphia offices at 215-569-8488.