Fatal accidents can happen anywhere, but studies have shown that the severity of accidents tends to be worse in rural areas. Unfortunately, Indiana is a state that is abundant with rural roads and neighborhoods, meaning we tend to see higher numbers of fatalities from accidents than other states.
According to crash data collected by Indiana University, severe traffic accidents are often influenced by several factors, including seat belt use, speeding, and driver impairment—all of which are negligent behaviors that occur more frequently in rural areas.
Though the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that fatal crashes have gone down in rural areas since the early 2000s, this is likely due to improved vehicle safety and traffic control. However, despite these numbers having decreased over the years, these fatal accidents do still occur more often in rural areas. In 2019, there were over 16,000 deaths reported from traffic accidents on rural roads.
If you are injured in a rural accident, contact your local Indianapolis car accident experts at the Crossen Law Firm. We understand how devastating accidents in rural areas can be. Let us help you file a claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Why Are Rural Roads So Dangerous?
Numerous factors contribute to the increase in fatal accidents in rural areas. Because there is less traffic density in rural areas, people tend to be more lax when it comes to obeying traffic laws, which means more speeding and driving while impaired. However, many other things can cause accidents to be more severe on the rural roads of Indiana, including:
- Lack of lighting: Rural areas and roads are often not as well lit as other areas. When drivers are out early in the morning or late at night, this can contribute to more severe accidents as drivers can’t see where they are going.
- Winding roads: Many rural roads are made of twists and turns as well as dangerous curves around hills, making them more challenging to navigate. These types of roads can be hazardous as is but are even worse when driving at night or when speeding.
- Inclement weather: States with rural areas, like Indiana, also tend to have more severe winter weather. Unfortunately, rural roads are not kept as clear of snow and ice as city roads are. This means drivers are more likely to have accidents and may even get stuck without help for long periods.
- Livestock and wildlife: Of course, rural areas also tend to have an increase of animals roaming around, both from farms and local wildlife. When these animals end up on the roads or run out in front of cars, it can cause drivers to swerve and get into serious accidents.
- Farming machinery: Drivers in rural areas also have to share the roads with farming vehicles and equipment, which can be quite heavy and oversized. Getting into an accident with these vehicles and machinery can have deadly consequences.
- Lack of nearby medical facilities: While some people prefer rural living because it means peace and quiet, it also means limited access to certain things like quality medical facilities. When accidents occur in rural areas, it can take longer for emergency help to arrive, which means those who are severely injured have lower chances of survival.
- Reckless behaviors: As previously mentioned, reckless driving behaviors are also a major concern in rural areas. Drivers on rural roads are more likely to speed, drive while intoxicated, and perform risky passing maneuvers to get around slower moving vehicles.
Safety Tips For Navigating Rural Roads
Drivers in rural areas should always take extra precautions due to the increased risk of severe accidents. Numerous hazards can pose a threat, so it’s important to always remain alert and aware.
Some safety tips to avoid accidents in rural areas include:
- Slow down. As tempting as it may be to speed when there are not as many people or cars around, speeding is one of the primary causes of accidents in these areas.
- Share the road. Rural living means you are going to have to share the road with farming vehicles and machinery. Have patience, and give farmers space to safely maneuver their vehicles and equipment.
- Double-check before you pass. Passing is often allowed on rural roads, but if you pass aggressively without thoroughly checking that the road is clear, it can result in a severe collision.
- Be on alert for animals. Wildlife, livestock, and even domestic animals can be unpredictable. Always keep an eye out for these animals when out driving on rural roads.
- Keep an emergency kit in your car. Because rural areas have limited access to medical facilities, it’s a good idea to keep a first aid kit as well as other essentials like water, flashlights, and blankets in case you get into an accident and are stuck without help for an extended period.
Consult an Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured in a rural accident, the experienced team at Crossen Law Firm can help. With over 20 years of experience, our legal experts can advocate for your rights and handle your case to ensure you and your loved ones get the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today or give us a call for a free consultation at (317) 401-8626.