The risk of having a car accident or dying in a car crash is higher on rural roads than on other roadways. In Georgia specifically, rural roads can be especially deadly.
One report funded by State Farm found that drivers are 62% more likely to die in a car accident on a rural road than on a road in an urban area. A separate report from TRIP found that Georgia is the sixth-most fatal state in terms of rural road deaths.
But what causes rural road car accidents to be so deadly? A few factors may contribute.
What Causes Rural Road Crashes in Georgia?
Because rural roads are more remote, they don’t always receive the same care and treatment that more urban roadways do. Simply put, they are harder to reach for maintenance work, and it’s more difficult to know when and where rural roadways are in poor condition and get equipment to those locations. One report found that four percent of Georgia’s rural roads are in poor condition, with another 15% considered to be mediocre.
Additionally, the often winding, curving nature of rural roads creates more opportunities for accidents, as drivers must remain vigilant and attentive to the path of the road at all times. Add in any bad weather or animal life on Georgia’s rural roads, and you have a recipe for a car crash waiting to happen.
When an accident does happen on a backroad, the risk of a fatality is greater because factors like cell phone signal, the presence of other passers-by, and quick emergency crew response time are less certain than in urban areas.
What Are The Risks of Driving on Rural Roadways?
When driving on rural roads in Georgia, it’s important to pay attention to the road at all times. Be especially wary of any of the following factors, which can increase your chances of having a car accident:
- Bad weather that causes slippery conditions or impaired visibility
- Wildlife presence close to or on the road
- Winding, curving roads, narrow lanes, or limited shoulders
- Lack of clearly lit roads and signs at night
- Presence of vehicles other than cars, such as farming equipment, which may be traveling slowly on roadways
- Traveling for an extended period of time or many miles, which can fatigue drivers
Additionally, research shows that drivers on rural roads are less likely to use their seatbelts, which can also increase the risk of having a fatal accident. According to 2020 data, more than 58% of people killed in car crashes on rural roads were not wearing a seatbelt.
What Types of Car Accidents Are Most Common in Rural Areas in Georgia?
In general, single-driver accidents where the driver veered off the road are the most common kind of fatal car accident in rural areas. The second most common type of accident on a rural road is a head-on collision.
Additionally, in rural accident fatality cases, the most common kinds of vehicles involved are light trucks, vans, and passenger cars. Sadly, the most common age group to experience a fatal accident on a rural road is young people under the age of 25, with teens ages 14-15 at highest risk.
Car Accidents on Rural Roads vs. City Roads
Overall, car accidents on rural and urban roads are not significantly different. Factors like drunk driving, distracted driving, and speeding are often present in both kinds of accidents. In rural car accidents, the driver of the vehicle is the most likely person to be killed in a wreck. This is true for urban accidents, too.
However, we see some differences in the second most at-risk groups for fatalities depending on location. On rural roads, car passengers are the next most likely to suffer a fatal injury in a car accident, whereas pedestrian accidents in urban areas have the second-highest risk of fatality, likely because pedestrians are so prevalent in cities.
How to Stay Safe on Georgia’s Rural Roads
It’s important to follow safe driving practices anytime you’re behind the wheel, but this is especially true when you’re driving on rural roads. Always wear your seat belt, obey the speed limit, and keep alert for animals or sudden changes in weather conditions when driving in remote parts of Georgia.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation is implementing a National Roadway Safety Strategy, which will aim to improve rural road safety, as well as highway and urban road safety. The system assumes that people inevitably make mistakes and pushes for additional safety precautions (such as wider shoulders, guardrails, etc.) to be put in place to protect drivers when those mistakes happen, especially out on remote, country roads.
While you play a key role in protecting yourself from car accidents on rural roads, it’s good to know that a broader, governmental initiative is being implemented, too.
What to Do If You’re in a Car Accident on a Rural Road in Georgia
Should you find yourself in a car wreck on a rural road in Georgia, there are a few steps you can take to keep yourself safe and make the aftermath less chaotic. We discuss what to do after any crash in this detailed guide.
After you’ve received medical attention, called the police, and, if possible, documented the scene of the crash and events leading up to it, you may want to consider hiring a personal injury lawyer. This is especially true if you experienced injuries as the result of another driver’s negligence or poorly maintained roads.
Injured? Call Our Rural-Road Accident Lawyers Today
The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. has extensive experience handling motor vehicle accident cases for clients across Georgia. If you were injured in a car accident as a result of negligence of some kind, give us a call today for a free consultation. If you decide to hire us as your attorneys, you pay nothing (including zero fees or expenses) until we win your case for you. If for some reason we don’t win, you don’t pay us anything.