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Rural areas are more dangerous for car accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 15,000 fatal traffic accidents occurred in 2014 on roadways in the United States, comprising about 50 percent of all fatal traffic accidents in the country. This is an alarming figure, considering just 19 percent of American citizens live in rural areas yet half of all fatal accidents occur on rural roads. It highlights the very real danger that unfamiliar drivers face when they must cross through rural areas in Colorado during their travels.

Why are Rural Roads So Risky? 

To put it simply, driving on rural roads is just different than driving through urban and suburban areas. Here's a few of the risk factors that increase the danger of driving on rural roads:

  • Inaccurate GPS Mapping -- Travelers almost always rely on their GPS to get them around a new destination, but rural roads are not always accurately portrayed on GPS devices. Drivers can get lost or confused by relying on their GPS, and they also can be distracted while they try to figure out where they need to go next.
  • Few Guard Rails and Shoulders -- Most rural roads do not have guard rails or shoulders along the side where drivers can safely pull over. If the driver dozes off and wakes up suddenly, they may swerve their car into a ditch rather than simply off onto the shoulder. This increases the risk of injury in an accident.
  • Sharp and Unexpected Curves -- Drivers who are traversing along rural roads and who are unfamiliar with the area often feel like the road will continue to go straight for miles and miles. However, many times, there are sharp and unexpected curves along these roads. Drivers who are not paying attention or who are bored while driving may not realize the curves are approaching, which could result in an accident.
  • Unpaved Roads -- Many rural roads are not paved, which forces drivers to move along uneven surfaces. This can damage the vehicle itself and also can make it more difficult for the driver to maneuver along the road.
  • Unexpected Obstacles -- When driving on a city road, a driver is often on the lookout for pedestrians, other vehicles and general road obstacles. On rural roads, however, obstacles can appear suddenly and unexpectedly. Farm animals, slow-moving farm equipment and natural debris can startle drivers who are unfamiliar with the rural roads in the area.

What Can Drivers do to Prevent Rural Traffic Accidents?

Drivers need to recognize the risks of driving along rural roads. To prevent accidents that result in injuries or fatalities, drivers should be prepared for a different type of experience prior to getting behind the wheel on their Colorado vacation. It is important to get a full night's sleep before driving for any significant period of time, especially when the drive will take place on rural roads. Drowsy driving killed nearly 850 people in 2014 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and many of those fatalities occurred on rural roads. In addition, rather than relying on a GPS device, drivers should study a map of the area before they plan their route. This will help them get to know the roadways prior to embarking on their trip, and will keep them from being distracted by the technology. Whenever possible, drivers also should have a passenger with them to help them navigate and to share driving responsibilities with.

By hiring a qualified local attorney, travelers will be able to get the assistance they need during a difficult time. No one expects to get into a car accident while they are visiting Denver, where they originally intended to make lifelong memories with their friends and family. However, in the event of a car accident on a rural road in the Denver region that results in an injury, it's critical to partner with an experienced attorney who can get you the results you need. Find out more information about personal injury law and motor vehicle accidents in Colorado by contacting us today.

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