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According to the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota, more people die each year in rural roadway accidents than in urban settings. As you might expect, there are indeed more crashes in cities than in the country, but those accidents are less likely to be fatal.

Like numbers? The NHTSA says that 56 percent of the 37,261 traffic deaths in the United States last year occurred on rural roads, though only about 23 percent of the population lives in rural areas. Why? It seems that drivers are more likely to be traveling at high rates of speed in rural areas and those roadways are often not as well engineered as those in the city. Further, drunk driving is more common in rural areas and seat belts are worn less frequently. Finally, it takes emergency workers more time to reach rural accident locations.

Next logical question: What do we do about it? South Carolina – which posted the highest percentage of rural traffic deaths last year – is focusing on rumble strips, grooves and raised patterns to alert drivers they may be leaving the pavement. In Montana, engineers are adding under- and overpasses to allow animals a clear path to cross the roads. Other states are starting new safety campaigns to encourage the use of seat belts. We offer another suggestion: flying cars.

[Source: USA Today]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 53 Comments
      huxleydm
      • 5 Years Ago
      The inevitable question: "What do we do about it?" Here is message the government needs to get: Don't do anything about it!! Stop trying to protect us! Leave us some liberty, please!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I live in SC and know how dangerous these narrow roads are. In the last week I have had two incidents where oncoming drivers came into my lane. Besides coming at me at more than sixty MPH (in a forty-five MPH zone), they were obviously distracted by something. Drivers in SC tend to do their own thing when it comes to driving. They aren't going to be told to buckle up, stop drinking and driving, and they love to speed. The bigger the truck, the braver they are.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Regardless of the study, I'll take my chances in the rural lanes. It's easier to dodge an oncoming car than it is to dodge a bullet in a drive-by.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You are so right Roxy. I have driven in LA, DC, Chicago & Boston, and South Carolina has the worst drivers anywhere! Traffic rules are treated as "suggestions". Because it's so bad here, I pay 3 times as much for insurance than I used to pay before we moved here. And I have not had an accident in over 30 years! (and that one was only a fender bender).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Polly: this just shows the difference between the US and Europe.

        In the UK, all roads outside of built-up areas are 60 mph, unless they have a central reservation, in which case they're 70 mph.

        These roads are often only as wide as two cars, which is to say, narrower than half of the equivalent US road.

        Add to that they're not normally straight. If they're straight, they follow a Roman road. Otherwise they follow the route the cows took to the river; or some arbitrary delineation of property, resulting in right angles every few hundred meters.

        I used to feel safe in the UK driving these roads at between 50 and 70 mph at night with no moon and damp conditions.

        In the US, I feel nervous doing 45 mph (the posted limit) during daytime with the baking hot Arizona sun.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes Mike, we in the cities are all criminals and our favorite pastime is to shoot at each other, just like how everybody in the countryside is an inbred moron.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Guess I'm the only one relieved to see that in this one small way, we're still allowing natural selection to cull the herd.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If they're only coming at you going 60 mph then you're better than many. I've travelled many two lane blacktops that were posted 70 mph which means people are really doing 75, all of them one false twitch from a massive head-on. I've often wondered how they even allow that to continue as it's no wonder they kill people at an alarming rate on those rural roads.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'd be more scared of getting shot in the country, by errant hunters, than in the city. (And I live in "dangerous" Washington DC.)
        • 5 Years Ago
        I, too, live in SC and I agree that our rural roads are among the most dangerous in the nation. Many of them are very narrow, barely wide enough for 2 pickups to pass each other. And there are a LOT of pickups in SC! I also agree about the speed, lack of wearing seatbelts and drunkeness behind the wheel. This is why our insurance rates are so high.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's because rednecks are more stuped than the rest of us
        • 5 Years Ago
        rural doesn't mean redneck.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As a Minnesota student (and having been out in rural Minnesota) from the state of Michigan, this isn't really a surprise. The drive between school and home (aka rural Wisconsin) at night is rather frightening at times.
      Janis
      • 5 Years Ago
      I too live in a very rural area of Texas population 12,000-our town has 3 stoplights and one flashing yield. The road I live on is a 45 mph limit and I see at least 5 Highway patrol officers running down our road each day, and at least 10 city cop cars going by. If there is a traffic stop, it takes 3 cop cars to take care of it.
      ddastars2
      • 5 Years Ago
      Actually they are somewhat wrong in this post. Yes these kind of roads are dangerous, but even MORE so, are gravel roads. A lot of times it is like riding a bicycle on black ice, easy to burn out, and hard to pull out of and correct. You really need to slow down when taking corners on these kinds of roads.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Imagine drunk drivers in flying cars. Imagine the mid-air collisions.
      Dick Swift
      • 5 Years Ago
      In the La Crosse, WI area...kids driving drunk on rural roads leads to 3am rollovers with death frequent. 4 at a time, occasionally. Drinking is surely the leading cause of highway deaths...and city as well. In Wisconsin you can have 4 DUIs before being jailed. A week in jail would be fitting for a first DUI...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ah yes, flying cars - so fatigued, texting, drunk drivers can plow into other flying cars at extremely high rates of speed.

      Automated cars are the only real way to substantially reduce fatalities and accidents, IMHO.

      Will it happen? Not likely.
      c3momma
      • 5 Years Ago
      The real problem is texting while driving.
      Try these Apps which you download to your phone .
      They shut down texting ability when you are moving via GPS tracking - also can be used to locate your teenagers!

      textecution.com

      drivesafe.ly
      • 5 Years Ago
      You guys read my mind: Flying cars.


      I have said it many times before, I am still waiting for mine.

      Seems very logical, I remember living in Western Australia for a while, which has many stretches of rural highway, and reading a story similar to this. The main causes were usually Alcohol, speeding and lack of seat belts. Drag racing in rural highways with one lane each way was also rampant.
      I remember that Kangaroos were also a factor, which is why so many cars had my favorite accessory, a 'Roo Bar.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree man, we were promised flying cars by the year 2000 in the 80s.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You will never see flying cars until we all live underground.
      • 5 Years Ago
      We need a massive driver reeducation in this country. Most accidents are caused by people just making stupid mistakes that are easily avoidable.
        • 5 Years Ago
        *past
        • 5 Years Ago
        So true.

        Just yesterday I was on the 5 North just passed Chula Vista when I saw a teenage girl in a 135i convertible texting with one hand and drinking a starbucks coffee with the other. I couldn't believe how stupid, careless and dangerous her behavior was.
        Not surprisingly, within two minutes she almost caused an accident with two cars since she was merging into a left lane without even noticing as another driver was merging into the same lane. Luckily the other driver was attentive.

        She looked pretty scared and surprised. What did she do next? She picked up her phone and started talking on it. Im guessing the call was along the lines of:

        "OMGZZZ!!! I like totally almost crashed hehe. It was like, soo scurry!"
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