It may seem intuitive to believe that rural roads are safer for drivers than congested urban ones. However, in this case, instinct is wrong. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that the fatality rate on rural roads is double that of urban roads.
Kentucky’s country lanes are no exception. In fact, according to 89.3 WFPL News, the state’s rural pathways are deadlier than those of other states. There are reasons why pastoral highways are more dangerous in general regardless of location.
There is a different mindset
The very lack of heavy traffic that an individual might think would result in greater safety actually promotes dangerous behaviors. Those navigating remote roads tend to relax due to a false sense of security and perform actions they would avoid in a city such as foregoing seatbelts. They may feel freer to break road rules, use their phones, consume alcohol or participate in other distracting activities.
Nature is an unexpected danger
The aforementioned relaxed attitude may also lead to drivers simply not paying as much attention to the road. This raises the likelihood of them colliding with a deer or rabbit that suddenly sprints in front of them or wrecking while trying to avoid hitting them at the last second. The random appearance of wildlife may be especially startling to those unused to seeing wild animals, slowing their reaction time.
Speed limits are higher
This combined with the fact that motor operators often exceed the limit in rural areas (again due to that false sense of security and a decreased police presence) leads to more wrecks. The higher speeds also mean that crashes may be more severe.
Focusing on the road and practicing the same precautions on rural roads as they would on urban ones may save drivers’ lives.