Auto accidents always need to be taken seriously, but car accidents on rural highways and roadways sometimes deserve additional attention. The dangers of these crashes and the nature of the roadways could make catastrophic and even fatal accidents more likely. That why car crash victims should consider speaking with the Kirkland, WA auto accident attorneys here at Quick Law Group, PLLC.
We’d like to go over some of the basics regarding rural road crashes. Attorneys Matthew Quick and Elizabeth M. Quick can go over these matters in much greater detail during a legal consultation.
National Rural Road Accident Statistics
In 2016, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded 34,439 fatal auto collision that resulted in 37,461 fatalities; 16,736 (48 percent) of those fatal accidents occurred in rural areas. For comparison, 16,558 (48 percent) fatal crashes occurred in urban areas, and 1,145 (3 percent) fatal crashes occurred in unknown or unspecified types of roads.
Washington State Rural Road Collision Statistics
Looking at numbers specific to Washington state, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission recorded 263 fatalities on rural roads in 2015. This is up from 214 rural road crash fatalities the previous year. Washington’s five-year annual average for fatal rural road accidents is 249 based on the most recent data available.
Why Rural Roads Are So Dangerous
There are many reasons why rural roads are so dangerous. This includes:
- Reckless Driving - Since law enforcement is generally less present in rural areas, there is a greater risk of drivers engaging in reckless and potentially deadly behavior behind the wheel.
- Poor Visibility - A lack of lighting and issues with weather can limit visibility while on rural roads. This is why it’s so important to drive cautiously in such places.
- Limited Cellphone Service - Cellphones can be lifesavers if you are in a crash, but rural areas may have limited or no cellphone service. Contacting emergency response crews when they are needed can be challenging.
- Long Emergency Response Times - Even if you contact emergency responders, it will take some time for them to reach you in a rural area. This is because of the distance of the road from a major population center as well as a lack of precise road markers to help pinpoint the accident’s location.
Potential Causes of Rural Road Crashes
Some common causes of rural road crashes include:
- Speeding - Speeding is a common reckless behavior, particularly on rural roads. The NHTSA estimated that speeding played a role in 27 percent of fatal crashes in 2016.
- Drunk Driving - Drunk driving impairs your decision-making abilities and coordination, making crashes far more likely.
- Objects in the Road - Whether it’s livestock or wild animals in the road or debris (e.g., tires, tree limbs), objects in the road can increase the risk of collisions.
- Bad Weather - Rain, snow, fog, and high winds can make controlling your vehicle difficult. These weather conditions can also severely impact visibility.
- Poor Road Conditions - Rural roads are not always maintained as often as they should be, which could result in potholes and other bad conditions that make safe driving difficult.
Who Is Liable in These Kinds of Collisions?
Liability in rural road accidents can vary depending on the nature of the collision. In some cases, another motorist may be liable for a crash. In others, road authorities or other parties may be accountable. That’s why it’s so important to speak with skilled attorneys about your accident. We can examine the evidence and let you know if you have a case that’s worth pursuing.
Contact Our Team of Auto Accident Lawyers
For more information about your legal rights and options following a serious vehicle crash, we encourage you to contact our experienced auto accident and injury lawyers. The attorneys of Quick Law Group, PLLC are here to help. You can reach our legal office by phone at (425) 576-8150.