The People’s Lawyer

What’s safer? Rural roads or those in town?

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Sometimes you get a choice of taking a route through town or another through the countryside. Maybe, like many people, you make your decisions on speed or the views along the way, but have you ever thought about basing it on safety?

A lot of people feel safer on rural roads because there’s less traffic and less that a driver has to keep in mind at every corner. But, this can be very deceptive. Here’s what you need to know:

Studies show that rural roads are more dangerous

This might seem odd given the fact that there are so many more vehicles on an urban route. Surely all those things would mean towns and cities have higher accident risks? Yet, it isn’t so.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has been comparing crash statistics for urban versus rural areas for years. They have found that almost half of all fatal crashes occur on rural roads. This is despite the number of drivers living in urban areas being four times as high as those living rurally and the total number of vehicle miles driven on urban roads being twice as high as those driven in rural areas.

What is it that makes rural roads so high-risk?

The first factor is speed. If you crash in an urban area, you are probably not going more than 30 mph on many of those roads. If you crash on a rural road, you could be going over twice as fast because of the much higher speed limits. 

The faster you go, the greater the damage will likely be if you crash. So, while there can certainly be a lot of crashes in urban areas, the vast majority result in minor injuries or perhaps just vehicle damage. The other main factor is the time taken to reach a hospital. If you crash in town, an ambulance can usually get you to medical help very quickly. That will take a lot longer if you are out in the middle of nowhere.

Wherever you crash, understanding how to claim compensation will be crucial to give yourself the best chance of recovery.