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How to Stay Safe on Rural Roads in Georgia

By Butler Prather LLP on August 26, 2019

Much of the focus of serious vehicle accidents is on incidents that happen in urban areas. However, it is important to understand that severe car accidents occur in the rural areas of Georgia on a regular basis. Rural roads and areas present many of the same dangers as other areas, but they also have particular hazards not present anywhere else.

How to Stay Safe on Rural Roads in Georgia

What we know about Georgia rural accidents

When we look at the latest data available from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia, we see that there were nearly 400,000 total crashes for the latest reporting year. Out of those, there were almost 20,000 serious injuries and 1,554 fatalities.

However, we want to look at the break down of where these fatalities occurred. There was a total of:

  • 603 rural crash fatalities
  • 951 urban crash fatalities

The breakdown shows that there are many more rural fatal crashes than most people expect. Some of the most common injuries we see in the aftermath of a rural vehicle crash include:

  • Broken and dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Concussions

What are rural roads dangerous?

According to an NPR report, “drivers on rural roads die at a rate 2.5 times higher per mile traveled than on urban highways.”

The report goes on to say that there are many reasons for the higher casualty rate.

  • Drivers tend to operate at higher speeds on rural roads.
  • Driving without seat belts at higher rates.
  • Driver on rural road drive and die drunk.
  • There are more hazards on rural roads: deer, downed trees, broken down vehicles.
  • Drivers injured will not receive medical care as quickly after a crash.
  • Fatigued drivers paying less attention.
  • Tractors and other slow-moving farm equipment are present on roadways.
  • Outdated design and layout of rural roads are major factors in crashes.
  • Poor weather tends to affect rural roads more than urban roads.

How to stay safe on rural roads in Georgia

Staying safe when driving on rural Georgia roads revolves around diligence. Follow the basic safety precautions that you would on any other roadway: buckle your seat belt and do not operate above the speed limit. Never drive while intoxicated or while on drugs.

Being on a rural road can make it seem like there are no obstacles and make it tempting to check electronic devices. Rural roads are unpredictable, and you must stay focused. If you need to send a text message or read your email, pull into a safe area, and stop before doing so.

If you are approaching a slow-moving vehicle or a tractor, be patient and do not pass them unless you are legally allowed to do so. Many rural roads are two lanes and passing requires you to enter into the oncoming traffic lane. Be aware that it is harder to judge distance at night when passing. Do not drive fatigued. If you feel like you could fall asleep at the wheel, pull over to a safe place and consider stopping at a hotel for the evening.

Before you take a trip that requires you to pass through rural areas, review your route and ensure you know exactly where you are going. Being lost in an unfamiliar area can lead to driver inattentiveness.

Posted in: Car Accidents

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