Speeding and Driver Inattention Increases Risks of Rural Roadway Car Accidents in North Carolina, South Carolina

A recent analysis of rural roads in South Carolina indicates that low shoulders on winding and curvy roads with very few patrolmen make them the most dangerous to travel on.

It goes without saying that speeding, driver inattention or driving under the influence on rural roads only heightens the risk of a car accident in Hickory or elsewhere in the state.
Gastonia car accident attorneys know that only 30 percent of roadways in North Carolina are considered interstates, so not traveling on rural roadways is nearly impossible.
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Rural roads are typically narrower, may not be marked with edge lines and offer little or no overhead lighting, which can make driving at night particularly dangerous, especially when traveling at a higher rate of speed.

The State recently reported that motorists in Lee County are the most at risk of being killed in a car accident when taking into account vehicle miles driven. In 2009, 7 percent of traffic fatalities in South Carolina occurred in Lee, Clarendon, McCormick, Marlboro and Williamsburg counties, which only accounted for 3 percent of the vehicle miles driven statewide. Lee County reported 4.5 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles driven which was more than twice as much as the entire state’s fatality rate reported at 2.

Sumter, Greenwood and Marlboro were the counties that motorists were most likely to be injured in a car accident while Calhoun County motorists were the least likely to be involved in a car accident. The analysis did provide evidence that the more populated a county was the higher the risk of a car accident with more motorists sharing the roadways.

It is clear that the more motorists drive under the influence, speed, fail to wear a seat belt or drive distracted the more risk they are of being involved in an accident, but that goes for any roadway, not just those stringing along through rural areas.

We posted previously on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog that 79 percent of motorists polled feel safe when driving on rural interstates. So much so, that they begin to relax and maybe attempt more risky behaviors like checking their email while they drive or speed to get to their destination a little faster on a less-populated roadway. These behaviors often lead to severe crashes and result in severe injury or death.

“The majority of accidents occur within seven miles of a person’s home,” said Tom Crosby of AAA Carolinas. “People who live on rural roads tend to be so familiar with them they tend to relax their attention. Their familiarity breeds that lack of alertness you might have on an unfamiliar road.”

Driver Sense offers these tips to remember when traveling on rural roadways:

  • Fill your gas tank before you leave the big city. Running out of gas can put you in danger of a roadside accident.
  • Slow your speed, especially young drivers who think empty roadways are enticing for driving a little faster.
  • Be prepared for obstacles like debris in the roadway or critters that are frantically crossing the roadway to escape being hit.
  • Use extra caution on rural roads which have lots of bends, curves, dips, hills and other dangerous driving patterns that make it difficult to maintain control.
  • Use high beams at night to make vision clearer. Always switch from high beam to low beam when you see oncoming headlights approaching.

If you or a family member has been injured or killed in a rural roadway car accident in North or South Carolina, contact the experienced injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices, P.A for advice about your rights. Call for a free appointment at 1-800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

AAA: S.C.’s most deadly roads are rural, by Bruce Smith, The Associated Press posted in The State

Safe Driving on Rural Roads, by Kevin Fleming, Driver Sense

Feds Look to Reduce Distracted Driving Accidents in North Carolina, South Carolina, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, July 16, 2011

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