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Sach D. Oliver
Sach D. Oliver
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Back Roads Driving

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Be Careful in the Back Roads

I don’t know about you, but I often feel more comfortable and safer on rural roads than in the middle of traffic on a major highway or interstate. My comfort however, may be unfounded. Statistics show that over half of traffic accident deaths occur on rural roads.[1]

This is a shocking fact, considering only 23% of Americans live in what are considered rural areas.[2] What’s more, there are more crashes in urban areas![3] The discrepancy however, is attributable to several factors.

The author cited several factors which lead to 56% of traffic fatalities occurring on rural roads. [4]These include faster driving on rural roads, which are not as well-engineered or maintained as urban highways, more drunken driving, less seat-belt use, and slower delivery of medical care.[5] Mr. Copeland points out that medical emergency response time in Montana averages 80 minutes, while the time for response in Massachusetts averages 15 minutes.[6] Such a drastic difference in time certainly leads to more deaths occurring on rural roads when injuries are critical.

The important fact that the article points out is that, overall, traffic fatalities are on a decline.[7] Moreover, measures are being taken in an effort to reduce rural traffic fatalities. These measures include, wider and straighter roads, rumble strips (including center line rumble strips), drunken driving police units, over and under-crosses for wildlife, and seat belt awareness. Enjoy your rides on the country roads, but remember to be careful and watch out for others.



[1] “More Motorists Die on Rural Roads,” by Larry Copeland, available at http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-10-06-more-die-on-rural-roads_N.htm, (Accessed May 14, 2010).

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.