For travelers on Alabama’s rural roads, statistics show that these highways and byways are consistently some of the most dangerous roads in the state. When considering the dangers of traveling Alabama’s rural roads, it is important to remember that no one factor is the consistent cause of these roadside tragedies. Indeed, a litany of reasons is at the core of this alarming trend, and these are the top five dangers to be found on the state’s country roadways.
Top 5 Dangers on Alabama’s Rural Roads
While it may seem counter intuitive that the bulk of deadly accidents occur on lonely country roads than the crowded metropolitan streets of Alabama’s largest cities, but the fact remains that these roads share a number of factors that heighten the risk of driving on them. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the majority of Alabama auto accidents occur in urban areas, the bulk of fatalities, 56%, happen on country roads.
Any accident can be a jarring personal and financial cataclysm, and when that accident results in fatalities, it can have a shattering impact on you, your family, friends, and loved ones. Knowing what the risks are is a first step in avoiding these dangerous pitfalls.
Drunk and Disabled Driving
Unfortunately, the scourge of drunk driving is a leading cause of auto fatalities on Alabama’s rural stretches. Owing to fewer cultural activities and opportunities, residents tend to congregate at such venues as bars, taverns, and restaurants, which is the reason why alcohol plays an outsized influence on county road accidents. Additionally, long stretches of road and an overtaxed sheriff department means that many of these impaired drivers are not taken off the road before a tragedy happens.
As such, breaking the cultural acceptance of drunk driving with rigorous patrolling, enforcement of DUI laws and tough court penalties is seen as one way to switch the narrative on drunk driving and thus lowering rates of fatalities.
Twisty Roads and Unexpected Turns
Unlike city streets and urban thoroughfares, country roads tend to have narrower lanes, sharper curves, steeper hills, and less visibility around each of these factors. While a metropolitan area typically has a distinct flow and ebb that is easily anticipated and accounted for by drivers, rural roads and county streets offer more surprises to the unwary driver. Moreover, owing to the lack of traffic, many country drivers become too relaxed when it comes to remaining alert to roadside dangers. Familiarity can breed a lack of concentration in drivers as they effectively drive on autopilot from Point A to Point B, and this tendency can lead to accidents and fatalities on our state rural roadways. Additionally, owing toi the above road conditions, those accidents that do occur tend to be far more severe than their urban accident counterpart.
Low Population Equals Low Tax Base
Rural counties, relative to those counties known for their urban centers, have a much lower population, so they also have a correspondingly lower tax base that can be used to help improve Alabama’s rural roads. Simply states, the cost to adequately post signage and improve road conditions cost money, and counties without the wherewithal to raise such funds means that county roads go without any significant improvements that might help ameliorate the injuries and fatalities on rural roads throughout the state. Many Alabama jurisdictions are looking towards the federal Department of Transportation to help with matching funds to help close this funding gap while making Alabama’s residents safer out on the road.
Starry Nights and Poor Visibility
Another factor that influences the rate of accidents on rural roads is the lack of lighting. Consider that the street lights that illuminate our city roads rarely extend past the city limits, so the aforementioned curvy, narrow, and twisty roads are also clocked in a blanket of darkness that makes driving even more dangerous. Moreover, driver blindness, caused by another driver’s headlights can impede vision to such an extent that accidents occur as a result.
Two-Lane Roads and the Danger of Collisions
Unlike city and urban milieus, which feature lower speed limits, divided highways, and quicker access to medical response teams in the event of an accident, most county and rural roads are two lane affairs that heighten the risk of head-on accidents should a driver make a mistake or lose concentration for even a fraction of a second. When possible, state and county officials work to improve these county lanes by widening the lanes and posting signage designed to give drivers warning about potential dangerous driving landscapes ahead of their vehicle.
Commercial Mixed Use Roads
Although we tend to think of rural roads as the province of residents, bored teenagers, and the occasional sightseer, the reality is that a great deal of commercial activity traverses these rural routes, and as a result add an additional layer of danger to the roadway. As such, an array of vehicles from slow moving farm tractors to fast moving logging trucks serve to make an already risky route even more so considering the rates of speed, poor visibility, and narrow roads being shares with large commercial trucking concerns.
Call an Accident Attorney You can Trust
Should you or a loved one become involved in a rural accident along Alabama’s myriad of county roads, you will need to speak with an attorney to ensure that your medical and financial needs are met in the case of an injury, or a settlement for your family should the worst occur in the event of a roadside fatality. Car accident lawyers in Mobile are standing by to make sure you get the legal representation you need.