Whether you’re traveling “over the river and through the woods” to visit your relatives this winter or you just like taking the scenic route on your journeys, it pays to be careful – especially when you’re driving in a rural area.
Wyoming has the dubious distinction of having some of the deadliest highways in the nation, with fatality rates for accident victims much higher than the national average. That’s partially because of the extensive rural areas. Roughly 80% of crash-related deaths in this state occur on rural roads.
Why are rural roads so deadly?
The problem with rural roads isn’t unique to Wyoming. In general, rural car accidents tend to be more deadly no matter what state you happen to be in. That’s largely due to the following:
- Emergency responses are usually delayed. The nearest ambulance crew could be miles and miles away from the scene of a crash, and they may not even be notified right away if there’s a lack of cellphone service in the area. Emergency responders also have to locate the crash, which isn’t always easy when they’re in a remote location. That can delay critical medical services that might otherwise be able to save a victim’s life.
- The nearby medical facilities have limitations. Rural hospitals don’t have all the same equipment that urban hospitals do, and they’re often not equipped to handle serious trauma. Patients may have to endure long transports to better-equipped facilities to get appropriate treatment, and that can lead to tragic results.
- High-speed collisions are more common. Rural areas have significantly fewer law enforcement officers on duty than urban areas, and that seems to encourage some drivers to break all the rules – especially when it comes to speeding. High-speed crashes are significantly more likely to result in serious injuries and fatalities than low-speed wrecks.
If you’re getting ready to do some traveling along a rural highway, be conscious of the hazards. While you can’t control other drivers, you can compensate for the increased danger by staying alert and being cautious. If you are seriously hurt in a wreck or a loved one is killed, however, it’s always best to seek guidance as you explore your legal options.