Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC
You may think the most severe car accidents occur in metropolitan areas where drivers travel on bustling highways and crowded city streets. However, you may be surprised to learn that nearly 70% of Ohio’s fatal accidents each year happen in rural areas.
In this article, we’ll explore the distinct dangers of driving on country roads versus those in cities, some ways to stay safe, and what to expect if a rural car accident happens to you.
Are Rural Car Accidents More Dangerous?
Some of the unique hazards of driving on rural roads in Ohio include:
- Narrow road width preventing safe passing
- No shoulders or guardrails
- Obstacles like farm equipment and natural debris such as trees or boulders
- Lack of signage indicating speed limits, blind spots, or sharp curves
- Unpaved/gravel road surface
- Poorly maintained roads
In addition, the remote location of some Ohio roads can make it difficult for emergency responders to reach you quickly in the event of an accident.
Crashes caused by deer and other wildlife are among the biggest causes of accidents on country roads. Fall and winter are the peak seasons for deer-related crashes — since 2016, the Ohio State Highway Patrol has recorded over 100,000 deer-related crashes in Ohio.
Colliding with a deer can total your car and potentially cause injuries; if you swerve and hit another car, you can be liable for the damage.
Am I in a Rural County?
If you do most of your driving in rural areas, you’re more likely to encounter the hazards listed above. Some rural counties in Ohio include:
Staying Safe on Country Roads
While you face some unique risks when driving on country roads in Ohio, there are things you can do to help stay safe. Here are some tips:
- Always wear your seatbelt and watch your speed, especially on winding roads.
- Keep plenty of distance between your vehicle and others, especially slow-moving obstacles such as farm equipment or a horse and buggy.
- Avoid sharp turns or slamming on your brakes when driving on a gravel road to prevent skidding.
- Stay aware of changing road conditions such as snow or heavy wind.
- Deer tend to be most active October through December and at dawn and dusk – stay especially cautious during these times.
- If a collision with a deer is unavoidable, firmly apply your brakes but don’t swerve.
How Rural Car Accidents Affect Your Insurance
Although residing in a rural area might mean you pay a lower auto insurance premium than city drivers, getting into an accident on a rural road can also be costly.
Recent AAA data shows the average insurance claim for a deer-vehicle collision in Ohio was nearly $4,000. If you crash in a remote area and have injuries that require a long ambulance ride or medical airlift, your insurance may not cover all your expenses.
Comprehensive insurance covers many situations, including animal collisions, while collision insurance can cover you if you hit another vehicle or cause property damage in an accident. Whether your accident is caused by a negligent driver or a poorly maintained roadway, ask your insurer about the specific details of your policy if you have questions about other particular situations or contact a lawyer for help.
Contact KNR for Help
Although only about 20% of Americans live in rural areas, almost half of crash deaths occur on country roads. If you are in a car accident on a country road, it’s wise to seek legal representation in your area. This can help ensure the insurance process goes smoothly, your losses are properly documented, and any settlement offer meets your long-term financial needs.
Kisling, Nestico & Redick serves rural Ohio and can help with your case. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.