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Driving on rural roads can be dangerous

Driving on rural roads is different than driving in the city. It may seem safer because there are fewer vehicles, but there are other hazards that motorists must be aware of.

If you live in a rural area or travel frequently on the roads, there are certain safety tips that you should be aware of.

Facts and stats about accidents on rural roads

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, almost 50% of fatal crashes occur on rural roads, despite the fact that only 30% of miles traveled happen on those roads and only 19% of the country’s population lives rurally. The majority of fatal crashes occur in minivans and cars and involve single vehicles. Most crashes occur on collector roads.

Safe driving tips

When driving on rural roads, it can be easy to let your mind wander. However, according to the Texas Department of Insurance, staying alert is important because there is a greater chance you may encounter animals, slow-moving machinery or other obstacles. If you do come across an animal on the road, stop until it crosses. If the animal is on the side, then pass it slowly in the event it juts out in front of you.

Speeding can be an issue in rural areas. Follow the posted limits and only pass other vehicles when it is safe to do so. Be aware that some roads may have poor or disrupted surfaces, and they may be narrower than other roads.

Driving in winter conditions presents additional challenges. Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter driving. Drive slower, be aware of icy patches and snowdrifts and leave extra room between you and other vehicles.