California’s Dangerous Rural Roads

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that while the pandemic caused Americans to drive less in 2020, statistics show increased crash fatalities. The NHTSA also found that accidents in California occur at higher percentages than in other states.

Many of California’s car accidents happen on rural roadways and there are many reasons why these roads are dangerous. Below are some of the hazards of rural road conditions. If you take these roads, it’s essential to know this information because it will help you seek damages if you are injured.

Rural Road Dangers

City streets pose inherent dangers. The sheer amount of distractions – cyclists, pedestrians, and cars switching lanes – can contribute to car accidents. Rural roads, although not as populated, pose their own dangers.

  • Decreased Law Enforcement Presence – Some drivers may feel encouraged to speed or drive more recklessly than usual if they know the police won’t stop them.
  • Decreased Visibility – A driver’s visibility is reduced because there aren’t many streetlights. Natural conditions such as fog or dirt can also lower visibility which increases the risk for collisions.
  • Poor Road Maintenance – Rural roads present different challenges for vehicles. There may be more potholes and cracks that a driver must avoid. Road signs may also be missing, increasing the chances that a driver might stop short, reverse when they aren’t supposed to, or make quick turns.
  • Spotty Cell Phone Service – Cell phone coverage is not as strong in rural areas. That means that contacting help in the event of an emergency could be trying.
  • Longer Emergency Response Time – If you successfully contact emergency services, there may be a longer wait time for help to arrive. These rural roads can be far from populated centers, which increases the length of time emergency vehicles need to drive. Plus, low visibility and other factors may also increase travel times.

With all these aspects of rural road dangers, negligent drivers put themselves and others at risk. Some common causes of rural accidents include:

  • Speeding – More people tend to speed on rural roads due to the lack of law enforcement and posted speed limit signs. This can be dangerous as drivers may not be prepared for sharp turns that require them to slow down.
  • Reckless driving – Reckless driving is hazardous on narrow rural roads, many of which lack shoulders or guardrails and have unpredictable curves.
  • Driving While Intoxicated – Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs slows response times.
  • Debris – Rural roads have more cracks and potholes than city streets. There can be tree limbs, trash, and other objects on the road that haven’t been cleared.
  • Bad weather – Rain, wind, fog, and ice all contribute to hazardous driving conditions. Recent wildfires have also created heavy smoke that can impact driving conditions.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

An experienced auto accident attorney like Dan Rose Law can help if you’ve been involved in a rural car accident. You can contact our attorneys at 415-946-8900 or at Dan Rose Law to schedule a free consultation.