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The dangers of driving on rural roads
Timothy Shay

Summer is now in full swing, and you may be itching to leave town for a weekend away. To reach your destination, you may be driving on Illinois’ rural roads. If you are like many people, you probably think that they are safer than roads that are busy and see a lot of traffic. Reports of accidents on main roadways may seem more frequent than for other roads. But the reality is that rural roads are the most dangerous, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Difficulties managing safety issues

Rural roads often fall under the jurisdiction of more than one entity. For example, a road may be a county road, but the road maintenance may fall with the village. It can be difficult to coordinate plans and address safety issues properly due to disagreements over who is responsible. Furthermore, the smaller entities may not always have the funds to fix the safety issue. Villages or small towns may have limited operating budgets and be unable to make large changes to roads that would make them safer.

Rural roads also can have design hazards, such as winding curves, hidden intersections and narrow lanes. Animals are more likely to cross the roadway in rural areas, too. And many rural roads lack streetlights, which makes them dangerous to drive at night.

Random hazards

Hazards on rural roads do not always follow a pattern. On major highways, safety issues are generally easy to pinpoint. For example, when a roadway has issues with rush hour traffic and many accidents have occurred in the same location at the same time, identifying the cause may be easy. On rural roads, though, causation may be less clear. More investigation may be necessary to determine the source of crashes. Yet, here again, lack of funding can get in the way of uncovering the causes and coming up with solutions.

If you find yourself traveling along Illinois’ rural roads this summer, make sure you exercise caution behind the wheel. In the event of an auto accident, an attorney with personal injury experience can help you on the route to recovery.