Are Car Accidents More Common in Rural or Urban Areas?

August 24, 2023

Car accident attorneys Alabama

Car crashes are unpredictable—a routine drive could end up being one of the worst experiences of your life, no matter how well you know the route. While car accidents can happen anywhere and at any time, there are certain trends that can help you know what to expect when you’re on the road.

Learn more about accident trends in rural and urban settings, and what they mean for you as a driver. If you or someone you love has been injured in a crash, we’re here to help. Call Hodges Trial Lawyers at 256-826-4129 to set up a consultation now.


Rural Area Statistics and Contributing Factors

Statistics have fluctuated significantly over the years. For decades, rural areas saw the majority of traffic fatalities. However, that trend has recently flipped. In 2021, rural areas accounted for just 40% of traffic accident deaths.

Numerous factors contribute to car accidents in rural areas. In many rural regions, roads are not as well-maintained as urban roads. They often are narrower than urban roads and have less lighting.

This increases the likelihood of an accident, as the roads are naturally more unpredictable and less safe. Furthermore, rural areas have limited emergency response capabilities and less access to medical care. While there is generally an abundance of medical care in urban settings, rural areas may have entire counties served by one small regional hospital.

Speeding is also a significant problem in rural areas. Rural roads usually have higher speed limits, thanks to lower traffic levels that allow for ease of movement. Unfortunately, this is combined with a limited law enforcement presence, so speed limits aren’t strictly enforced.


Statistics and Contributing Factors in Urban Settings

The data shows that roughly 60% of all car accident fatalities occur in urban areas. Car accidents in urban areas can be explained by a number of factors. Traffic is often very congested in urban areas, increasing the likelihood of rear-end collisions and aggressive driving that can further increase the risk of an accident. Urban areas also have substantially higher numbers of bicyclists and pedestrians, both of which are vulnerable to severe or fatal injuries in collisions.

Urban areas tend to see far more road rage than rural settings. If a driver in a rural area doesn’t like how someone else is driving, they can often just pass them and speed away. If a driver is irritating you in an urban area, there is no easy way to get away. This allows annoyance to fester and turn into road rage.


Analyzing the Data—What Does It Mean?

When you see that 40% of fatalities occur in rural areas, it may lead you to think that rural areas are safer than urban areas. However, just looking at raw numbers isn’t enough. Breaking down the numbers into crashes per 100 million miles traveled gives a more balanced look at where accidents are more likely.

In 2021, there were roughly 1.72 crashes per 100 million miles traveled in rural regions. That number was just 1.19 per 100 million miles in urban areas. That means that a rural driver is 44% more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than an urban driver.

It’s also helpful to look at how the population is spread out and how much driving occurs in each area. Currently, roughly 20% of the American population lives in rural areas and 32% of all miles traveled are in rural regions. You would expect fatal traffic deaths to be closer to 20% or 32%, so 40% is significantly higher.

Understanding the risks present in both urban and rural areas can help you take appropriate steps to stay safe and lower your risk of being involved in an accident. Take a few minutes before each drive to check your route and ensure that your phone is charged so you can call for help if needed.


Start Your Car Accident Case with Hodges Trial Lawyers

If you have been injured in a car crash, you could be entitled to compensation from the liable party. Find out now by setting up a consultation with the team at Hodges Trial Lawyers. Give us a call at 256-826-4129 or send us a message online to set up a meeting now.