North Carolina residents who drive more on city roads than on rural roads may automatically assume that the latter, having much less traffic, are safer. This can be a bad, even fatal, mistake as many drivers let their guard down in the countryside.

It should be remembered that rural roads have narrower lanes and shoulders, which are often connected with head-on collisions and with crashes where drivers run off the road. Drivers who pass a vehicle on a narrow road are taking a considerable risk. Rural roads also tend to have few lights, and reduced visibility makes a crash more likely. Then, there is the presence of wildlife, which can take some by surprise.

Even worse are the drivers who believe that they can break the law since there are fewer police officers in rural areas. Safety-minded drivers, then, can become the victim of drivers who are speeding, drinking while driving or carelessly straddling both lanes of a two-lane road.

Other drivers may fail to wear their seat belt in rustic areas, making whatever injuries they suffer in a crash more severe. Crash victims have a greater chance of dying, too, since it will take longer for them to be transported to a hospital. All of this shows just how important defensive driving is in the countryside.

No matter where they occur, motor vehicle accidents are usually the result of negligence on the part of one or more drivers. Those who were injured may be left with mounting medical bills, vehicle repair costs and perhaps even a disability that keeps them from working. They may be compensated through a personal injury claim, but they must not be even 1% at fault; otherwise, under this state’s contributory negligence rule, they won’t recover damages. A lawyer may evaluate their case.