Roughly 44% of Indiana is rural, and another 35% is a mixture of urban/rural settings. However, only 38% of Hoosiers live in these two areas, and roughly 2/3 of Indiana’s land area is made up of farmland. Therefore, once you get out of the state’s urban centers, you’ll see a lot of land, and very few people. To drivers, this might represent unique driving risks with which you might not be readily familiar. Here’s some tips to keep in mind when you get out of town.
Just because there aren’t other cars around doesn’t mean you don’t face rural driving risks. That’s why you have to be careful when you drive in rural areas.
Safety Risks in Rural Areas
You might think the open road is relatively safe. You might even feel the urge to open the throttle and cruise. Not so fast. There are plenty of driving risks on rural roads that might lead to an accident.
• Rapid curves and blind spots in roadways might disrupt a driver’s line of sight. There are higher risks of collisions in these areas.
• In periods of severe weather, rural roadways tend to freeze, wash out or become littered with debris much easier than those in urban areas.
• Wildlife can easily stray onto roadways. Indiana records more than 14,000 accidents each year in which a driver collides with a deer.
• A lack of lighting in these areas can easily make visibility difficult. Without stoplights, you might have only the light from your headlamps to protect you.
• Distances between towns might make it harder for you to get cell service, or mean you have to wait a while for help in case a problem occurs.
Risks like these are why you must take additional precautions on the road, regardless of whether you drive in the middle of the day or late at night.
• Slow down in all curves, especially on slick roadways, and always obey the speed limits.
• Use your lights and wipers during all periods of severe weather.
• Keep your cell phone near you (but don’t use it while driving) to call for help if necessary.
• If you have a breakdown, stay with the car until help arrives. Don’t wander away, and don’t accept a ride unless it is from law enforcement.
• Always proceed with caution at night, or in the dawn or dusk hours. These are some of the prime times that deer and other wildlife might wander into the road.
Car insurance can help you in case you have a problem. Most policies can cover damage from collisions, and help you with roadside assistance services in case of a breakdown. However, you should do what you can to prevent these accidents in the first place. Drivers who don’t have accident claims tend to have lower costs on their policies.