A recent study conducted by the insurance giant, Esurance, looked at the states that had the most dangerous drivers. The news is not good for West Virginia, which placed as the eighth most dangerous on the list. The study showed that not only is the state one of the most dangerous, but that a significant number of rural and country roads may be to blame.
The finding is interesting, as people tend to think of back roads as being safer. However, there is not the same kind of law enforcement on rural roads that there is on city streets. That means more reckless, negligent, and drunk drivers.
Additionally, speed limits are typically higher, and there is limited lighting. In West Virginia particularly, there is also a good chance that wildlife or livestock will wander into the middle of a country road. Complicating this matter is the fact that streets typically do not have a shoulder that allows drivers to pull over.
“While this may come as a shock to some drivers, it is really not that surprising,” says Tim Miley of The Miley Legal Group. “Rural roads are simply more dangerous than those in the middle of urban centers. The stats though, show that all motorists need to drive more carefully, no matter what type of road they are on.”
Indeed, they do. According to the study, between the years 2013 and 2017, there was a 13 percent increase of traffic-related fatalities around the country. The years 2016 and 2017 both saw a slight decline in the number of deaths due to car crashes, but there was still a vast difference between 2013 and 2017. In 2013, there were 4,000 more deaths than in 2017.
Many of those fatalities happened right here in West Virginia. Twenty-eight percent of those deaths were due to speeding, while 13 percent were caused by distracted driving.
Although those statistics are alarming, West Virginia has actually seen improvement throughout the years. Between the years of 2013 and 2017, there was a 6.9 percent decline in traffic-related deaths. That places it sixth on the list of the states that have improved the most. Still, West Virginia has a long way to go before it becomes safer for drivers.