BOISE – Next week is Rural Road Safety Awareness Week, a reminder from AAA and its traffic safety partners to drive carefully, even in wide-open spaces away from heavy traffic.
“According to the Federal Highway Administration, about a third of all vehicle miles are traveled on rural roads, yet they represent nearly half of all crash deaths. Emergency services may have a hard time reaching crash victims in some remote areas, which further underscores the need for caution,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “Even if there aren’t a lot of other cars on the road, you can never take a break from safety.”
Here are some of AAA’s safety reminders for rural roads:
- Stay alert. Lighting conditions, signage, and road markings are different in rural areas, and winding roads are common. Slow down, especially at night.
- Remember that some wildlife, such as deer, travel in groups of two or three. If you’ve seen one, you may be close to another.
- Stay on the road. Many fatal crashes on rural roads involve a single vehicle that overturned or that departed the road and struck a fixed object, such as a rock or tree.
- Share your route – cell service may be limited in some areas.
- Watch for blind intersections.
- Anticipate the presence of farm equipment (tractors, combines and ATVs) and free-range cattle.
- Always wear your seat belt.
“In rural settings, a combination glass breaker/seat belt cutter could be an incredibly useful tool, and the importance of a good emergency kit and basic tools cannot be overstated,” Conde said. “It’s fun to take the road less traveled – but doing so requires an engaged driver and a safety mindset.”