Big rigs travel urban and interstate highways in large numbers, and they usually reach their destinations safely.
However, over half of the fatal large truck crashes in the U.S. happen on rural roads. What factors cause driving in rural areas to be dangerous for both truckers and ordinary motorists?
The importance of rural roads
Many rural roads connect people to metropolitan areas for family, work and healthcare needs. The rural highway system is also vitally important for the shipment of agricultural products and manufactured goods. The upswing in trade as the result of the North America Free Trade Agreement NAFTA) has increased rural truck traffic. Trucks move commodities from the rural areas where they are produced to urban areas where they are processed or consumed.
Unlike urban centers, rural areas do not have the funds available to maintain roads and bridges properly. There is always a road maintenance backlog. There are long distances between urban areas plus steep grades and blind curves for drivers to contend with. In addition, heavy weather events can wreak havoc on road conditions. There are usually few safety barriers and a greater chance of animals darting across the road than motorists would find in more populated areas. The long hours big rig drivers spend behind the wheel may lead to fatigue and lack of concentration, which can result in a devastating crash.
The injured victim of a truck-car collision on a rural road usually faces a long wait before the arrival of emergency medical personnel, simply because of the remote location of the crash. On a more positive note, multiple parties may share liability for a truck-related collision. If so, the injured victim can expect multiple sources of compensation to cover medical costs, lost wages and more.