The National Association of Counties reported this week that more Americans are killed on rural roads than on crowded urban expressways, even though there’s less traffic out in the country. The D-O-T’s Scott Falb keeps crash numbers and says the worst are the lonely gravel roads.He says many don’t have stop signs, and only 50-100 cars a day, so drivers don’t expect traffic and can be surprised by it. Falb says the rural roads are built higher in the center so rainwater will drain off, and that can make a driver stick to the center of the road, setting up a head-on crash.Falb says there’s a perception that more highway deaths take place on urban freeways because more are witnessed and reported, and there’s video coverage of multiple-car accidents.In the country there are more single-vehicle crashes. Falb says another factor in rural-road fatalities is that the crash takes place far from rescue and especially in late-night alcohol-related crashes, a driver may not be found till daylight, or even several days. Falb says one thing Iowa’s doing to handle the problem is building more four-lane expressways between cities that are centers of trade and industry, so heavier traffic will be going on the paved, divided roads. Rural leaders say roads owned by local governments don’t get a fair share of federal highway funding.
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