For many travelers driving in the United States for the first time, rural roads can be unfamiliar territory, so it’s important to know that these roads are not as safe as they look. Though there may be less traffic, they present the following difficulties.

First are the narrow lanes and shoulders, which raise the risk for head-on collisions, especially if drivers are being inattentive and letting their vehicle drift out of its lane. Narrow two-lane roads are often linked to run-off road crashes, too. Second, drivers may encounter wildlife or animals from nearby homes. Third, they may find it hard to travel at night due to the lack of street lights in rural areas.

Drivers themselves pose a threat to one another on rural roads because they may use the lack of traffic or police presence as an excuse to act unsafely. For instance, they may remove their seat belt, go over the speed limit, be negligent about keeping their vehicle in its lane, and even drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Rural areas are far from hospitals and medical centers, so those who crash may not have their injuries tended to right away.

At the very least, drivers must be defensive on rural roads. They must put away distractions and always assume that other drivers will do what is unsafe.

Unfortunately, even safe drivers get in crashes because of the negligence or recklessness of others. Such crashes may form the basis for a personal injury case if certain conditions are met. Victims, keeping in mind that New York and other states are no-fault states, may want to see a lawyer about their options. The lawyer may determine that victims can file a third-party insurance claim and might even hire third parties, such as crash investigators, to strengthen the claim before negotiations ensue.