Driving Rural Minnesota Roads

If you think that most motor vehicle accidents are attributed to rush hour congestion in the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul, think again! Rural country roads are far more dangerous accounting for nearly 70% of all on-road fatalities in Minnesota each year according the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. In fact, a comparison of vehicle accident figures in urban areas vs. rural areas in Minnesota shows that the fatality rate on country roads is almost 2.4 times higher for every mile driven than on urban highways.

What makes rural highways and roads so dangerous?

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety lists many factors why rural communities absorb most of the Minnesota’s traffic fatalities:

The wide expanse of land all around and the natural scenery often proves too distracting for drivers. Furthermore, opposite direction traffic is rarely separated on rural highways which increases the risk of head on collisions. Always be aware of your surroundings.

What can you do to be safe on rural roads?

Speed is usually a contributing factor to fatalities in rural crashes. To be safer on rural highways, do not go above the posted speed limit. Follow the golden rule that you should be able to stop within the distance that you can see ahead. If the road is narrow and there is no central white line, make that half the distance you can see ahead.

Farming Vehicle Accidents in Minnesota

Slow moving farm vehicles are a common sight on rural roads along with trailers, trucks, and other large automobiles. It is best to maintain a safe following distance from these vehicles. If you see a large vehicle coming head on at you, pull over to give it enough room to pass. Remember that operators of farming vehicles such as tractors and harvesters often wear ear defenders, so they will not hear no matter how much you honk. Trying to overtake these vehicles at high speed can be a huge mistake. Be patient and give them the room they need!

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