Car Accidents in Rural Areas: Unique Challenges and Safety Measures

Life in a rural area can be calm and peaceful, giving you the chance to enjoy the feel of a tight-knit community without the hustle and bustle of a city. However, living in a rural area of Connecticut also comes with its own challenges and problems. Car accidents in rural regions can result in worse outcomes than those that occur in the city, which means you need to be especially vigilant while behind the wheel. The NHTSA reports that 40% of fatal crashes are in rural areas, despite the fact that just 20% of Americans live in the countryside. This is a significant disparity.

If you’re involved in a Cheshire automobile crash, it’s time to talk to the personal injury team at The Dodd Law Firm. Give us a call at 475-275-8649 to set up a consultation with our team now.

Larger Area for Emergency Services to Cover

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges presented by rural collisions is the fact that emergency services can be hard to reach. Emergency personnel are generally allocated to regions based on population and the likelihood of collisions. Rural areas have much lower population densities than urban regions, so emergency personnel have to cover more square mileage during their shifts. This results in longer response times when accidents occur, a complication that can be fatal if anyone in the collision has life-threatening injuries. 

A growing number of rural communities are now investing in local emergency services departments to assist with this issue. Satellite medical facilities can reduce response times without a massive increase in expenses.

Less Likely to Have Accident Witnesses

The lower population density of a rural area can be disadvantageous in another way. If a crash is serious and the occupants of the vehicles are unable to call for help, they are dependent on the assistance of bystanders. In the countryside, you’re less likely to be near anyone when you crash. It could be hours before someone drives by, sees your crash, and calls for assistance. This delay in care can lead to tragic outcomes for drivers and passengers. Communities have started using traffic cams and surveillance cams to look for collisions in low-population areas, ensuring that emergency personnel can respond as quickly as possible after an accident.

Inadequate Road Maintenance

Rural areas often get the short end of the stick when it comes to funding for community services, maintenance and upkeep, and other important services. You may find that rural roads are full of potholes, uneven surfaces, and other issues that make driving inherently more dangerous. 

These issues are unlikely to be addressed immediately, simply because fewer people complain about them than they do in urban areas. Additionally, you’re more likely to see pickup trucks and other vehicles meant for rugged conditions in the countryside. Those drivers are less likely to notice potholes and other road flaws since their vehicles glide right over them. It is crucial that rural communities get the funding they need to keep their roads safe and drivable.

Limited Cell Phone Service

Cell phone service has improved a lot in recent decades, with companies expanding their networks rapidly in Cheshire and other communities. However, there are still many rural communities with spotty service. There are some areas that are only served by one carrier, and others that barely have coverage at all. 

When someone crashes and tries to call for help, what happens if their phone can’t even connect to the network? The injured person loses valuable time trying to see if they can force their phone to ping a nearby tower, and that extra time can literally mean the difference between life and death. This issue is likely to continue resolving itself in coming years as cell phone carriers expand their networks to cover the entire United States.

Injured in a Crash? Call The Dodd Law Firm Now

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a car accident, don’t wait any longer to reach out to the team at The Dodd Law Firm. We are committed to helping victims like you pursue fair and full compensation. Plan your next steps now by calling our team of Cheshire attorneys at 475-275-8649 or contacting us online

Beware of Deer on County Roads: Ways to Stay Safe as the Days Are Getting Shorter

The days are growing shorter, and fall is underway. In addition to apple cider and pumpkin patches, fall also means a significant increase in deer crossings on Connecticut roadways. Deer are more active in autumn and more likely to take their chances crossing the road. Unfortunately, these collisions can cause lots of property damage, injuries, and even fatalities.

It’s important to plan ahead so you know how to drive safely and avoid deer collisions. If you’ve been injured in a crash, it may be time to talk to a lawyer. Call The Dodd Law Firm at 475-275-8649 to set up a consultation with our team of Cheshire car accident lawyers.

Expect Deer Crossings to Increase

Accidents involving deer are on the rise in Connecticut, causing local news stations to sound the alarms. Between October and December of 2022, there were 460 crashes on Connecticut roads. That’s the highest it has been in five years.

Deer tend to be most active during dawn and dusk. That’s also when many people tend to be going to work or returning home from work. Knowing that accidents are more likely during this time can allow you to plan your route accordingly and avoid high-risk driving times in and around Cheshire.

How to Protect Yourself

It’s important to ensure you have the proper insurance to cover a deer-related accident. The Connecticut Insurance Department reports that damage caused by an animal strike is covered under the optional comprehensive portion of a policy. Policyholders with liability-only or liability with collision coverage will be unable to recoup compensation after a deer-related collision. If you chose the least expensive insurance option when you signed up for your policy, this is a good time to make sure that it will cover damage caused by deer.

If you can be flexible about when you’re driving, this is the time to take advantage of that. Try to get on the road when the sun is out, rather than being on the road at dawn, dusk, or at nighttime. When you are traveling after dark, use your high beams whenever possible. However, don’t forget to switch to your regular headlights when a vehicle is approaching—you don’t want to cause a car accident while trying to avoid hitting a deer.

What to Do After a Deer-Related Crash

Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, accidents happen. If you do hit a deer or a deer runs into your vehicle, it is important to keep calm and take the right steps to protect yourself and your vehicle. If your vehicle is drivable, move it off the roadway out of the way of other vehicles. Otherwise, you risk another car hitting you if your tail lights are out.

It would be best if you stayed in your vehicle or at least away from the deer. If it’s just injured, it may be unpredictable. Injured animals can lash out and cause further injuries. You may want to notify the local animal control department so they can provide rehabilitative assistance for the deer if that is an option. Report the accident to the Cheshire police so they can clean up the scene and, if necessary, arrange for the removal of the dead animal.

As soon as possible after the accident, take photos of the damage. You may also want to take photos of the crash scene to prove that the damage was caused by an animal collision.

If your vehicle is too damaged to drive, get it towed. From there, you can contact your insurance company to learn more about getting your vehicle repaired and where you can seek an estimate. If your insurance company pushes back against paying out your claim, this may be a good time to talk to an attorney about your options.

Learn More About Your Legal Options—Contact Dodd Law Firm

Have you been hurt in a crash caused by another party’s negligence? If so, it’s time to talk to a lawyer about your options. Car accidents can leave you with significant medical and repair expenses, and it’s important to hold the at-fault party accountable. Call The Dodd Law Firm at 475-275-8649 or get in touch online to set up a consultation.

Car Accidents in School Zones: Legal Responsibilities and Safety Precautions

School zones are often chaotic and full of stop-and-go traffic, especially immediately before and immediately after school. Children aren’t known for their great judgment, and it’s not uncommon to see them run out in front of vehicles in order to get to their parents or follow a friend. That’s why many states, including Connecticut, have laws in place to protect kids from reckless drivers.

If your child has been injured by a careless driver, you could be entitled to compensation. Learn more now by calling The Dodd Law Firm at 203-272-1883.

Connecticut School Zone Laws

Many of the laws drawn up to keep schoolchildren safe focus on safe driving around buses. The Connecticut Department of Transportation indicates that this is a top priority for the state, as over 330,000 students rely on the bus to transport them to school and home safely. When a bus stops and flashes its red lights, the driver may not pass it. This is the case both for vehicles behind the bus and those approaching the bus from the opposite direction. 

Drivers must stop at least ten feet away from the bus while the red lights are flashing. There is an exception—if there is a median or other physical barrier between the bus and oncoming traffic in other lanes, vehicles traveling in the opposite direction do not need to stop.

The state can designate roads next to or near schools as school zones. The speed limit in school zones is generally 25 MPH. In these areas, the penalty for a moving violation will be twice what it would be in a non-school zone. For example, if you get a $142 speeding ticket in a school zone, you will actually have to pay $284. Anyone who passes a school bus with its flashing lights on and stop sign out will incur a $450 fine on the first offense. Subsequent offenses can be $500 to $1,000.

Safety Precautions for Drivers

As a driver, making a few changes to your driving routines and habits can help you keep students safe. Basic safety precautions include:

  • Adjusting your commute: Find out when school starts for the year so you can change your commute as needed. If your route takes you through a school zone, plan on leaving 10 to 15 minutes early to account for extra traffic.
  • Following the speed limit: Not only will this help you avoid a ticket that could cost you hundreds of dollars, but it can also prevent car accidents.
  • Being extra cautious of children walking out from between vehicles: The streets around a school are often full of parked cars around the end of the school day. Kids may walk between these vehicles to cross the street, and if they go without checking, an accident is likely. Know that children can be unpredictable and adjust your driving accordingly.
  • Watching for children walking or on their bikes: Children walking or biking home are at a greater risk of injury. Leave them plenty of space and be prepared for them to cross the road even when they do not have the right of way.
  • Avoiding distractions: Distracted driving is always dangerous, but it’s even more hazardous when you’re around unpredictable kids who are excited to get out of school for the day. Stay alert at all times.

Legal Consequences of School Zone Accidents

If you are ticketed for speeding in a school zone or failing to stop for a bus, you could be forced to pay $450 or more for your citation. If you cause an accident because of reckless or unsafe driving, you could also face criminal charges that cost additional money and may even lead to jail time.

Additionally, you may be at risk for a personal injury lawsuit if you hurt someone in a crash. While most claims settle within the limits of a driver’s insurance policy, drivers can be held liable for any damages in excess of their policy. Furthermore, even if your insurance company does take care of the victim’s settlement, you can expect your insurance rates to take a significant hike.

Injured in a Crash? Call The Dodd Law Firm Today

If you or your child have been injured in a school zone accident, it’s time to get the legal support you deserve. Call The Dodd Law Firm at 203-272-1883 or contact us online to schedule a consultation now.