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West Virginia’s Startling Auto Accident Rates

We all remember how tenderly John Denver sang about West Virginia’s “Country Roads.” But if he were traveling them today, he might do so with some trepidation. According to statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, West Virginia ranks among the most dangerous states for fatal crashes. In 2013, the most recent year for which statistics are available, West Virginia ranked fourth overall for deaths per 100,000 population:

  • Montana — 22.6 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Mississippi — 20.5 deaths per 100,000 population
  • North Dakota — 20.5 deaths per 100,000 population
  • West Virginia — 17.9 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Alabama — 17.6 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Oklahoma — 17.6 deaths per 100,000 population

The average throughout the United States is 10.3 deaths per 100,000 population.

When fatal accident numbers are adjusted for the number of miles driven, West Virginia appears even more dangerous. The state ranked second for deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled:

  • Montana — 1.96 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
  • West Virginia — 1.75 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
  • North Dakota — 1.62 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
  • Mississippi — 1.58 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
  • South Carolina — 1.57 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled

The average throughout the United States is 1.11 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

There are many factors that certainly contribute to these high fatality rates, such as:

  • Winding mountain roads
  • Two-lane highways that lack dividers
  • Unlit rural roadways
  • Alcohol consumption

Reasonable precautions are necessary to prevent auto accidents on rural roadways, including:

  • Planning, so you know your route and leave enough time to get to your destination
  • Maintaining a safe speed, especially on winding roads with blind curves
  • Maintaining a safe stopping distance rather than tailgating the vehicle ahead of you
  • Passing only when it’s safe to do so
  • Not driving when you’ve consumed alcohol
  • Keeping your headlights and brakes in good operating condition
  • Adapting your driving to the weather conditions

Remember, these country roads are supposed to take you home, not to the hospital or the morgue. All of us at Prim Law Firm, PLLC hope you will drive safely and arrive in good health. But if you’ve been hurt in a traffic accident in West Virginia, and you want to know your rights, contact us for a free consultation. Call 304-201-2425 or contact our office online.

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