The Dangers of South Carolina’s Dark Country Roads
Roughly a third of South Carolina’s population lives in rural areas. And while South Carolina’s rural towns and cities may offer a slower pace of life that appeals to many residents, the two-lane, dark country roads can be incredibly dangerous to drivers of all types of vehicles. In fact, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, over two-thirds of all fatal accidents in 2020 occurred on two-way, undivided roads.
At the Steinberg Law Firm, our dedicated Charleston car accident lawyers have over 95 years of experience helping accident victims and their families recover compensation for their injuries and accident-related expenses. We understand the difficulties your family is going through in the wake of an accident and want to help.
Most Fatal Accidents in South Carolina Happen on Rural Roads
Car accidents can happen anywhere, at any time; however, certain situations present a higher degree of risk than others. And, while the congested roads surrounding large cities have their own set of risks, so do the smaller two-lane country roads that span across the state.
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety reports that there is a fatal South Carolina traffic accident every nine hours, and someone is seriously injured every sixteen minutes. A shocking number of these accidents occurred on two-lane roads. For example, out of the 964 fatal accidents in 2020, 623 occurred on two-way, undivided roads like those that are found throughout the state’s rural areas.
Why Are Country Roads More Dangerous?
There are a few reasons why two-lane, undivided roads are more dangerous than larger roads. One of the biggest factors is that these roads are much darker than those found around Charleston and the state’s bigger cities.
Not surprisingly, most fatal car accidents occur at night, when drivers can only rely on streetlights and their headlights. In 2020, 177 out of 964 fatal traffic accidents occurred between 9 p.m. and midnight. Dark, two-lane roads increase the risk of several different types of accidents.
Drowsy Driving Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatigued driving is responsible for more than 600 deaths per year. Drivers are more likely to drift off when they are navigating country roads, not only because they are dark but also because they are less populated. Many motorists believe that driving on less-traveled, country roads is easier because they don’t need to worry about other vehicles; however, this can provide drivers with a false sense of security, which can lead to being less attentive behind the wheel and even become drowsy. One study recently found that drivers who are fatigued exhibit similar driving patterns as those who have a blood alcohol content of .08, which is the legal limit in South Carolina.
On average, head-on accidents make up about ten percent of all fatal traffic accidents in the United States. However, this statistic is a bit misleading because most traffic accidents occur in urban areas. If one were to look only at accidents on rural roads, the rate of head-on accident fatalities would be much higher.
Head-on accidents are a concern on any two-lane, undivided road. Add in the fact that country roads are dark and often windy, the risk of a head-on accident is significantly increased. Many two-lane country roads do not have freshly marked lanes, making it difficult for motorists to stay in their lane, especially when headlight glare from an approaching vehicle causes vision impairment.
Many rural roads in South Carolina are bordered by pine forests and oak trees. South Carolina State Road 61 is a perfect example of a dark, two-lane road with a high volume of traffic and not much room for error on the sides. This road if infamous for terrible, head-on crashes.
Why Are South Carolina Country Roads So Dark?
South Carolina’s country roads are notoriously dark. In part, this is because, unlike other parts of the country, rural South Carolina is not in close proximity to any large city, meaning there is less “light pollution.” Light pollution is the “brightening of the night sky caused by streetlights and other man-made sources.” And while light pollution is generally seen as a negative consequence of overdevelopment, it does provide ambient light that can make it easier for drivers to see the road at night.
The other reason why South Carolina country roads are so dark is a lack of streetlights. One old but frequently cited study suggests that streetlights can reduce the rate of nighttime car accidents by as much as thirty percent.
Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident on a Dark, Two-Lane Road?
If you or a loved one was recently injured in a country road car accident, reach out to the lawyers at the Steinberg Law Firm for immediate assistance. At the Steinberg Law Firm, our dedicated team of personal injury and wrongful death lawyers has been working with accident victims and their families to hold negligent drivers accountable since 1927. Over this time, we’ve not only developed an expansive knowledge of the law but also a deep understanding of what our clients need to get their lives back on track after a serious accident. We make ourselves available to you 24/7 to answer your questions or address your concerns. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a South Carolina injury attorney today, call the Steinberg Law Firm at 843-720-2800. You can also connect with us through our secure online contact form.