John Denver's song, "Take Me Home, Country Roads" is a soulful melody about West Virginia. The lyrics evoke a deep sense of longing to return back home to "her," describing single-lane rural roads that wind through the beautiful and diverse landscape.
However, the roads described in the song are not what they seem. Winding country roads may be picturesque, but they can also be very dangerous.
Did you know that only 10 percent of all accidents in West Virginia occur on Interstates? Of all crashes, 24.59 percent occur on county roads, 27.44 occur on state roads and 24.40 percent occur on U.S. highways.
You should know a few more striking facts about driving in West Virginia (based on the most recent state crash report):
- For every traffic fatality, another 63 people will suffer injury in a collision: Most people survive the injuries they suffer in car accidents, requiring extensive rehabilitation or even lifelong care.
- Accidents occur on nearly the same frequency each month: The percentage of accidents that happen per month range from 6.87 percent in April to 9.34 percent in January.
- Over 67 percent of accidents occur in broad daylight: No, not all accidents occur at night when there is low visibility.
- The majority of accidents involve drivers aged 21 to 59: Teen and elderly drivers are of the focus of many safety campaigns, but other age groups are involved in 70 percent of all accidents.
- Over 73 percent of accidents occur at locations without traffic control devices: Many rural roads do not have stop signs, traffic signals or RR gates. The majority of accidents occur in the absence of these types of safety devices.
- In accidents with traffic control measures in place, those devices were working properly 84 percent of the time: You have to trust other drivers when you share the road, but many of those drivers are not paying adequate attention.
- Drivers were impaired by alcohol in less than 3 percent of accidents: Over 88 percent of drivers are in a "normal" condition when they cause accidents. Although they are very dangerous behaviors, most drivers are not drunk, fatigued, sick or medicated at the time of a crash.
If these statistics teach you one thing, it is that you cannot predict when or where an accident will happen. The plain and simple truth is that people are careless. When you drive on country roads that will take you home, make sure you exercise caution - and it never hurts to know the name of an experienced personal injury attorney.
At Johnstone & Gabhart, LLP in Charleston, we fight to help injured victims obtain the compensation they deserve. As a team of attorneys with more than a half century of combined experience, we know the challenges accident victims face. Equally important, we know how to argue a strong case on their behalf.
Visit our page on car accidents to learn more.