Do you feel like you’re in more danger on the interstate, zipping along at 70 miles per hour? You probably have cars passing you at 80 or 85 mph, as well, adding to the high-speed chaos as you cross Oregon.
If that makes you nervous, you’re not alone. One therapist helped with a study and said that drivers he talked to named the interstate highway as the place where they felt the most fear. It even outranked their fear while going over bridges.
Clearly, the speed makes people worry. Ironically, it really shouldn’t.
The reality, according to federal transportation data, is that the interstate tends to be far safer than smaller roads, from city streets to country roads.
The numbers change every year, but let’s use 2007 as an example since these trends hold fairly solid over time. That year, for every 100 million interstate miles that people drove, 0.54 people passed away in accidents. On smaller highways and slower roads, the rate skyrocketed to 0.92 for the same amount of miles traversed.
The slowest roads — local urban streets — turned out to be the most dangerous by a long shot. For each 100 million miles people crossed on those roads, an average of 1.32 people were killed.
Clearly, there is a risk any time you get in the car. You could be hit by a negligent driver and seriously injured — or a loved one riding with you could be killed — almost anywhere. However, these trends show that the areas where you fear accidents the most may really be where you’re safest.
In the wake of a deadly crash, be sure you know what legal options you have.
Source: Freakonomics, “The Irony of Road Fear,” Eric A. Morris, accessed Sep. 20, 2017