Fatalities most common on rural roads in southern Illinois, IDOT - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Fatalities most common on rural roads in southern Illinois, IDOT data shows

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WSIL -- If you live in the rural parts of southern Illinois, driving the narrow, dark back roads probably feels like routine. 

Dianna Yates has lived in rural Cobden for 30 years and says she's mastered driving on rural roads. 

“I live on a country road, Aldrich Road here in Cobden, and it's an up and down road, so I always anticipate what’s ahead of me, what’s coming over the next hill,” she said. 

But not everyone is as aware on those back roads. The most recent data from IDOT shows that in 2015, while hundreds of traffic accidents happen on all roads, nearly all traffic fatalities in our area happened on a rural road.

In Williamson County, five of the 10 fatalities in 2015 were on a rural road. 

In Jackson County, seven of the eight fatalities happened on rural roads. In Union County, all three fatalities that year were on a rural road.

In Saline County, the four fatalities happened on rural roads. In Johnson County, all three fatalities were on rural roads. 

In Franklin County, out of 12 fatalities, all but one were on rural roads. 

Those numbers and recent accidents have local law enforcement officer Angelo Hightower, Carterville PD, chiming in on ways you can stay safe. 

 "From a driver stand point, the driver has the responsibility to remain attentive. Of course, the county roads aren't known for being well lit so it's important to use your high beams as necessary. Don't do anything that's going to be distracting to your driving," he said. 

For pedestrians on rural roads be sure to walk on the left side of the road so you can see cars headed towards you. 

"From a pedestrian point of you I think it's important at nighttime particularly to wear reflective clothing, perhaps a reflective vest if handy," he said. 

With thousands expected to fill these streets for eclipse weekend, law officers hope and encourage the out-of-towners to always remember the slightest details can make a lifesaving difference on the road. 

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