Dangers of Driving in Unincorporated Areas

What is an unincorporated Area?

An unincorporated area is not recognized as a town with its own local government. In fact, unincorporated areas are governed by the surrounding county or town. Because they do not have their own local government, they don’t have their own government services which means they rely on the county for resources such as emergency services, road maintenance and more. Those who live in unincorporated areas also do not have a voice in their local government decisions. 

Usually unincorporated areas are located a bit away from cities, and are found in suburban or rural areas. They often have less infrastructure and development, which makes it difficult for them to access goods and services that those who live in incorporated areas normally have access to.

Unincorporated areas also have less regulations and property taxes, making it more affordable and free to live in. This creates a strong sense of community between residents. 

Lots of Poorly Maintained Roads

Because unincorporated areas are ran by the county, their roads are not as well maintained as roads in the city, because they don’t get the resources that urban areas have.

According to a study done by Freedman Law about the Most Dangerous Intersections in Fresno County, out of the 51 dangerous intersections in the county, 47 of those were located in unincorporated areas, and the other 4 within a city limit. This study shows us that these reasons where unincorporated area roads are more dangerous and not as well maintained than incorporated area roads, are real and valid. 

Due to these poor road conditions, it’s more likely to get into an accident. Some signs of a poorly maintained road include:

● Potholes

● Inadequate lighting

● Uneven pavement

● Traffic control devices that malfunction

● Improper guardrails

● Improper road striping and missing reflective strips

● Missing road signs

● Steep shoulders

● Ineffective road drainage

● Road debris

● Overgrown trees or plants

● Improper off and on ramps

When driving on poorly maintained roads, it’s super important to be on high alert. Always keep both hands on your steering wheel and drive slower as needed. When no cars are around, use your high beam for more road visibility at night. Practice defensive driving by being aware of other drivers and expect the unexpected.

Hard to Contact Emergency Services

In the situation that you get into an accident while driving in an unincorporated area, it will take a lot longer for an emergency service to arrive. There are several reasons for this, as due to fiscal reasons, there may not be enough emergency service vehicles to help or there is no easily accessible route to travel to where you are.

If you have cell service, immediately call 911 or CHP, as they service unincorporated areas. In the event that you have no service, stay calm and try to flag down any passing drivers to get help. 

When driving long distances or to a new place, always let somebody know what you plan to do and what time you should be done, so if they don’t hear from you around that time, they know that you need help and are able to contact the right people for support.



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