A traffic wreck can change everything for a family. This is especially the case when the crash results in a death in the family. Such a loss can expose a family to extreme emotional hardships, along with potentially raising significant financial and legal issues. Unfortunately, such tragedies may be more common here in Mississippi than anywhere else in the nation.

A recent report ranked the states on how deadly their roads are. These rankings were reached by comparing the traffic fatality rates of the states for 2016.

Mississippi was ranked the No. 1 deadliest state in the country in the list. It’s traffic fatality rate for 2016 was 23.1 deaths per 100,000 people. The next closest state was Alabama, with a rate of 21.3.

Mississippi’s rate of traffic fatalities was nearly double the national rate (11.6) and almost five times the rate of the state found to have the least deadly roads (Rhode Island, with a rate of 4.8).

Why do you think the likelihood of traffic fatalities is so high in Mississippi?

It appears the state’s rural roads may raise some particularly big safety concerns. The report indicated that the vast majority of 2016 traffic fatalities in the state, 98 percent, happened out on rural roads.

The potential for danger out on Mississippi’s roads may be an especially important thing for drivers to keep in mind with the Fourth of July just around the corner. In 2016, Independence Day saw more deaths out on the state’s roads than any other holiday. One hopes that, next week, all Mississippi drivers who are out on the roads over the holiday will act responsibly and help make the Fourth of July safer this year.