This is simple.
Instead of travelling through Sorting Facility and Water Harvest and Raider Range being mandatory to move across sectors, add in connectors between the sectors so that Empire and Jericho actually meet somewhere, travelling to Water Harvest and Vanguard Outpost can be done through sectors going round Alpha-7 and travelling to Abandoned Outpost in Solaris is possible via a route going under New Ceres.
Please? This is not necessarily to avoid risking death, but more to enlarge the open world play space and make it more ventureful
Edit note… Also can we have some law clashes in these systems and make it more frontline combat-ish?