As a truck driver, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid certain roads, but it’s always good to know which ones tend to cause the most problems to drivers. Some of these highways or stretches of highway are in warm weather locales, but the ones in areas that get a lot of winter weather can get even more dangerous as the weather cools.
1. I-10 in Arizona: While I-10 runs across the entire United States, the 150-mile stretch of it from Phoenix, Arizona to the border of California is especially treacherous. There are as many as 85 deaths per year on this stretch of interstate.
2. I-26 in South Carolina: A small section of I-26 is responsible for far more deaths than would be expected based on the number of crashes. The Charleston Post and Courier reports that from 2000 to 2010, 325 people died in 286 wrecks on I-26, which is double the death rate of busier sections of I-26. Part of the reason appears to be a lack of guardrails while the ditches on the side of the road come after a steep slope.
3. Highway 550 in Colorado: A 25-mile stretch from Ouray to Silverton sits 11,000 feet above sea level. There are no guardrails to allow for plowing in snowstorms and avalanche conditions, but there are also no shoulders. This means weaving off the road means falling from a mountain.
4. Highway 2 in Montana: The Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota calls Highway 2 one of the most dangerous roads in the nation. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration agrees. The reasoning is that the road is out of the way, which means emergency vehicles cannot act as quickly as in urban areas and also because sparse traffic means drivers drive faster, which can lead to more accidents, especially in inclement weather.
5. U.S. 431 in Alabama: This highway features crosses on the side of the road as a memorial to victims of accidents on U.S. 431. With the exception of the parts of the highway that run through small towns, it’s mostly a four-lane highway now, but still very dangerous.
6. Dalton Highway in Alaska: While many of our Open Road Drivers Plan members likely will never drive through Alaska, this particular highway is quite dangerous. It’s a 414 mile dirt road from Fairbanks to the North Slope of Alaska and allows trucks to supply oil and gas businesses. It twists and winds around steep mountains. The road was opened to tourists in 1994, which added extra obstacles. A helicopter patrols the road twice a day to see if there are any accidents or breakdowns of vehicles.
7. State Route 138 in California: Route 138 runs from I-15 to Palmdale, and has been nicknamed the “highway of death” by some. During one five-year period before 2000, there were 56 deaths and 875 injuries on the road. The road is far less dangerous than it once was due to improvements and widening of the lanes, but it is still a dangerous highway to travel.
8. I-95 in Connecticut: The most dangerous part of I-95 in Connecticut is the eight-mile section around the city of Norwalk. There are 735 crashes annually in that eight-mile stretch as opposed to less than 600 for similarly sized sections through other cities. The combination of the congestion of the city with curves and hills make this patch of road dangerous.
9. I-15 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles: The 180-mile stretch between these two cities has more fatalities than anywhere else in Nevada. Half of those are killed by not wearing seatbelts. Commercial truck drivers who drive the route regular see several other reasons including drinking and driving and distracted driving. Improvements to the road have been made to help keep it safer, but it is still one of the most dangerous stretches of highway in the United States.
It’s important to drive with caution on every road, of course, but the nine above are among the most dangerous in the United States, so use extreme caution driving them in your travels.
Content brought to you by Open Road Drivers Plan, protecting your livelihood and CDL since 1989. Be sure to defend yourself against CDL tickets to ensure your license remains upstanding.