No matter what kinds of bells and whistles we add to our cars, we’re unable to make driving any safer, as we must always deal with other drivers. We must trust our instincts, and obey traffic laws in order to make our travels as safe as possible, but there is never any guarantee. Driving defensively can only take us so far, and the rest is left to fate, or is it? Does where we’re driving affect our safety even more than other drivers or weather conditions? Is there such a thing as a dangerous road?
There are, absolutely, without a doubt, highways in the United States that are slightly more dangerous than others. Whether it is the rate of speed at which we’re traveling, a number of people on the roads with us, or simply the condition of the highway itself, some of the nation’s roads can be deadly. As we near the height of our travel season, the risk is higher for traffic accidents. While there is no surety that we will be safe in our travels, we can be as cautious as possible to avoid the common disasters that befall other drivers.
- 1-95 in Connecticut – Any part of Interstate 95 can be dicey. As a highway that runs the entire Eastern Coast, it has a tremendously bad reputation. However, this particular section, running through CT is the worst. With a record of over seven hundred wrecks per year, I-95 through Norwalk is a horrendous section of the already deadly highway. Reasons are cited as being curves, hills, mountains, and congestion that makes these eight miles some of the most dangerous in the country, and certainly the most dangerous in the state of Connecticut.
- Highway 550 in Colorado – If you put anything 11000 feet above sea level, things are going to get a little bit terrifying, but add in a lack of guardrails and no shoulders and the sweeping and gorgeous views aren’t so much pretty, as distracting. The dangerous area runs over twenty-five miles of this highway and accounts for many accidents. Add in the risk of avalanche and sudden snowfall, and this road becomes downright deadly. What can start as a scenic drive through picturesque countryside and the connection between tourist towns could easily take a turn for the worse.
- Dalton Highway in Alaska – This road is a mess of twists, turn, seclusion, and extensive trucker traffic. Oh yeah, it’s also a dirt road. Over four hundred miles in length, this road is rarely traveled by tourists as a result of its seclusion and lack of fuel stops. However, it still sees over ten accidents a year, and it is patrolled by choppers to make sure no one has broken down. It also is known for being located in an area that sees some of the lowest temperatures ever recorded, making it extremely treacherous during certain times of the year.
- I-285 in Georgia – When you put two million cars a day on one section of road, you’re looking for trouble. Surrounding the city of Atlanta, this road is jam-packed with traffic, especially during rush hour. Not only is 285 itself dangerous, but it connects with I-85 in one section and at one point is eighteen lanes. This section is called Spaghetti Junction, which may sound cutesy, but when have you ever known a plate of spaghetti to be orderly and organized?
- 1-26 in South Carolina – When over three hundred people die in accidents on one very short section of road, your highway is liable to be called dangerous. Typically, when a highway is heavy on accidents, it is nearer the big cities. However, studies show that this highway’s body count is higher in more remote sections. The majority of the crashes happen as a result of trees that are struck, the lack of guardrails, and the steep ditches.
While the IIHS fights to make our cars safer, and our roads safer, some sections of the highways are still struggling with high death rates. Perhaps some of the risks comes from drivers being less cautious than they need to be, but the majority of them seem to be as a result of poor road design. Some careful planning on the part of the states’ Department of Transportation could assist in remedying the issue, but super conscientious driving couldn’t hurt.