Can you remember the last time your were driving on a road and were legitimately scared? Those of us living in the Midwest may only encounter this kind of fear in the winter- when the roads are slick with ice- but if you live up in the mountains where the terrain is a bit more elevated, you may be shaking your head yes with fervor. Truth is, roads can be downright dangerous sometimes! The worst part is that the road doesn’t even have to be up in the mountains or on a steep hill to be dangerous.
Most of the time, what makes roads dangerous are the people driving on them. Since we’ve been in the trucking industry for nearly a decade now, we certainly know how truckers on the road are viewed. In fact, we discussed an infographic just the other week that reminded drivers who the real threat on the highways are.
We can tell you right now, it’s not truckers!
U.S. Roads Are Dangerous
Unfortunately though, despite our high-tech developments and interstate highway system, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranks U.S. roads as much more dangerous than most northern European countries at 11 highway deaths per 100,000 population per year. No wonder so many companies are heading towards driverless vehicles and transport. Regardless, we still have to travel on the roads for now.
So, for your information and safety, we want you to know what some of the most dangerous roads in the U.S. are. And if you find yourself traveling on any of these roads, be careful!
Interstate 26 in South Carolina (I-26)
The I-26 is an east-west highway that also happens to be the longest interstate highway in the state of South Carolina. Though it may be the longest in the state, there are short sections of the highway that are really dangerous. In fact, the Charleston Post and the Courier reported that from years 2000 to 2010 325 people died in 286 crashes on the I-26 in South Carolina. Much of this highway’s danger comes from lack of guardrails and steep slopes on the sides of the road. Clearly that could make for a dangerous ride.
Dalton Highway in Alaska
To start, there are a few steep mountain ranges in Alaska. When you add the fact that it gets quite cold and icy there it can become dangerous to drive. Well, this highway is a 414-mile dirt road that was made driveable in 1974. Truckers on this side of the coast should be familiar with the highway as it is often used to supply oil and gas to businesses. It was used solely for truckers until 1994 when it was made available for public/tourist use. The two-lane highway winds around Brooks Range and is so dangerous there are helicopter patrols twice a day checking for accidents.
Perhaps most alarming is the fact that temperatures in this area reached -80 degrees Fahrenheit in 1971. If that’s not cold enough to keep travelers away, we are not sure what is! Yahoo! reports that although there are about 10 crashes per year, it has a less-than-one fatality rate. Good news, but we think we would still stay away from this one.
Highway 2 in Montana
Did you know that Montana has the highest fatality rate in the U.S.? Perhaps that is because Montana has a ton of rural roads, and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration stated that rural roads are more dangerous than urban. You may oppose this at first thought, but think about it for a second. If you are on a rural road, how long will it take for an ambulance or medical assistance to reach you? In rural areas, everything is so spread out- and that includes medical assistance. In fact, it takes medics an average of 80 minutes to get to crash victims in rural areas. Unfortunately, those statistics tend to make roads in remote and rural areas much more dangerous.
The I-15 from LA to Las Vegas
If you are going to blame the danger of this road on Las Vegas, you are kind of right. Yahoo! reports there are more than 8 million people driving back and forth between these two states on this stretch of highway every year. In fact, the Nevada AAA has stated that the 180-mile stretch has more fatalities than anywhere else in the state of Nevada. However, at least half of those fatalities can be blamed on travelers not wearing their seat belt. We’re not going to lie, we love Las Vegas. But the number of drivers coming to and from there that are drunk and/or distracted is pretty high.
Therefore, if you are going to be driving on this highway- for whatever reason- please be sure to wear your seat belt. You may be distracted, and hopefully not drunk, but at least you will be wearing your seat belt.