Top 5 Deadliest U.S. Roads

The latest and greatest technologies and various other industry advancements were supposed to help us avoid fatal crashes and keep us as safe as possible. But it looks like the internet, apps, an obsession for social media platforms, electronic devices, and no comprehensive investments in road infrastructure plus driver inattention might be the winning recipe for disaster. Here are America’s major roads you might want to avoid if you plan on doing some traveling this year.
Route 550 6 photos
Photo: Rugged Mile on YouTube / PNGWing / autoevolution edit
Route 550U.S. Highway 1Interstate 4Interstate 10U.S. Route 17
Today, we know that one fatal car crash happened every 15 minutes nationally back in 2020. According to the numbers crunched by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), this meant 38,824 people died after 35,766 fatal crashes were recorded.

In 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said a lot more Americans continued to lose their life while on the road. The tragic loss of life due to car crashes reached a 16-year high.

Now, the NHTSA is currently in the process of putting together the relevant data for 2022, but the provisional numbers don’t show any encouraging improvements. For the first three quarters of the last year, a 0.2 percent decrease was registered compared to the same period in 2021. That's not enough to make all of us confident in traveling on most crowded routes without worrying about troubling potential accidents.

South Carolina with its drivers that caused the most accidents in 2022 and Mississippi with its biggest number of fatal crashes are the two states that unfortunately shine in this gruesome statistic.

Moreover, the IIHS told everyone last year that Europeans are better drivers than Americans just to put the whole dying while on the road thing better into perspective.

So, it’s clear by now that we must pay more attention while on the road because all the developments made in the advanced driver-assistance software are not doing much for our safety.

Now that summer is set to join us soon and traveling plans might be made to celebrate some well-deserved time off, here are some roads you might want to avoid if you don’t want to become a part of statistics like the abovementioned ones.

U.S. Highway 1

U\.S\. Highway 1
Photo: California Through My Lens on YouTube
Following the historic Falls Line roads, Highway 1 is a 2,593-mile (4,173-kilometer) long road that connects Fort Kent with Key West. From Southern Florida and up to Northern Maine, this route takes you through 14 states until it reaches the Canadian border. If Europe had a similar highway system, the journey would have started in Lisbon, Portugal, and ended in Istanbul, Turkey after crossing ten countries.

But despite being a very long road that allows you to explore the East Coast, the Highway 1 section within Florida is America’s deadliest route. That’s mostly due to the state not having a complete ban on using handheld devices while behind the wheel, according to Findbyplate. Paying attention to a phone while driving may increase the risk of a crash, but there’s no clear data on that yet.

However, police reports analyzed by the IIHS revealed that in 2020 over 3,100 people died in car crashes in which distraction was considered a contributing factor.

Besides phone usage, the north-south Florida portion of Highway 1 is enticing for drivers who feel like pressing the accelerator pedal just a little bit too exuberantly. Having many ocean bridges is also something that some drivers may find just a tiny bit challenging.

U.S. Route 550

Route 550
Photo: Rugged Mile on YouTube
Also known as the Million Dollar Highway, Route 550 isn’t a straight shot to financial freedom but a mountainous road that will provide travelers with breathtaking scenarios. It’s considered one of the most beautiful roads in the U.S., if not the most pretty this country currently has.

Interestingly enough, this is America’s second most dangerous road even though it measures about 25 mi (40 km) in length. Getting its nickname from a tale that one woman who said that she would never drive again on this road, not even if someone were to give her $1 million or thanks to its “million dollar looks,” Route 550 starts in Montrose, Colorado and ends in Bernalillo, New Mexico if we are to follow a north-south direction.

With an elevation of 11,000 feet (3,352 meters) and weather that can change rapidly without any warning, Route 550 boasts some amazing hairpins with no guardrails but is also the place where rockslides might happen. You may want to exercise increased caution while traveling on this piece of tarmac since it can leave even the most experienced drivers with the idea that they need more practice.

Besides urban tales, Route 550 most likely got its alternative name because when Colorado officials decided the portion between Ouray and Silverton needed rebuilding almost 100 years ago, they crunched the numbers and reached an estimate of $1 million, which amounts to over $15,585,000 in today’s money.

Interstate 4

Interstate 4
Photo: SOUTHERN LIFE on YouTube
It’s Florida again! This road that connects Daytona Beach and Tampa is known to cause over one fatality per mile every year. That’s around 185 road-trippers, considering that I-4 measures 132 miles (212 km) in length.

Experts think this piece of tarmac claims so many lives because it goes through, Orlando which is a place that’s prone to get crowded from time to time. Enthusiasm, tiredness, and distracted driving are all factors that can lead to serious accidents.

Besides that, many people tend to rent cooler, more powerful vehicles to have some fun and don’t take the necessary time to get accustomed to their cars. That’s a disaster waiting to happen for those who like to play with the accelerator pedal, and other innocent traffic participants may get tangled up in their mishaps.

Interstate 10

Interstate 10
Photo: Asphalt Planet on YouTube
Traveling on I-10 from Santa Monica, California to Jacksonville, Florida, will take you around 41 hours if traveling at a speed of at least 60 mph (97 kph) is possible along the whole route. That’s because the road measures 2,460 mi (3,959 km) in length!

I-10 gets to occupy the fourth spot in the top 5 most dangerous American roads not because it’s extra long or due to Texas allowing drivers to travel at a speed limit of 80 mph (129 kph) during the day like most European countries permit their citizens to do. It’s because statistics show that almost one life is lost per mile every year, which amounts to 2,091 fatalities.

The most dangerous section of I-10 is found in Arizona where Interstate 10 transforms into a two-lane straight desert road. Since Police can’t cover the entire 300 mi (482 km) portion all the time, some drivers tend to overestimate their skills. Sadly, this sometimes has an unwanted outcome.

U.S. Route 17

U\.S\. Route 17
Photo: TheHighwayTaken on YouTube
Also known as the Coastal Highway, Route 17 is an absurdly beautiful road that gives the driver and their passengers many brilliant views. It begins in Winchester, Virginia, and, as the alternative name suggests, follows throughout the central and southern part of the East Coast until reaching Punta Gorda, Florida.

As you may already expect, most of the fatal car crashes happen in the Sunshine State because people tend to be more distracted while behind the wheel. But besides that, this amazing road also has many sharp turns, unexpected curves, and slender lanes on the section that goes through South Carolina.

Add tourists that want to visit Charleston and Myrtle Beach in the mix, and you get a recipe for disaster because tired drivers, enthusiastic visitors, and complicated infrastructure do not go well together.

Finally, as a bonus, Interstate 30 should also be on your 'roads to avoid' list. It continues to be a construction hotspot where you may find many drivers that easily lose their patience.

Safe travels!
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About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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