6 Most Dangerous Highways in America

most dangerous highways
Source: MNBB Studio/Shutterstock

As a country made for driving, the U.S. has a calculated and studied net of roads and highways that connects every state.

Yet, despite the government’s efforts to create safe roads, some of the most dangerous highways and routes in the world are located in America. Car accidents happen constantly in the U.S., so much so that they are considered a public health crisis. In fact, according to NHTSA:

  • 6 million car accidents happen in the U.S. every year
  • 3 million people are injured every year in car accidents in America
  • more than 90 people die in car accidents every day in the country
  • 2 million American drivers involved in car accidents are left with permanent injuries

Accident Rates In America’s Most Dangerous Highways

Every year the number of accidents and fatalities in U.S. highways increases, so much so that several studies rank the most dangerous highways in America. There are over 30,000 fatal car accidents per year, despite the improvements in security standards and vehicle quality.

The increasing phenomenon is believed to be a product of careless driving, phone distractions, speeding and laws that fail to help drivers. And, of course, the state of the roads and weather conditions factor into the catastrophic results recorded on these dangerous highways. Some states don’t spend enough money of their budget on road safety, a fact evidenced by the lethal and nonlethal accidents and crash rates that each state has.

Consider the following list of the most dangerous highways in the country, so whenever you travel through such roads you are specially careful:

#1 US-1, Florida

Number one in the ranking of the most dangerous highways in America is the US-1, which is actually the longest in the country to spread North to South. Although the portions that pass through Maryland and Main are considered dangerous, the most dangerous stretch of the route is located in Florida—from the South Florida Keys to Jacksonville—where the highest rate of deadly crashes are recorded.

In the last decade, over 1,011 crashes and 1,079 fatalities have been recorded in this dangerous highway. The two leading causes for car accidents in this portion of the highway are:

#2 Highway 99, California

Ranked second among the most dangerous highways in America is Highway 99, which stretches from Wheeler Ridge to Red Bluff, California. In only five years, more than 60 fatal accidents have been recorded per 100 miles.

The problem with this highly dangerous highway is that it is a four-lane road that suddenly, when arriving to Sacramento, turns into a narrow, dark two-lane dirt road. Therefore, people unaware of such change are particularly prone to accidents. Additionally, the main causes for accidents there are:

  • drunk drivers
  • poor decision-making behind the wheel
  • careless driving while using smartphones

Local authorities have invested in upgrading and improving safety conditions on this dangerous highway over the past 10 years, and have stated that maintaining such narrow roads and tight ramps is unacceptable for such highway.

#3 James Dalton Highway

The third place among America’s most dangerous highways is the James Dalton Highway, which stretches from Fairbanks to Deadhorse, in Alaska. It is basically a remote road that passes only through three towns, which is why it is mostly used for oil and gas transportation.

It is one of the most dangerous highways mainly because of one reason: it is a low-visibility gravel road subject to extreme weather changes. Nowadays, helicopters patrol the area twice a day, looking for accidents or people in need of assistance. Moreover, it isn’t unusual for some parts of the highway to be closed for road work or due to weather conditions.

#4 US-93, Arizona

Located in Arizona, the US-93 is one of the most dangerous highways in the United States, stretching from Wickenburg, Arizona to the Hoover Dam Bridge. It is the most popular road among those driving from Las Vegas to Phoenix. Yet the most dangerous segment of this highway runs from the west part of Wickenburg to the Hoover Dam, where more than 70 fatal crashes were reported in the last five years.

What has turned the US-93 into one of the most dangerous highways is speeding. This highway has two and four-lane passages, which leads to confusion among many drivers, and ultimately to fatalities. Also, passing other cars in the 2-lane segments can be very dangerous because of how narrow the roads are—however, most drivers try to do it anyways, some succeeding and others crashing along the way.

This dangerous highway is a bit desolated and isn’t particularly eye-catching, which is why drivers like to travel across the US-93 as quickly as possible.

5. US Route 550

The US Route 550, also known as the Million Dollar Highway, is the fifth most dangerous highway in America. Stretching West from US Highway 50, through the Red Mountain Pass in Colorado, it has some of the best sceneries and views of the country.

However, it is a 25-mile narrow road with sharp turns and no guardrails to keep cars from falling down the edge. Therefore, people should be very careful while driving, pay close attention to the road, and drive at a low speed.

6. Interstate 5, California

Last in the most dangerous highways ranking in the country is I-5, located in California. This 800-mile interstate that stretches from San Ysidro to Oregon connects drivers from Los Angeles, Redding, Sacramento and San Diego. It intersects with the I-10, coming from Los Angeles, and with the I-8, which leading to San Diego.

Most accidents occur in the Los Angeles section due to an increased amount of traffic. Over 680 deadly crashes have been reported in a span of five years.