Driving is supposed to be fun, especially with your windows down and the radio playing an old favorite. But if you happen to be traveling through any of the places we have listed below, your own life (and passenger lives) are at risk. Take an alternative route. Fly, take a bus or ride a train. But stay off these roads! These are 12 of the most treacherous highways you will hopefully avoid!
SR 138 (California) -- The number of deaths and fatalities continues to be fairly high. Known to locals as "The Highway Of Death," parts of SR-138 feature shifting and twisty stretches while most other segments are fairly flat. But often, there are many slow-moving trucks, which cause bad drivers to become impatient. And that's not a good combination. Unsafe passing seems to more of the rule, rather than the exception.
The road runs east/west and traverses through the northern foothills of the picturesque San Gabriel mountains. Most of the highway is two lanes, and older folks may recognize portions from some old Hollywood movies, such as "The Long, Long Trailer," filmed in 1954. Ironically, the road looks very similar more than 60 years later.
SR I-26 (South Carolina) -- The combination of crosses on the side of the highway, skid marks, and other roadside memorials give proof to how dangerous this road can be. Specifically, a 8-12 mile stretch around Ridgeway has been the most deadly. With more than three fatalities per mile per year, it ranks as one of the state's most hazardous areas. Originally constructed in 1939, future construction is planned that will change all parts to four or six lanes. Columbia and Charleston are two of the major cities that I-26 passes through.
But the problem is not just cars hitting other cars. Many of the deaths and serious injuries involve vehicles slamming into trees and other objects. You don't see many guardrails in some ares, which increases the susceptibility to multiple-vehicle accidents. There are also many deep ditches, although the addition of cable barriers in some areas have definitely helped. The speed limit is typically 70 mph, although in specific sections where there are six lanes, the speed limit reduces. If your destination is Charlotte, exiting to I-77 will lead you there.
Highway 550 (Colorado) -- The southwestern part of the road is scary. Very scary. You're more than 10,000 feet above sea level as you drive through the San Juan Mountain area. Don't veer off the road because if you expected guard rails...Think again. There are several dangerous drop-offs and hairpin curves. One little mishap and down the embankment you go. And yes, the risk of an avalanche is also possible, although slight. Winter driving is extremely treacherous.
Often referred to as the "Million Dollar Highway," it runs from Durango to Ridgway and was actually created when parts of the mountain were removed. It is truly gorgeous, but don't admire the scenery while you are driving! As one of only two highways in the state that run North/South, the road passes through the Red Mountain Pass, and ends in Montrose. Trimble Springs (known for its hot springs) is still a popular tourist destination located North of Durango. Panoramic highway scenes with breathtaking scenery help offset the sweaty palms you are likely to have.
Interstate Highway 10 (Arizona) -- The worst driving conditions are found between Elroy and Picacho Peak. Dust storms seem to appear unexpectedly with devastating consequences for drivers. Although the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has helped install some detection mechanisms, it's still a challenge to see when a dust storm hits. As the fourth-largest interstate highway in the United States, the highest elevation occurs near Tucson.
Big cities, such as Tuscon and Phoenix are along the path, as well as numerous smaller towns, such as Marana, Casa Grande, Quartzsite, and Tolleson. Historically, parts of the road follow nationally-recognized areas such as the Pony Express and where stagecoaches used to travel. Larger cities that are connected to the highway include Los Angeles, El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans, and Jacksonville.
US Route 93 (Arizona) -- Another Grand Canyon State road to avoid. This congested highway is only 200 miles long, but is the most popular option if you are driving from Phoenix to Las Vegas. And yes, you are "gambling" with your life if you utilize this road too often. Mohave County is especially dangerous with multiple fatalities every year. Emergency and fire service wait times are also lengthy in this part of the country. Steep hills, twisting curves, and a lot of fast-moving trucks don't make driving fun.
I-75 Through Downtown Dayton (Ohio) -- If you need to get from one end of Ohio to another, and you're passing through Dayton, perhaps taking I-675 around the city might be a better idea. The combination of orange barrels, obnoxious drivers, and constantly-changing exit ramps earns this section of highway a spot in our Top-10. And yes, this is one reason why many Buckeye state residents feel the state symbol should be an orange barrel! Winter weather doesn't help, especially if the University of Dayton is playing a home basketball game.
I-35 and I-70 are both located in the surrounding area, but don't seem to feature all of the delays and problems of I-75. And during rush hour, the problems are exacerbated as you battle barrels, drivers and long delays. However, after 7 pm, most of the issues are gone. Car insurance rates in Ohio are definitely impacted if you drive in this area on a regular basis. Montgomery County features fairly high prices, while Miami County (to the North), Warren County (to the South), and Greene County (to the East) typically offer more competitive prices. Note: Progressive Insurance began operations in Cleveland.
I-95 Through Connecticut Along The Coast -- There's usually plenty of travel advisories when you're on this section of I-95 or traveling from New York to Rhode Island. As the main noth-south highway on the east coast, it is a common route for tourists to take, so there's plenty of action. Unfortunately, not the type of cation you want to see. Summer hail can also become a problem if you get caught in a bad storm. Couple weather conditions with weekend vacationers, and you may have additional concerns, including the portion leading into Rhode Island. Major disasters on the road occurred in 1983, 2004, and 2007.
At times, you will pass through Norwalk, New Haven, Bridgeport, and several cities in the area. This area is the Connecticut Turnpike and also referred to as the "Jewish War Veterans Memorial Highway." One reason for the higher incidence of accidents may be the unusually large number of exits, often less than one mile apart. When originally built, these extra stopping points were needed to serve the dense areas that they cross. Bridges continue to be replaced, and lane-widening is helping.
US-2 (Montana) -- Near the Idaho border, this stretch of highway (about 670 miles) has been on numerous lists for the last 20 years. With a combination of steep grades, treacherous turns and long wait times (because of distance) for emergency personal to arrive, Us-2 easily earns its reputation. The many crosses placed along the side of the road are another reminder.
It's not necessarily a high-traffic area, and is fairly flat. But cars go very fast and in adverse weather, the risk of an accident substantially increases. "Bad Rock Canyon" is one of the worst areas and even the Montana DOT originally called for replacing a bridge and sections of the road. However, many parts are quite scenic, especially as you pass by three Indian reservations, and come close to several others. Glacier National Park can also be viewed along with the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Monument.
I-79 (Pennsylvania) -- Most of this road is not terribly dangerous. But the intersection of I-79 and I-70 (which runs East and West) can be very nasty, especially in the Winter months and around major holidays. The design of the intersection is not good and the guard rail shows a lot of wear and tear. And you know that's not a good sign. Construction seems to always be ongoing, although lane closures are typically rare, except in very late hours when traffic is small.
The addition of a few casinos in the area have increased traffic, and occasionally after a Pirates or Steelers home game, there will be some extra congestion. Also, traffic coming west from Wheeling and Ohio (I-70) can be significant, depending on the time of the year. Fortunately, traffic coming from the east (New Stanton and Harrisburg) is generally not that large. The highway connects Charleston, morgantown, and Erie with other major cities.
I-95 (Florida) -- This is a different section of I-95 than previously discussed. This part runs along Florida's coast as you head northward towards southern Georgia. In terms of roadway deaths, it ranks as one of the most lethal roads in America. The number of distracted drivers is also quite high, according to a recent research project. Talking on the phone, texting, and eating were the most common distractions.
It seems to be always busy with plenty of traffic slow-ups, often caused by accidents. At times, there are six lanes open on each side. When you couple that with the occasional heavy rain and sun in your eyes, it's not a shocker that this part of I-95 makes our list. NOTE: Most of the traffic reduces within 20 miles of mile marker 380. At that point, you're getting close to Georgia.
I-285 (Georgia) -- With close to 20 lanes (We're not kidding) in some areas, a new driver better stay away during high-traffic times. At rush hour, you will sit in traffic since this part of the road goes around Atlanta. But don't let the occasional slow traffic fool you. There are still plenty of accidents and serious injuries. The intersection with I-85 includes bridges and very slippery surfaces during colder weather. The "Cobb Cloverleaf" (Top End Perimeter) has the most activity of any road in The Peach State.
With about 2 million persons per day trying to get to their destination, it's one of the most congested freeways in the US. Heavy commercial trucks also use this route (by requirement), so visibility while attempting to pass can be a challenge. Unexpected slick roads that occur in colder months always seem to lead to multiple incidents, especially in the section between !-75 and Georgia 400.
US-24 (Indiana and Ohio) -- If you're traveling from Toledo to Fort Wayne (or vice verse), normally, we would advise you not to take this route. But it is the shortest method to get there so you'll just have to be careful. There's also "Dead Man's Curve" and several other high-accident areas to worry about. And although not dangerous, Amish buggies are occasionally seen crossing the highway.
Although less than 80 miles in distance, the incidence of accidents is high. Improvements were made in 2012 which somewhat helped. There is still a very high number of trucks that use this stretch, although not as many as in previous years. And of course in December and January (and parts of February), large snowfalls just add to the commotion.
Schuylkill Expressway (Pennsylvania) -- This frightening road is commonly referred to as the "Sure Kill" Expressway, since if you drive on it long enough, you're certain to be killed. It's actually part of I-76 (Pa Turnpike) although you don't have to pay on this portion of the turnpike.
There's a 90-degree turn, sharp curves, congestion, construction and a lot of traffic going to and from Philadelphia. Add occasional buckling road surfaces and you have a hair-raising ride that often is not very enjoyable. If you need to quickly get to an Eagles, Phillies or Flyers game, you better leave early. Also contributing to the problem is additional traffic from Delaware and New Jersey.
Although we could have discussed another 50 hazardous roads and highways, these were the cream of the crop. If you find yourself in these areas, slow down, be aware of your surroundings, and stay safe. Your car insurance rates will be lower if you avoid the accidents! And maybe your blood pressure as well.
A record blizzard blast is making every highway treacherous in New York and other Northeastern states. The snow has begun and between two and three feet are expected in many areas. Combine wind gusts of up to 60 mph, and you don't want to drive anywhere in the area for a few days.
In New York, I-84, The Thruway, and the Long Island Expressway will be shut down, although the duration is unknown. Even Public Transportation including MTA buses and Metro-North Railroad will be greatly impacted. Connecticut, New Jersey and other neighboring states will also feel the effects of this storm.