A motor vehicle accident can happen just about anywhere, on any road at any time of day. However, a recent study ranks the deadliest highways in the United States and from that, we learn some surprising facts about which roads are deadliest and should probably be avoided while traveling.
For the study, the data analysis team at 1Point21 Interactive and the injury law firm Elk & Elk Co., Ltd looked at highways in all 50 states and ranked them according to the number of crashes over the period of the study. For reference,. The study was taken on 10 mile stretches of highway in a particular state, so the same highway may run through several states and therefore can appear more than once on the study. In fact, you’ll be surprised to know that some highways appear more than once in the same state, as different sections are ranked in different areas.
The research study took place over a 20 year span from 2000 through 2019 and looked at highways throughout the United States and ranked them according to the number of automobile crashes and fatalities. As we mentioned, the study divided the roads into 10 mile segments and compiled the data into a fact sheet that listed not only the deadliest roads in the United States, but also the single deadliest 10 mile stretch in America, as well as the deadliest road in each of the 50 states.
Some states have relatively few fatalities compared to others on account of factors such as total road traffic, population density, speed limit, weather, and others.
What We Learned
From the study we are able to find that not only are many of the most dangerous stretches of highway located in sections that pass through urban population centers, but the 10 most deadly roads in America are located in just two of the 50 states, Florida and Texas.
Out of those top 10 stretches of highway, Dallas claims 5 of the spots with Interstate 35E taking two of the top spots for two different sections of road, making it possibly the single deadliest major road in the United States. Houston claims two spots, both on Interstate 45 and Miami rounds out the top 10 with 3 spaces, two of those being Interstate 95 and one being a service road.
While the study doesn’t give us complete data on accident causality, we can determine from the list of highways that major travel routes are more prone to accidents. Most of the roads on the list are interstates which have higher traffic flow and higher rates of speed than some service roads and in-state highways, which may factor into the number of fatal crashes. The top 3 cities on the list, Dallas, Miami, and Houston are also major population centers with high amounts of local traffic as well as pass through traffic. This includes a larger number of semi trucks, 18 wheelers and other big trucks, which contribute to fatal accidents.
While we don’t have all the data to draw direct conclusions about the cause of fatal accidents on these major highways, what we do know tells us a great deal about traveling in the United States.
When traveling in the US, avoiding major urban areas and high population areas can help to lower the risk of accidents. Major highways have higher rates of speed and higher traffic flow, which increases the risk of collisions. The number of big trucks is higher also and accidents with big trucks have a higher rate of fatalities than other vehicles.
Planning your route carefully and knowing what roads to avoid can mean much safer travels and fewer accidents.