Here are four of the deadliest highways in the US, as well as a few tips on how to tackle them and still make it home in one piece.
With more than 28,000 miles of land spanning from east to west, the U.S. highway system offers some of the most exciting and scenic thoroughfares in the world. To Americans, the term “road trip” brings to mind thoughts of good tunes, open air, serenity and the occasional Slim Jim. But not all road trips are relaxing and serene.
The U.S. is home to some of the most treacherous and dangerous roads known to man. Here are four of the most deadly roadways in America, as well as a few tips on how to tackle them and still make it home in one piece.
Interstate 285, which circles the city of Atlanta, is not technically the most fatal highway in all the land. But when the numbers are crunched into fatalities per each 10-mile stretch, it ranks as No. 1 of the deadliest highways. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows Interstate 285 is one of America’s deadliest freeways. I-285 saw 26 fatal wrecks (second only to Florida’s Interstate 92) and 29 total deaths in 2013. That number may not be startling to everyone. But when considering the length of the highway, that’s 3.5 deaths for every 10 miles, with Interstate 4 reporting three fatalities for every 10 miles.
There are several theories concerning what makes I-285 so dangerous. For starters, there’s the Tom Moreland Interchange, an 18-lane freeway informally known as “Spaghetti Junction, where the I-285 merges with I-85. The confusing and jumbled stretch of highway can often overwhelm out-of-town drivers. Additionally, I-85 sees more than 2 million vehicles on its asphalt per day, many of them tractor trailers, which some believe to be a contributing factor to the high number of accidents. That’s because drivers of smaller vehicles must often change lanes to pass these slow-moving vehicles. As if those two issues were not enough, Interstate 285 is often covered in snow.
If you are driving around Atlanta, know the lay of the (highway) land and never pass a tractor trailer on your right.
One of the longest interstates in the country, Interstate 10 spans all the way from Florida to California, and crosses many routes and highways along the way. Though there are plenty of tricky and perilous parts along the way, the stretch of highway from the California border to Phoenix is perhaps most perilous. This 150-mile section runs through the desolate desert and tallied a total of 85 fatalities in one year, making the I-10 one of the deadliest highways across the US.
If you’re traveling through the desert terrain, make sure your vehicle’s fluids are topped off. Pulling off to the side of the road, particularly at night, increases the likelihood of an accident.
Officially known as the deadliest highway in the United States, the roughly 400-mile stretch of Interstate 92 running north from Miami to the Georgia border has a rate of nearly two fatalities per mile, when measured over a five-year period. At its peak, the highway had 12 open lanes of traffic, but is still overcrowded and constantly busy. Add to the mix the state of Florida’s reputation for extreme weather and a number of out-of-town drivers and you have tragedy waiting to happen.
Do not drive uninsured. I-92 experiences so many traffic collisions that just this section of interstate alone has a state-designated attorney eager to find someone at fault.
Million Dollar Highway
U.S. Highway 550, also known as the Million Dollar Highway, is one of the country’s most beautiful routes, as parts of it winds through the scenic Rocky Mountains. Twelve miles of one 25-mile highway stretch were actually carved into the Rockies in the 1880s and were designed for the transportation of ore. Though those 12 miles are breathtakingly gorgeous, one wrong turn will take you right off a cliff and into a jagged ravine. From Ouray and continuing through to Uncompahgre Gorge, there are no guardrails in sight — nothing between you and the bottom of the canyon.
In an area like this, with tight curves and a steep gradient, your vehicle had better be equipped with ultra, high-performance tires for sharpened steering response and high-speed control.
Taking a Road Trip? Be Prepared for the Deadliest Highways in the US
Though America’s highways may offer unbelievably panoramic landscapes, these scenic sights may come at a high price. Make sure you and your vehicle are ready before hitting America’s open roads to ensure you will have an exciting and safe journey.