Most Dangerous Road in Every U.S. State
After a close call while changing lanes or a frustrating fender-bender on a road trip, have you ever wondered whether some roads truly are more dangerous than others? Or is it just in your imagination?
Geotab, a fleet tracking and management company, decided to crunch the numbers and find out. Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration, the company was able to determine the most dangerous highway in every state, then rank them from least to most hazardous. It’s an important topic, as traffic accidents killed an estimated 40,000 people last year, according to federal statistics.
If you’re planning to hit the open road soon, don’t let this ranking spook you — though you may consider using it to help plan your route.
Rhode Island's longest highway and the main one serving the popular tourist destination of Providence is known to be the state's most difficult to drive, due to sharp curves that have (accurately) been called “treacherous.”
Still, compared to other highways on the list, this one's relatively safe.
*To come up with this list, Geotab analyzed the number of annual road fatalities and average daily traffic counts to determine a fatal crash rate. See the complete methodology for the rankings here.
As the main highway in New Hampshire, I-93 sees a lot of truck traffic, which can result in some deadly — and just plain bizarre — accidents (for example, a truck driver’s sneeze caused a recent fiery crash).
The ticket to outdoor adventure in White Mountain National Forest, this road nonetheless remains a popular route for tourists.
With lots of snowstorms every year, the roads in Minnesota — including US-169 — can turn icy and dangerous in the blink of an eye. Still, if you drive carefully, this route can take you to all the shopping, attractions and outdoor recreation of the popular Twin Cities region.
As the outer beltway around historic Boston, I-495 is a popular route that intersects with seven expressways, so accidents are a near-daily headache. It’s also hurt by its diverse array of drivers, from long-haul truckers to short-haul locals. As one local law office put it, “Route 495 sees distinct types of traffic that mix as well as dynamite and an open flame.”
Passing through the popular tourist destinations of Wisconsin Dells and Milwaukee, the most populated city in Wisconsin, I-94 sees its fair share of drivers behaving badly.
Take a scenic tour of Connecticut’s southern coastal cities like New Haven (home of Yale), Milford (which has a quaint downtown) and Stamford (where you can get some fresh air at Cove Island Park) via this popular road. But do so while driving carefully, as this has also been called a “nightmare” due to rampant congestion and crashes.
As the main route between Alaska’s largest cities, Anchorage and Fairbanks, Route 3 is the state’s most dangerous road. But as Geotab pointed out, with fewer than four road deaths per year, it’s actually relatively safe compared to highways in other states. So if you’re planning a road trip to Denali National Park, maybe don’t lose any sleep.
Want to visit the Big Apple or Montreal? You may end up driving on Interstate 87, the north-south highway that runs between these two bustling cities and suffers the inevitable consequences of heavy traffic.
On Interstate 80 in Nebraska, keep an eye on the semi trucks and be sure to check the weather during the winter months, as snowstorms can make this east-west thoroughfare super dicey.
Even so, it can get you to Lincoln and Omaha, two burgeoning cities in the far eastern part of the state with delicious culinary and craft-beer scenes.
As the region’s primary north-south route, Interstate 5 sees a lot of traffic in the state, particularly around the popular tourist destinations of Seattle and Tacoma. The state would benefit mightily from a wider highway, but as of now, lacks the means to make that happen.
Dense foliage, lots of traffic, snow and wind, and confusing lanes and on-ramps all make Interstate 71 particularly precarious, though it’s a major route for tourist destinations like Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.
U.S. 7 is hilly in parts, but it’s one of Vermont’s most scenic drives, passing through the Lake Champlain region, which is especially gorgeous in the fall when the leaves start to change.
Though it skips over Nevada’s most popular tourist destination, Las Vegas, Interstate 80 can get you to Reno, which has plenty of its own casinos and attractions. Just keep your seatbelt buckled and your eyes on the road at all times, especially if it starts to snow. (In the winter, it’s not uncommon for chains to be required.)
Traversing north and south for roughly 100 miles through Delaware, passing through the state’s capital of Dover along the way, U.S. 13 is especially dangerous for pedestrians because it has wide lanes that can lead to speeding.
Route 11 is one of the three roads that make up the Hawai’i Belt Road, which circles the Island of Hawai’i. The road, which connects Hilo and Kailua-Kona, can take you to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, an ever-changing wilderness area with two active volcanoes.
Interstate 70 is a major east-west route through Kansas, traveling between Kansas City and the state’s border with Colorado. You could really plan an entire road trip around Topeka, the state’s capital. Your itinerary will be as diverse as your family’s interests — Topeka’s attractions range from the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site to the Evel Knievel Thrill Show Museum.
Just make sure to heed these safety tips as you explore.
Running east and west through Pennsylvania for a little more than 300 miles, Interstate 80 travels mostly through rural parts of the state, offering visitors a quiet drive through mountains and curves. But be careful, as the road can get overcrowded and has too many potholes and other structural issues.
Running along the shore of Lake Michigan, U.S. 31 stops in several of Michigan’s tourism hot spots, including Holland, the city with a world-famous tulip festival, and Traverse City, home to the Sleep Bear Dunes.
The highway is actually not all that dangerous in general, but becomes quite hazardous during lake effect snowstorms.
Though it’s just 80 miles long, U.S. 130 is New Jersey’s most dangerous route. As you use it to explore towns like New Brunswick — which has a great theater scene and historic buildings dating back to the early 1700s — follow the speed limit and you should be fine.
U.S. 45 stretches north and south for nearly 430 miles through Illinois, hitting the outskirts of Chicago along the way. You’ll pass right by O’Hare International Airport, one of the country’s major transit hubs.
As with other Midwestern states on this list, the main issue is dangerous conditions during snowy winters.
Interstate 80 is a bustling thoroughfare through Iowa (there’s lots of truck traffic here) that hits many of the state’s major population centers, like Des Moines and the Quad Cities. If you go a few miles off the interstate, you can explore the Amana Colonies, a unique community with German roots.
U.S. 89 is called “Heritage Highway 89” through Utah and if you have a little time to spare, you can explore the country’s Western heritage, the gorgeous landscape of Bryce Canyon and the urban environment of Salt Lake City.
There’s been talk of the road being upgraded into a full freeway, which could improve safety conditions if it comes to pass.
Running along Indiana’s far western edge, U.S. 41 is a north-south highway connecting Evansville to Chicago. For a little levity during your road trip, be sure to visit the Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy in Vincennes.
If it’s raining, just drive slowly to avoid an accident. (Wet pavement is one of the highway’s main issues.)
Hit Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville on your next road trip through Tennessee. But keep your wits about you as you travel along Interstate 40, which has lots of hills and curves and can see some high winds.
U.S. 2 through North Dakota hits lots of the state’s northern cities, including Minot, Devils Lake and Grand Forks, which has a lively arts and entertainment and outdoor recreation scene.
Good news for drivers: Large sections of this route were recently rehabbed.
Passing from the outskirts of Bethesda all the way through Baltimore, U.S. 1 can help you explore much of eastern Maryland, including the National Cryptologic Museum, the first public museum of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
Earlier this year, officials implemented reduced speed limits here in an effort to curb accidents.
You could plan a seriously awesome road trip on Interstate 65 in Alabama (as long as you drive safely!), hitting up spots like Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham and Decatur along the journey.
Some sections of U.S. 36 in Missouri have lots of twists and turns and only two lanes, making it more challenging for drivers heading to the Ozarks or Jefferson City, a lively Midwestern city along the Missouri River.
Hank Williams fans may be willing to ignore the crash statistics to take a road trip along U.S. 19 in West Virginia. The country music star reportedly died of a heart attack while traveling in the backseat of a blue Cadillac to a New Year’s Eve concert via U.S. 19. The Skyline Drive-In, one of Williams’ last stops, is still standing.
Despite the high number of crashes, U.S. 1 in Maine is the perfect road-trip route for seeing seaside museums, shops and amusement parks along Maine’s coast.
In July, the Maine Department of Transportation launched a safety study of the highway, which could bode well for future improvements.
The longest route in Georgia, Highway 11 passes through cities like Macon, home of cultural sites including The Allman Brothers Band Museum and The Tubman African American Museum.
Georgia’s I-285 has also been singled out as a particularly dangerous highway. Be careful while road-tripping in this state!
Though southern Colorado is beautiful, it can also make for some sketchy driving conditions if you’re not used to the mountains. Particularly hazardous is the highway’s Wolf Creek Pass, which takes drivers over the Continental Divide through the San Juan Mountains.
It’s steep, has lots of switchbacks and hairpin turns, and gets hit frequently with inclement weather. As the Colorado Department of Transportation puts it: “Beware the Wolf.”
I-95 is a major thoroughfare for the eastern coast of the United States — including in North Carolina — so it sees its fair share of accidents. But it also has some pretty cool road-trip stops, like the Cryptozoology & Paranormal Museum in Littleton and the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville.
If you’re a blues fan, you may take the risk and travel along U.S. 61 anyway, since it doubles as The Mississippi Blues Trail. The road has made cameo appearances in the lyrics of many blues songs.
Varying speed limits, bumpy road conditions and a lack of interstate-style on-ramps make U.S. 69 risky all the way from the Texas border to Tulsa, where out-of-towners travel to check out must-see Art Deco architecture.
U.S. 95 is plagued by mudslides, rock slides, flooding and snow storms, but it’s also a scenic way to explore the entire western half of the state, from Lake Coeur d’Alene to Lucky Peak State Park near Boise.
Some blame negligent driving through construction zones for the high number of crashes and fatalities on U.S. 65 through Arkansas, so keep your eyes focused on the road as you pass through Little Rock, where you can visit Bill Clinton’s Presidential Library and Museum.
U.S. 460 in Virginia can take you from Norfolk to cities like Petersburg, Lynchburg and Roanoke, where you can get your fill of Civil War history and experience life through Thomas Jefferson’s eyes at his Poplar Forest retreat.
Improvements to the highway began this summer, so you can breathe a little easier as you make your trek.
U.S. 62 is the only U.S. road that runs from Mexico to Canada. Along the way, it travels through a primary tourist section of Kentucky that includes Paducah, home to a gorgeous riverwalk and the National Quilt Museum.
In addition to constant construction and drivers exceeding the speed limit, a high semi-truck to car ratio makes this highway dicey, so keep your distance from truckers as you travel through.
For a scenic tour of southern Louisiana, it’s hard to beat U.S. 90, a less-trafficked way to get from cultural hotbed New Orleans to Lafayette, the heart of Cajun Country.
The main reason for the high accident rate here? A lack of controlled access. Sudden breaking as drivers access the highway via various entry points regularly causes rear-end and side collisions.
Though it won’t take you to historic Charleston, Interstate 95 in South Carolina can help you experience some awesome American roadside attractions, like the UFO Welcome Center and a 200-foot-tall sombrero tower at South of the Border.
A local coroner told the “Charleston City Paper” that people making long treks most frequently fall victim to accidents here. "It's such a long, straight road," he said. "People are at the outer limits of what's physically possible when they get here. They're pushing themselves to go a little bit farther, and it catches up with them."
Without a doubt U.S. 101 is one of the most scenic drives in Oregon and in all of the United States. But the steep inclines, hairpin turns and rocky cliffs that make this coastal highway so beautiful also make it treacherous.
Though the weather can get hazardous along U.S. 2 in northern Montana, that’s also what makes places along the route, like Glacier National Park, so stunning.
Highway 18 runs east and west through southern South Dakota, traveling through several Native American reservations and towns like Hot Springs, home to the epic Evans Plunge Mineral Springs and The Mammoth Site, an active dig site with the largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world.
Officials place much of the blame for its high fatality rate on an unusually high speed limit of 80 mph.
Though Interstate 40 is the most dangerous route in New Mexico, don’t let that stop you from taking it straight to Albuquerque, where you’ll find incredible flamenco performances, Route 66 icons and hidden gems like Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, a working lavender farm with alpacas roaming around.
Interstate 80 is the main east-west route through Wyoming, but it regularly gets iced over from high winds during the winter. In the summer, though, this road should be able to safely get you to Cheyenne Frontier Days, the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and a kickin’ good time.
This east-west interstate through Arizona overlaps and runs parallel to Route 66, so it’s one of the best sightseeing routes in the state, passing through top tourist spots like the Petrified Forest National Park and Winslow (the city made famous by The Eagles).
Officials have been slow to make changes to the route, blaming driver error for accidents instead of the highway itself.
This dangerous east-west interstate through southern California starts in Barstow before passing through Mojave National Preserve, a beautiful 1.6-million-acre wilderness area with mesas, canyons, mountains, sand dunes, and tons of desert flora and fauna.
Construction to fix hazardous conditions has posed its own issues, and the road can become slick from the heat. (Though honestly, you’ll probably want to avoid traveling here during the hot months of summer anyways.)
As the longest highway in Texas — and the most dangerous — U.S. 83 runs north and south for approximately 900 miles, passing through scenic regions like Texas Hill Country. Its sheer length is partly to blame for its high accident rate.
This highway isn’t just the most dangerous in the country — it’s the most dangerous by a long shot, with nearly four times as many crashes and more than three times as many fatalities as the second route on this list.
Lots of tourists and drunk driving contribute to this highway's rather alarming numbers. U.S. 1 is your ticket for an epic road trip from Miami to the Florida Keys, but maybe drive extra carefully on your next Florida vacation.