In all modes of transportation, road transport is the most significant cause of transport-related accidents in the United States of America. The NHTSA reported that by the end of the last year, 42,915 people had died through motor vehicle accidents, and that was an increase by 10.5% compared to the numbers recorded for 2020. These numbers are so high even though the Federal government has been increasingly pumping money into public transport. The latest records show that it spends $203 billion up to 2019. This article will look at the 10 worst roads in America in 2022.
What Makes a Road to Be Classified Among the Worst Ones?
Before we mention the worst roads in America in 2022, it's good we look at what exactly makes a bad road.
The majority of road accidents take place where there are construction zones. If the road has several construction sites, then there are higher chances that it will have more accidents. The road may also be constructed in total disregard for the expected standards.
Failure to properly mark different parts of the road may confuse drivers. In addition, take note that poor signage also includes the use of wrong signage.
Every road must be designed with respect to the geography of the area it is passing through. Failure to adhere to those requirements may compromise the quality of the road.
The states and federal governments must ensure that each road is maintained correctly and those found causing damage to them are held legally responsible. Failure to maintain means that the road loses its original arterial design.
Failure to Adopt/Upgrade
The world is experiencing changing weather conditions due to climatic change. The government must note this and update the roads to the required standards. Failure to do so will make the road wear out, becoming one of the worst.
10. Interstate 5- South Carolina
The Interstate-5 is one of the main highways which runs from San Diego to the Canadian border in Washington State. The road measures approximately 2223 kilometers. Large populations, high tourist flow, and bad traffic have been the highest causes of accidents on this road. In 2019, the road recorded 20,000 accidents in San Diego alone. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that this is one of the roads where the camera can issue you speeding tickets.
The interstate speed limit on the highway is relatively higher at 70 miles per hour. In 2019, the state was ranked the second worst to drive in the U.S. for accidents, DUIs, citations, fatalities, and speeding tickets. There seems to be a general problem with the maintenance of roads and bridges in the state, with some reported problems going on for more than 30 years without any action being taken.
9. Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap Road- North Carolina
The road covers only 11 miles but is known for its dangerous twists and turns. When you are on this road, you must ensure that you negotiate the turns with a lot of caution, failure to which you will likely get into a head-on collision with a biker or another vehicle. You will likely encounter bikers and thrill-seeks trying to test their speed limits, contributing to some of the most dangerous accidents. In 2019, the stretch recorded 93 crushes, 67% involving motorcycles, and the number has been increasing from one year to another though the death rate has remained steady at 1.5 per year.
8. Mt. Rose Highway- Nevada
Las Vegas has some dangerous roads, but Mt. Rose Highway in Nevada is considered one of the scariest roads in Nevada. The road was built in 1976 and measures 24.4 miles as it meanders through the beautiful sceneries of Lake Tahoe. It runs from Crystal Bay, Carson City, to Virginia City. Due to the rapid population growth of the areas it passes through, the road is structurally constrained.
The most dangerous road is at the highest level, which goes for 9,000 feet. The twisting and unpredictable turn-nature of the road makes it one of the riskiest places to drive. According to The Advocates, the road recorded 300 vehicle accidents in the recent three winters when it is most dangerous to drive in. When driving on this highway, ensure that you usually keep your distance between yourself and your fellow drivers.
7. James Dalton Highway- Alaska Dalton Highway
The James Dalton Highway-Alaska Dalton Highway has featured in all authoritative rankings of "most dangerous roads" and even featured in the production of the film "Ice Road Truckers." the road covers 414 miles through small communities of Fairbanks, and it starts from Livengood to Deadhorse at the shores of the Arctic Ocean.
The road is infamous for having extreme road conditions and comes with a lot of boredom and few stations. The roads record 40 fatal accidents every year. This is one of the roads you can quickly get stuck in the U.S. for very long hours if you run short of gas. Next time you use this highway, you need to ensure that you have extra gas and food, for you will only have three main shopping centers which you shall go through.
6. Highway 17- South Carolina
Highway 17 starts south in Florida, and goes northwards, joining the U.S. 50 in Paris, Virginia. The highway measures 1206.5 miles and has been in existence since 1926. This is one of the scariest roads to drive during the summer. The road winds through dense forest and beautiful scenery, but despite all that, it is hilly and has blind curves and frequent turns, which make it very dangerous. Due to this nature, the authorities have set the speed limit at 55 miles per hour. On the rural areas of the highway, be aware of crossing animals. By July 2020, there were 544 fatalities in the state, and the majority were recorded on this highway.
5. Route 285- West Texas
The route spans three states, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas, through 865 miles. The stretch in West Texas is reported to have the most accidents to the extent that drivers have named it the 'Death Highway." Most of the accidents in this section are attributed to large trucks that carry supplies to and from the Permian Basin, one of the giant oil fields in the area.
The road is so dangerous that the sheriff was afraid of driving on the road unless they were in their official police car. According to the website, since oil exploitation started in the area, it led to a 400 percent increase in traffic accidents by 2015. Different authoritative sources report that the road was experiencing an average number of accidents till the exploitation of oil started in the area.
4. Interstate 95- Rhode Island
It remains one of the greatest wonders that Rhode Island is one of the smallest Islands in the U.S. Yet, it has this dangerous road. Interstate 95 starts from the state's border with Connecticut near Westley and goes through Warwick and Providence to Massachusetts state at Pawtucket. The state is averaged to be 3071 kilometers long. The NHTSA rated the road the most dangerous in the United States in 2019.
According to the official authority, it recorded 284 fatalities per every 100 miles. The most dangerous part of the road is at the Merritt Parkway Mile Marker. According to the Injury Lawyers, the section recorded 561 crashes, including 125 injury-inflicting accidents. It was followed by Route 17 Mile Marker, which recorded 372 accidents; 107 were fatal.
3. The Taconic State Parkway- New York
The Taconic State Highway is the most dangerous road in New York. Drivers know its dangerous intersections, narrow lanes, and inclement weather. The 100 miles road starts from the North of New York City and runs up to Chatham. The government built it into two phases that were 40 years apart, with the Bronx Parkway Extension, running for about 30 miles, is reported to have been built between 1923 to 1932 under the leadership of Engineers Jay Dowler and Leslie G. After several public complaints, the authorities expanded the Southern part of the road from a two-lane to four lanes and lights were installed at the Commerce Street, Stevens Avenue, and the Lakeview Avenue. The Pudding Street across the road at the Putnam Valley has visible cracks.
2. The Million Dollar Highway- Colorado
The Million Dollar Highway is a 233-miles section of the greater San Juan Skyway National Scenic Byway. The road runs from Silverton town to Ouray. The name is derived from the idea that a lot of money was used to construct the road. As the road meanders around the town, it peaks at 11,018 feet at the top of Red Mountain Pass. The road is said to be one of the terrifying roads to drive on at the peak.
The road has cliff edges with no guard rails yet narrow two lanes. Drivers have nicknamed it the 'Highway to Hell.' Unless necessary, you should avoid the road during the Winter season because, at that time, you can easily slip over the stiff latitudes of the road. According to the Van Life Wanderer, the road records an average of 40 accidents each year.
1. Interstate 4- Florida
The Interstate 4 Highway Road ruins the entire Florida state and measures 132.298 miles. The Florida Department of Transportation maintains the road. The general speed limit for both the general and express road lanes is 60 miles per hour. The road is busiest in the morning and afternoon (from 3 to 7 PM). During the weekends, the traffic can go up to 10 and 11 PM. The road also gets high traffic flow from the high number of tourists flowing into Florida state.
The Teletrac reports that the road recorded 150 deaths between 2016 to 2019 only. Specifically, the 132-mile stretch running from Daytona Beach and Tampa has experienced the deadliest crashes. If you want to avoid the I-4 in Florida, you can drive on the South on 95, go through to Orlando on the Beeline (528), and join it at the last part of it.
According to Consumer Affairs, various government reports indicated that Rhode Island, Hawaii, Wisconsin, and California lead the states with the worst road networks. On the other hand, Kansa, Alabama, Kentucky, and North Dakota have the best roads in the U.S.
What should you Do in case You Have to Use These Roads?
There might be situations that will force us to use these roads no matter how bad they are. The chances are that you will likely have an accident on them compared to any other road. You can do the following to ensure that you minimize the accidents, make it through the journey, and prepare for any eventuality.
- Make your favorite trip playlist. It will help you go through bumpy roads with much ease, and a playlist ensures that you will not lose focus when changing your songs.
- Check your insurance; if it's outdated, update it immediately. This will take care of any eventuality you are involved in an unforeseen activity.
- If you feel tired or sleepy, you are allowed to pull over. Remember that these roads are where you need total concentration.
- Drive safely. You can do so by searching on the internet to establish the roads' blind spots and signage and understand why they were previous accidents.
We have extensively discussed the worst roads in the United States in 2022. The chances that you can avoid them might be almost impossible. If you ever find yourself in them, adhere to the instructions we have given you on safe driving. You should feel free to pull up when you see traffic officers, report any unfamiliar feature you might have seen on any given road, or raise it on the available platforms. Remember that these roads are built using our public monies, and we should try to make it a collective responsibility to maintain them.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson