Watch out for America’s 100 most dangerous roads during your summer travels

What season is most dangerous to drive, winter or summer? If you said winter, you join about 83% of surveyed Americans. But the reality is that the three months of summer have the highest auto accident rates, accounting for about one in three fatalities. And as we’ve discussed before, Saturdays in August are some of the most dangerous days to drive.
When it comes to summer driving safety, there are definitely some spots that are hotter than others. The Daily Beast crunched the numbers on data 5 years of data from the National Highway Safety Administration to come up with a list of 100 U.S. interstates most likely to generate a fatal crash.
For another take on unsafe roads, you might turn to SafeRoadMaps, which offers a variety of interactive maps to tracks fatality data . See their report on states with the most rural summer hotspots (PDF).
Jon Burner of Forbes recently wrote an interesting article about America’s fastest roads – highways where speeds often exceed 90 mph. While many of these roads tend to be long, straight highways in desolate areas, but the article cites some notorious urban areas too:

“The fastest road near an urban area is California Route 73, a six-lane freeway in Orange County that connects Santa Ana and San Juan Capistrano through the San Joaquin Hills. While the speed limit on that stretch is 65 miles per hour, the fastest 5% of drivers average speeds around 82 miles per hour over 17 miles of roadway.
Inrix’s statistics also show that New Yorkers really do drive fast. The Westchester County suburbs of New York City are home to the fastest road in the eastern U.S. — and one of only two East Coast roads that made the list. Drivers on the winding, heavily traveled Saw Mill River Parkway frequently reach speeds of 78 to 85 miles per hour between the towns of Elmsford and Hawthorne, despite the 50-mile-per-hour speed limit.
Connecticut has the fastest stretch of Interstate highway in the country, according to Inrix. Over a one-mile distance on Interstate 84 northeast of Hartford, the fastest 5 percent of drivers routinely flaunt the 65-mile-per-hour speed limit by driving 85 miles per hour.”

For more on deadly roads, see our prior post about the deadliest US roads – which includes a bonus breath-taking video on Bolivia’s death road, called the most dangerous road on earth.

The deadliest U.S. roads

Fox news just issued their list of The Top Ten Deadliest Stretches of Road in America. To compile this list, they analyzed five years of crash reports to determine which roads had the highest number of deadly accidents. For those of us in New England, the good news is that none of those roads are located here. California has four roads on the list; Florida and Arizona both have two roads on the list; and Texas and Nevada both have one. See a comparison chart of all states auto fatalities and fatality rates.
But New England drivers shouldn’t relax. Nearly 60% of all highway deaths occur on rural roads, and two New England states appear on a 2005 report of states with the highest percentage of rural road fatalities:

  • Maine (92%)
  • North Dakota (90%)
  • South Dakota (89%)
  • Iowa (88%)
  • Vermont (88%)
  • Montana (86%)
  • Wyoming (84%)
  • South Carolina (83%)
  • Mississippi (82%)
  • Arkansas (81%)
  • West Virginia (80%)
  • Minnesota (72%)
  • Wisconsin (68%)

If you’d like to check the safety of the roads in your neighborhood or on your commuting route, there’s a terrific tool developed by University of Minnesota researchers which allows you to do just that. It combines information from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System with Google Maps to offer a visual representation of traffic safety across the U.S. You can enter an address and view the roads that have the highest number of traffic fatalities in a specified area, or you can view data for your state.
Most dangerous road in the world
As treacherous as some U.S. roads can be, they pale in comparison with Bolivia’s Death Road, a 60 to 70 kilometer mountainous stretch between La Paz and Coroico, which is often cited as the most dangerous road in the world. It’s been the subject of numerous televised reports – watch a 6 minute clip: