Deadliest-Highways

Statistically, driving or being in a vehicle is one of the most dangerous activities that almost everyone participates in every day. According to Fatal Accident Reporting System data retrieved from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 35,092 traffic fatalities in the United States in 2015, which averages to nearly 100 per day. Of these crashes, 10,396 took place on U.S. highways and interstates alone.

This does not mean that the U.S. has more dangerous roads than other countries—according to the World Health Organization, our roads and highways are actually in the top 25 safest per million miles driven.

However, across the nation there are some highways and interstates that see an above average number of fatal crashes per year. In late 2017, GPS fleet tracking software provider, Teltrac Navman, analyzed data collected on its platform over a five-year period from 2010 – 2015. Based on fatalities per mile, these are the ten most dangerous highways in America:

Highway with starting and ending points Deaths per mile of highway
I-4 Tampa, FL – Daytona Beach, FL 1.250
I-45 Dallas, TX – Galveston, TX 1.018
US-192 Four Corners, FL – Indialantic, FL .867
I-17 Flagstaff, AZ – Phoenix, AZ .843
I-95 Miami, FL – Weston, MA .730
I-10 Santa Monica, CA – Jacksonville, FL .703
US-175 Dallas, TX – Jacksonville, TX .685
I-37 San Antonio, TX – Corpus Christi, TX .650
US-290 Junction, TX – Houston, TX .632
I-78 Union Township, PA – New York, NY .625

As a professional driver, avoiding these highways is not always reasonable or safer. However, there are definitely steps you can take to avoid being involved in a highway crash. Maintaining a safe speed and following distance is paramount to smart driving. Vehicle stability and control diminishes as speed increases.

Here are some suggestions on managing a safe speed:

  • Obey posted speed limits. With the technology used by many motor carriers, leverage this information to monitor driver speed and driving habits. Provide guidance and coaching as necessary to generate safety awareness and performance.
  • A driver’s speed should not exceed the posted speed limit, which only applies when conditions are favorable. Slower speeds are necessary for heavy traffic and less-than-dry weather conditions. Reduce speed when your vision is restricted. At night and when fog or other conditions restrict visibility, reduce speed to a point that enables you to recognize a hazard, determine a proper defense, and stop within the distance you see ahead. Turn off your cruise control and turn on your lights.
  • Reduce speed when traction is reduced. Always reduce your speed when rain, snow, ice or other adverse road or weather conditions exist. Vehicles do not respond as quickly in less than favorable road conditions. Do not overestimate your vehicle’s ability to stop or react in time.
  • Adapt your speed to account for regularly changing situations and circumstances that increase the possibility for human errors that can lead to crashes.

Following distance is another critical collision avoidance technique that is often overlooked. Most drivers have what they feel to be a safe following distance behind other vehicles—but this distance is generally too close for real safety. Commercial vehicle safe following distances start with the basic of at least 1 second for every 10 feet of vehicle length and never less than 7 seconds. Add one additional second for driving over 40 miles per hour and for each adverse condition, such as snow, rain, fog, ice or darkness. In addition, add one second of following distance for every two hours of driving time, and always add a tailgater’s following distance to your following distance.

What else can a professional driver do to prevent a crash?

  • Put away the cell phone and other distractions—including hands-free devices. These devices not only create a physical and visual distraction, but a more serious mental distraction causing drivers not to recognize or react to a hazard in time.
  • Scan the road ahead as far as you can see and look for hazards in the distance and be prepared for hazards you cannot yet see beyond that horizon, hill, or curve. Recognizing hazards well in advance gives you time to slow down in a controlled fashion and gives those behind you time to slow down as well, even if they are tailgating you or not paying attention.
  • You should absolutely monitor your own safe driving performance, but it is just as critical to monitor those around you as well. Be watchful for others that are speeding, driving distracted, showing signs of impairment and other unsafe acts, and be prepared so you can avoid being involved in a collision with them.

High crash areas such as those identified above typically have at least three things in common: speeding and/or driving too fast for conditions, unsafe following distance and distracted driving. Summer months cause heavier congestion with drivers that are not normally accustomed to traveling.

For more tips, check out our Safe Speed & Following Distance Safety Solution card! To request free print copies or access a PDF version, go to Protective's Resource Library.

Curious to see what the other 15 dangerous highways are on Teltrac Navman’s list? We’ll be sharing them on Protective’s social media channels in the coming months. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to see the rest!

  • Categorized in:
  • Injury Prevention
  • Driving Techniques
  • Transportation Safety