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The Most Dangerous Roads for Truckers in the United States

While trucking may not be the most dangerous job out there (that usually goes to fishing and hunting workers as well as certain construction trades), that doesn’t mean that it’s a walk in the park. Truckers can find themselves dealing with a wide range of dangers while traveling, from equipment failures and driving accidents to long-term health injuries.

Sometimes the dangers come from truckers — for example, driving drowsy or driving under the influence — but often they’re caused by outside events that lead to accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. Seasoned drivers know to be on the lookout for reckless drivers, construction, and issues with their vehicle, but too many forget that even the road can be a hazard sometimes.

There are plenty of dangerous roads for trucks throughout the U.S., and knowing where they are and why they’re a problem is the first step to staying safe during your next trip. Keep reading below for our advice on how to spot a dangerous road for truckers and a list of some of the deadliest and most treacherous places in America.

What Leads to Dangerous Truck Roads?

Any road can be dangerous if drivers aren’t being careful, but there are quite a few that can cause problems even for the most careful drivers. Unsafe roads can lead to devastating crashes, injuries, and even fatalities, so learning how to recognize and — if possible — avoid unsafe conditions can help truckers stay safe. Here are some of the elements that the most dangerous road for truckers have in common.

Unsafe Conditions

Whether because they’re seldom traveled or because the government can’t pay for their upkeep, some roads are just plain bad. We’re talking potholes, missing signs, missing barriers or guardrails, faded line markings, pockmarked surfaces, and more. All of these make it much more difficult for truckers to stay safe and can lead to accidents even when trying to drive cautiously.

Poor Design

Every so often, you’ll probably find yourself driving on something that feels like it was designed by a toddler — in other words, it’s just plain bad. There are plenty of roads in the U.S. that aren’t as safe as they might be, simply because they weren’t given the proper consideration. Poorly designed roads are far more likely to sport dangerous speed limits, sharp corners, blind curves, unsafe grades, improper width, and a lack of lighting — all of which means that truckers have to pay more attention to their driving and hope that others are doing the same.

Inclement Weather

Unfortunately, there’s no one to blame for roads that are prone to turbulent weather. From foggy coastline routes to freezing mountain passes to the windy and tornado-prone Midwest, different regions offer different weather hazards. Every trucker needs to be prepared for inclement weather as it can quickly turn a safe road into an unsafe one.

Traffic

We all know that heavy traffic can be dangerous — bumper to bumper, everyone gets a little on the edge, which makes an accident more likely to happen — but did you know that a lack of traffic isn’t necessarily any better? Rural areas often house some of the most dangerous roads for truckers and smaller vehicles alike. This is due in part to the distance from assistance, as well as a false sense of security, which causes drivers to let down their guard.

Hazards on the Road

Some roads are more prone to sudden hazards that can cause accidents from impact or from swerving to avoid an impact. Mountainous areas, for example, are likely to experience falling rocks, trees, and debris. Truckers can also encounter flooding along certain coastal roads (especially in Hawaii) or the sudden appearance of wildlife; even urban areas present a hazard in the form of unwary pedestrians.

13 Dangerous Roads in the U.S. for Truckers

Now we’ll look at some of the most dangerous truck roads running across America. But what is it that makes them so worrisome? Many of those who look at dangerous roads base their decisions solely on the number of fatalities the area has. While we consider this factor, we also look at what makes a section of pavement so dangerous in the first place.

The American West

Unsurprisingly, many a dangerous road for truckers can be found in the West due to its high population, varying landscapes, and diverse weather. Here are some of the top picks.

U.S. Highway 2 in Montana

This roadway runs through several states, but no section is more dangerous than the one in Montana where the highway has one of the highest accident and death rates in America. High speed limits, sparsely populated areas, a lack of other drivers, and the potential for dangerous weather conditions all combine to make this one of the most dangerous truck roads on our list.

The Million Dollar Highway/Route 550

This breathtakingly scenic mountainous route weaves throughout Colorado, but taking in the gorgeous sights isn’t advised when you’re doing the driving. This place is infamous for its hairpin curves, narrow lanes, lack of guardrails, and steep, sheer drop-offs — not to mention that it’s prone to nasty weather, slippery snow and ice, and even avalanches. Truckers who take this route, beware.

California Deathway/Route 138

Also known by its nicknames “Highway of Death” and “Blood Alley,” Route 138 in California makes it to our list, thanks to its sheer variety of dangerous elements. Truckers traveling this way have a lot to watch out for, from twisting and narrow mountain lanes to crowded urban roads. And while Route 138 has been undergoing improvements in the past few decades, it still requires intense focus to navigate safely.

Interstate 15

This nearly 300-mile road stretches from San Diego, California, to the Canadian border and passes through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Montana along the way. I-15 is prone to congestion, which means that it’s prone to more accidents. When you add in the fact that several stretches of I-15 have extreme wind, high speed limits — 75 mph or more — and rural areas are riddled with wildlife crossings, it’s easy to see why extreme caution is required here.

The Eastern United States

While the East Coast and the surrounding states can be an idyllic place to drive, that doesn’t mean that this area is the safest, especially for truckers. You’ll find quite a few dangerous trucking roads here.

Interstate 95

When it comes to the most dangerous South Carolina roads, trucking veterans agree that Interstate 95 holds the top spot. This is the longest north-south interstate in America, stretching from Miami, Florida, to the Houlton-Woodstock Border Crossing in Maine. It passes through 15 states and plenty of major metropolitan areas, making it one of the busiest freeways in the country. As such, it’s prone to long jams and reckless drivers. Certain stretches also add the hazard of winding and twisting drives, steep hills, and limited law enforcement, making this one of the most dangerous roads in the U.S. for truckers.

Interstate 4

Florida is home to some of the deadliest roads in America, and I-4 is no exception. In the past, it’s been called the most dangerous highway in America, thanks to its high rate of fatal crashes. Truckers taking this route will want to stay alert for potential danger spots.

The Tail of the Dragon/U.S. 129

With over 300 turns in just 11 miles, U.S. 129 in North Carolina may be ideal for a smaller car but certainly requires cautious driving if you’re a trucker. And when you add the dangerous design to the fact that this area is frequented by fast sports cars and motorcyclists — and has no gas stations or rest stops — it’s easy to see why driving along these blind curves can lead to catastrophe even for the most careful trucker.

The Cross Bronx Expressway

This major freeway in the Bronx tops our list of most dangerous roads for truckers in New York for a variety of reasons. Not only is it one of the most congested areas in the country, but it also suffers from poor maintenance, narrow lanes, and a plethora of accidents, which gave it the title of the 2nd most dangerous spot in the country in 2019.

The Middle of the U.S.

If you look at a map of dangerous roads, you may notice that most of them are concentrated around the perimeter of the U.S., but that doesn’t mean the inner states don’t have a few of their own. You’ll find many a dangerous road for truckers in the middle of America, including the ones below.

Interstate 10 in Arizona

With its lack of barriers, heavy traffic, and limited amenities, it’s obvious why Interstate 10 in Arizona can be a tough drive. And that’s not even the end of it! Long stretches of desert road can also lull truckers and other drivers into a sense of security, causing them to drive faster or more recklessly than they might otherwise — and that’s always a recipe for disaster.

Interstate 45

Driving in Texas is already looking to be risky these days, and that’s especially true for truckers on I-45. This runs from Galveston to Dallas and is known as the most dangerous road for truckers in Texas. Thanks to its sheer amount of traffic, speeding, and reckless drivers, it comes as little shock that Interstate 45 was once named the deadliest road in the USA.

The Killway/U.S. 24 Fort Wayne to Toledo

You know that caution is required on a road with a name like “The Killway.” Though only a few hundred miles long, this stretch of Route 24 is the main route for commercial good transportation, which makes the narrow lanes all the more incongruous. Heavy trucker traffic combined with blind curves and tight turns gives this one a place on our list.

Non-Contiguous States

It’s not just the continental U.S. that offers dangerous trucking roads. While Hawaii, Alaska, and various U.S. islands may not be a part of the lower 48, they still have some notable areas that truckers should watch out for.

Dalton Road

It should come as no surprise that this state is subject to very dangerous weather, but that’s not the only thing that gives Dalton Highway a place on our list. These 414 miles of rural space have very few people and even few conveniences — it’s not known as the loneliest road for nothing and you’re not likely to run into anyone else for a long time when you travel it. Large sections of Dalton Road are unpaved or unmaintained, and there is frequent wildlife. For any trucker driving this route, be sure to be prepared with emergency care just in case you have to wait for assistance in the bitter cold.

Kamehameha Highway

The trucking industry in Hawaii is unique, to say the least. This booming state boasts plenty of places that you wouldn’t want to take a bicycle, let alone a heavy-duty rig or light truck. Still, trucking must go on, right? Kamehameha Highway is one of Hawaii’s main roads, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy drive. Twists, turns, tourists, and coastal weather all combine to create the potential for a dangerous drive.

It’s important to remember that this is in no way a comprehensive list. Even if a road you’re taking doesn’t appear on the list above, you’re not necessarily in the clear. Any highway, interstate, or street can be dangerous for a trucker, especially for those who aren’t paying attention to their surroundings.

How to Travel Safely on Dangerous Trucking Roads

While extra caution is required for dangerous trucking roads,  it’s important to practice safe driving no matter where you’re at. Truckers can help avoid accidents and crashes anywhere by following these safety measures:

  • Don’t speed, even if it seems safe to do so.
  • Don’t drive aggressively or recklessly, even if you’re alone.
  • Do anticipate hazards and plan on how to navigate them before they happen.
  • Do stay alert to your surroundings at all times — don’t drive distracted.
  • Do watch how others are driving — local drivers often know the area better than you do.
  • Do be prepared with emergency items such as extra clothing, food, water, first aid kits, maintenance equipment, and a communication device.
  • Don’t forget standard safety practices, such as wearing a seatbelt.
  • Do research your route before you go to learn more about the roads you’ll be traveling.

Find the Resources and Support you Need at Logity Dispatch

At Logity Dispatch, our mission is to take care of our truckers in every way that we can. Whether that’s by providing great advice and relevant info on our blog or assistance with freight dispatch, billing, or other services, our team is ready to help. No matter where you drive or where you’re based, we’re here for you. Reach out to our friendly team today online or by calling +1 (302) 425-9313-15 to learn more about how we can help make your trucking journey safer, more profitable, and more enjoyable.