Most Dangerous Highways by State (New Data)

The most dangerous U.S. highways tend to be those with a lot of congestion and those prone to dangerous conditions like extreme weather. Learn which highways in the U.S. are the most deadly and how to make sure you have the car insurance coverage you need.

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UPDATED: Jun 15, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: Jun 15, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • Each state has dangerous highways, but some routes claim far more lives than others
  • States with the deadliest highways or interstates include Florida, Texas, and California
  • You can stay safe by pulling over when you’re fatigued, remaining alert, and planning ahead

Recent trends show that American drivers are performing worse than usual. Traffic fatalities rose by 11% in 2021, and it doesn’t seem like the numbers will drop any time soon.

While drivers should always be alert when they get behind the wheel, certain areas present greater danger. Each state has its fair share of deadly roadways, from interstates stretching the entire country to small highways under 100 miles.

A solid car insurance policy can help repair your vehicle after an accident, but you’ll need other safety techniques to ensure you don’t join the rising fatality statistic. Staying alert, getting off the road when you’re sleepy, and planning are integral to getting home safely.

Read on to learn where the most dangerous highways are in America and explore ways to keep you and your family safe whenever you need to travel.

What are the most dangerous U.S. highways by state?

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Americans drive about four trillion miles every year, or about 14,500 miles per person. With all that time on the road, it’s no wonder why there are so many injuries and fatalities on American highways.

According to the Insurance Insurance Information Institute, 38,000 people lost their lives in a traffic accident in 2020, representing an increase of over 7% from 2019.

Although there’s always a chance of being involved in an accident, some roads are more dangerous than others. Every state has a highway that claims the most lives, and you can check your home state below.

StateHighwayAverage Fatalities per Year
AlabamaI-6533
AlaskaRoute 34
ArizonaI-4035
ArkansasU.S. 6514
CaliforniaU.S. 19911.5
ColoradoU.S. 6011
ConnecticutI-9516.4
DelawareU.S. 1313
FloridaU.S. 1108
GeorgiaState Route 1114
HawaiiRoute 117.2
IdahoU.S. 9516
IllinoisU.S. 4511
IndianaU.S. 4111.1
IowaI-8019
KansasI-7015.5
KentuckyU.S. 6212
LouisianaU.S. 9029.5
MaineU.S. 110
MarylandU.S. 113.5
MassachusettsI-4959.5
MichiganU.S. 3131
MinnesotaU.S. 1697
MississippiU.S. 6114
MissouriU.S. 6318
MontanaU.S. 215
NebraskaI-8023.5
NevadaI-8017
New HampshireI-936
New JerseyU.S. 13011
New MexicoI-4040
New YorkI-8719
North CarolinaI-9524
North DakotaU.S. 210
OhioI-7119
OklahomaU.S. 6915
OregonU.S. 10114
PennsylvaniaI-8011.5
Rhode IslandI-954
South CarolinaI-9530
South DakotaU.S. 185.5
TennesseeI-4052
TexasU.S. 8334
UtahU.S. 8913
VermontU.S. 75.3
VirginiaU.S. 46021
WashingtonI-526
West VirginiaU.S. 1911
WisconsinI-9413
Wyoming I-8021
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As you can see, some highways are deadlier than others. For example, U.S. 1 in Florida claims far more lives than Alaska’s Route 3.

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Top 10 Most Dangerous Roads in America

The top 10 most dangerous roads span the United States but share a few characteristics ranging from bad weather to poor maintenance.

While you should always drive carefully, you should take extra caution if you take the following roads:

  • U.S. Highway 1 in Florida. Running along the east coast, U.S. Highway 1 stretches from Key West to Maine. There have been over 1,000 deaths on Highway 1, representing a third of all traffic fatalities in Florida.
  • U.S. Highway 83 in Texas. Also known as the Texas Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway, U.S. Highway 83 spans about 900 miles and sees an average of 26 deaths per year.
  • Interstate 4 in Florida. I-4 is a deadly combination of tourist congestion and the daily commute of Floridians, though the state has made a significant effort to improve its safety.
  • State Road 138 in California. With the nickname “Death Trap Highway,” State Road 138 has a reputation for terror due to drop-offs, poor visibility, and sharp turns.
  • Route 6 in Connecticut. Although Route 6 is relatively short and Connecticut has a small population, this highway has claimed many lives. Serious efforts to improve safety have helped, but Route 6 is still a dangerous drive.
  • Interstate 40 in Arizona. I-40 is dangerous in every state it runs through, but Arizona consistently sees traffic fatalities here.
  • Interstate 5 in California. Although many roads in California are dangerous, I-5 sees frequent traffic fatalities typically caused by congestion.
  • U.S. Highway 431 in Alabama. The World Health Organization dubbed U.S. 431 one of the most dangerous roads globally in 2013. It had the fourth-most deaths of any U.S. highway that year, but Alabama is steadily improving its safety.
  • Interstate 80 in Wyoming. Wyoming’s section of I-80 is dangerous due to wind, winter weather, and changing road conditions.
  • Route 550 in Colorado. Another short highway, Route 550, is particularly dangerous after a snowstorm.

While many factors make some roads more dangerous, the top 10 most dangerous U.S. highways are consistently deadly.

What interstates are the overall deadliest?

While highways are often dangerous, they are typically confined to one state and have a limited number of daily drivers. On the other hand, interstates cross state borders and have far more drivers.

Interstates have more opportunities for accidents and fatalities. Here are the 10 most dangerous interstates in America:

InterstateTotal Deaths in 2019Fatalities per 100 MilesStarting LocationEnding Location
I-9528414.99Miami, FloridaCanadian border, Maine
I-402539.89Barstow, CaliforniaWilmington, North Carolina
I-7523713.27Miami Lakes, FloridaCanadian border, Michigan
I-802097.21San Francisco, CaliforniaTeaneck, New Jersey
I-2020813.52Scroggins Draw, TexasFlorence, South Carolina
I-3519712.56Laredo, TexasDuluth, Minnesota
I-518613.47Mexican border, CaliforniaCanadian border, Washington
I-1515811.02San Diego, CaliforniaSweet Grass, Montana
I-701587.35Near Cove Fort, UtahBaltimore, Maryland
U.S. 411417.02Miami, FloridaFt. Wilkins State Park, Michigan
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These interstates represent millions of Americans traveling between states and are popular routes for semi-trucks. However, each interstate has its own perils, so drivers should always be cautious when planning to drive on any of these routes.

What makes a highway dangerous?

Each of the most dangerous highways has a unique blend of factors that make driving hazardous. However, some elements are consistently involved in traffic fatalities, including:

  • Outdated infrastructure. Outdated infrastructure includes faded paint, confusing signs, missing guardrails, potholes, and burned-out lights.
  • Heavy congestion. Heavy traffic can inspire reckless driving or road rage and exposes you to more inexperienced, intoxicated, or dangerous drivers.
  • Weather. States with extreme weather conditions always present a driving danger, especially in areas with intense winter storms that cause a lot of crashes.
  • Perilous conditions. Mountain roads with steep drop-offs, wind tunnels, routes with sharp turns, and other dangerous situations often lead to traffic fatalities.

Although many highways are dangerous to drive on, there are ways to prepare yourself. Above all, drivers need to stay alert and attentive while operating a car, no matter where they travel.

How to Stay Safe on Highways

With traffic incidents and fatalities on the rise, it’s more important than ever to be a safe driver. Even drivers with decades of experience can benefit from the following safety tips:

  • Plan ahead. If you know you’re about to start a long drive, check the weather and road conditions for each part of your journey. Then, if you can, choose a time to leave with optimal conditions.
  • Stay alert. While you should always keep your eyes on the road, it’s essential if you plan on driving a dangerous highway.
  • Obey traffic laws. Keep your speed down, use indicators, maintain a safe distance between you and the next car, and carry car insurance to protect you and other drivers.
  • Avoid distractions. You should never text and drive, especially on dangerous roads. You should also save snacking or interacting with rowdy passengers until you’re in a safer spot.
  • Pull over if you’re sleepy. Fatigued driving is as dangerous as driving drunk. Find a place to get some sleep for the night or let someone else take a turn behind the wheel.

Even the most cautious drivers will sometimes find themselves in an accident. From black ice making you skid into another car to an aggressive driver brake checking you, there are many ways for something to go wrong.

Most states require a minimum amount of liability insurance, but you should carry more coverage if you can afford it. A collision policy will help repair your car if you get in an accident, no matter who is at fault. 

You can also get uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to help protect yourself from drivers without coverage and personal injury protection to help pay for medical bills after an accident.

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Find the Right Coverage to Handle Any Highway

Although you probably need liability insurance to drive in your state legally, a long road trip is a great time to reevaluate your insurance needs. If you know you’ll be on one of the most dangerous U.S. highways, consider adding collision insurance to your policy.

When you’re ready to add collision, uninsured/underinsured motorist, or personal injury protection to your insurance policy, your first step should be shopping around. Comparing rates and possibly switching insurance companies will help you find the best rates possible.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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