If one thing is universal for all long-haul drivers, truck driving makes for an adventurous career. From scenic highways and regional food to historical monuments and meeting diverse peoples, the job comes with perks that cannot be measured monetarily.
Of course, you’re constantly traveling throughout this adventure. You will stumble across your favorite routes, but some dangerous ones as well. Here are some roads you might want to avoid along your haul.
Million Dollar Highway, Colorado—US Route 550
US Route 550 runs north and south through three 10,000-foot peaks along the spine of the Rocky Mountains. The numbers of traffic deaths and accidents along this highway are low compared to other roads listed below. For sedans, vans and pickups, the route can be scenic, but it’s dangerous for truck drivers. Heavy winds caused the mountainous terrain can be exceptionally hazardous for truck drivers.
Like many urban legends, there are tons of explanations as to how US Route 550 got its name. Some say it cost $1 million a mile to build it, others say they won’t drive the road again for a million dollars.
I-45 Connects Dallas and Houston, but the Dallas portion is especially dangerous, with 56.5 fatal accidents per100 miles. The Houston Chronicle lists I-45 as the second deadliest highway in the U.S. behind…
Yup, the deadliest road in the U.S., according to federal road and safety data analyzed by ValuePenguin. This doozie of a highways starts in Yuba City, California and ends in Bakersfield. Drivers driving along the entire California 99 will drive through Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno, and each cities suburbs along the way. Route 99 sees 62.3 fatal accidents per 100 miles, with Fresno being the deadliest city.
Nebraskans frequently hear the stereotype that nothing exists in the state, which is sort of true and false at the same time. So how did I-80 in Nebraska make the list?
To start, I-80 is the only Interstate connecting the western and eastern borders of the state. Many Nebraskans use the route on a daily basis. In addition, climate science also plays a role.
Nebraska is the only state that is entirely engulfed in “Tornado Alley”—a weather system ranging from South Dakota down to central Texas. Warm moist air for the south mixes with cold dry air from the Rockies, with a jet stream from the west blasting directly through the middle. Nebraska has the fifth most tornadoes per year, with 57. https://www.ustornadoes.com/2014/06/18/nebraska-is-no-stranger-to-tornadoes-especially-in-june/ But when tornadoes are sparse, high winds are extremely common throughout the central and western portion of I-80 in Nebraska. The area’s flatness and lack of windbreaks make for a difficult drive.
Highway 2, Montana
The traffic is sparse compared to other routes on this list, so how does Highway 2 in Montana make this list?
The sparse traffic means commuters tend to drive above posted speed limits on this road which bends and weaves through the northern portion of Montana. Winter can be especially harsh on the road due to black ice, slick conditions and high winds. Emergency response time is hindered due to the region’s rural features. All these traits create severe accidents and difficult conditions for emergency responders and crash victims.
I-40 connects southern California with the North Carolina coast. A report from Geotab found 517 fatalities with 437 crashes from the data analyzed, the second highest number of fatalities along a portion of a road in the country.
US 1, Florida
This data also stems from the Geotab report. If the Tennessee I-40 was number 2, you probably guessed that US-1 in Florida rated at the top. The number of crashes along US-1 was nearly three times higher than Tennessee’s I-40, with double the number of fatalities. This is likely due to the sheer number of people who commute on US-1 every day.
The state of Ohio has been working to reduce the number of crashes on I-71 for almost two decades. Specifically, by widening the road. The narrow highway snakes, zigging and zagging through Ohio, which creates high amounts of head-on collisions from passing and line-crossing vehicles.
Of course, as a truck driver, some roads are impossible to avoid. So, if you find yourself on a route that you know to be dangerous, make sure to take your time and drive carefully. Your life is always more important than your deadline. Stay safe out there!