Top 5 Most Dangerous Roads in the US
Friday, Mar 11 2016 admin
Truck driving jobs come with plenty of dangers. From road rage of other drivers to the mechanical failures of 18 wheelers, you have to be on alert for anything out of the ordinary. Stressful? Sure, but it’s a thrill and good paying job that keeps plenty of truck drivers on the road. Yet there are some roads that are well known for their dangers. Here are some of the most dangerous roads in the US that are frequently traveled by truck drivers.
The Million Dollar Highway
Colorado is recognized for being one of the most dangerous states for truckers thanks to the Rocky Mountains. Here truck drivers have to brave elevations exceeding 10,000 feet on a regular basis, in addition to stomach churning slopes and break neck curves. For example there is a 25 mile section along Highway 550 from Ouray to Silverton that rises to more than 11,000 feet higher than sea level. Passing through the San Juan Mountains and the Red Mountain Pass, the road has no guardrails protecting truckers from the shoulder-less side of the highway. If you accidentally weave toward the side of the road, see you in the next life because there’s nothing to protect you from an 11,000 foot descent. Why is it named the Million Dollar Highway? That’s up for debate. It could refer to how much money it took to pave the road, or to the amount of silver and gold that was removed from the area when the road was established.
In Montana there is one of the nation’s most deadly roads, Highway 2. In fact, this highway has the largest rate of fatalities in the US. The main reason that Highway 2 is so dangerous is because of its isolation. If you are involved in an accident on this rural highway, you best hope that you don’t have any serious injuries. It takes nearly an hour and a half to drive to the nearest hospital by ambulance. Furthermore, since there aren’t that many drivers around, those that are cruising along on Highway 2 are more likely to exceed the speed limit. Why not, since there’s little chance you’ll get caught or be forced to slow down by traffic? That’s exactly the mindset of drivers on this dangerous road, as well as the reason why it’s the most deadly road in the US.
Running the width of the continental US, Interstate 10 is one of the most common roadways for truckers. Furthermore you don’t have to be concerned with the entire stretch of this interstate. For truckers running in Arizona and Phoenix, however, there’s reason to be concerned. Along the 150 mile expanse of Interstate 10 in between Phoenix, Arizona and the California border, you need to proceed with caution. Here more than 85 people die every year in this desert-lined roadway.
Another one of America’s interstates has a bad reputation. Over the Mississippi in South Carolina is a stretch of Interstate 26 that is extremely detrimental to truckers. In the decade from 2000 to 2010 there were 286 accidents on Interstate 26, resulting in 325 fatalities. The section of the interstate near Charleston, SC where traffic increases is the deadliest. At the same rate, the interstate is lined by trees rather than guard rails, and the side slopes are particularly steep. Couple these aspects with the increased traffic and you have a double whammy resulting in one of America’s deadliest roads.
The Dalton Highway
First of all, this dangerous road has become a household name thanks to the uber popularity of “Ice Road Truckers” on TV. Everyone who is in the trucking industry has either watched the show or heard of the Dalton. While the show continually teases viewers with the possibility of dangerous conditions, the truth is the James Dalton Highway is truly one of the most dangerous highways in the US. For starters, this road is a dirt road, and any trucker knows that driving on a dirt road automatically increases the dangers. A 414 mile road stretching from Fairbanks, Alaska to the North Slope, the Dalton has been opened since 1974. Its main purpose is to supply gas and oil to businesses in the region, primarily mining operations. Many aspects make the Dalton the most dangerous road for truckers. Start with the coldest temperatures ever recorded in the US, hitting minus 80 degrees F back in 1971. That is cold!
Secondly the road weaves through steep mountains within the Brooks Range, adding danger at every turn. If you need to stop, rest or fuel up, forget about it as there is only one fuel stop located at Coldfoot along the northern end of the Dalton. To add to the danger quota, the road was actually made available to tourists in 1994. In addition to making the two-lane road even more dangerous from the likes of four-wheelers, this increase in traffic has led to approximately 10 crashes per year. Typically these are single car rollover accidents, resulting in an annual fatality rate of one.
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