I’ve been on the 5th most dangerous road in the world. I’ve also been on the 5 most dangerous roads in the USA according to Popular Mechanics 2020 survey that is published online and I find very interesting. The 5th most dangerous road in the world just happens to be in the United States too, but the list of 25 misses it. That is perhaps because the list compilers didn’t think of it because it’s in the Hawaiian Islands on Maui. Phil Berg and Tim Newcomb did, however, include the dangerous Dalton Highway in Alaska that has been opened for tourist driving for the past 24 years. I have not physically driven the 5th most dangerous road in the world for a few years, but in a way I was on it yesterday and it’s still a challenge!
According to Berg and Newcomb the most dangerous road in the USA is I-45 in Houston. This does not surprise me at all. Driving in Houston is never less than scary, and I-45 is certainly a major driving challenge. This is not because Texans love to play road tag. It’s mainly due to volume. Houston is, after all, the 4th largest city in the USA. Berg and Newcomb report that I-45 in this city has “56.5 fatal accidents for every 100 miles of roadway….”.
Their #2 most dangerous road is Highway One in Florida. This is the longest north-south road in the USA. It appears very straight and uncomplicated, but it has about 1,000 deaths every decade as it goes south from Jacksonville to Key West along Florida’s entire east coast while passing through several of its major population centers.
#3 is an old Federal Highway that Berg and Newcomb praise for its “magnificent scenery”. It’s Highway 17 in South Carolina. Like Highway 1 in Florida, 17 follows this state’s Atlantic coast all the way from its border with North Carolina near Myrtle Beach to Savannah, GA and beyond. The authors mention its narrow lanes and blind curves. Ruth and I have driven its entire length without incident.
#4 is Route 199 in Northern California, also called The Redwood Highway. It is certainly scenic but has twisting lanes and distracting scenery. We negotiated it well enough but hit a deer near Ukiah while driving Federal Highway 101 a few hours after leaving 199. This was about 5 years ago in a new vehicle. We survived but the deer and the vehicle didn’t.
#5 is another Texas Highway but not an Interstate. It’s U.S. 83 that flows south from Canada to the Mexican border near Laredo. Ruth & I have driven some of it. It gets more dangerous in Texas where it averages a death every other week according to the Popular Mechanics article. Ruth and I experienced road tag twice in one afternoon on Texas’ Highway 59. Road tag is my name for the game of having a vehicle pass you on the driver’s side at high speed while another car it is racing zooms past you on the shoulder. The car that cuts over first is the winner.
Tomorrow I”ll tell you about the 5th most dangerous highway in the world, the notorious Road To Hana.