The 15 Most Dangerous Roads in the U.S.

Buckle up extra hard on these perilous roads.

car crash accident
Updated June 17, 2024
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Memorial Day’s past. School is out. And Americans are taking to the open road. What’s more patriotic than cruising cross-country with squabbling children in the backseat?

But the scenic route has its stressors, too: careless drivers, construction, traffic jams, and a thick layer of road rage to top it off.

If you’re trying to step up your travel game and hit the roads this summer, here are 15 roads to avoid — or be extra cautious if there’s no way to nix them from your travel itinerary.

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US I-95

Darwin Brandis/Adobe jacksonville florida highway sign

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), US I-95 is the most dangerous highway in America. Stretching from Maine to Florida, this interstate sees hundreds of fatalities every year.

Hillsborough County in Florida, home to tourist mecca Tampa, has the highest fatality rate in the nation: 15 per every 100,000 drivers.

Many accidents occur during wintertime in the Northeast or during the heavy tourist season in Florida.

US I-20

trongnguyen/Adobe aerial view double vicksburg bridges

Although one of the shorter highways in America, it’s one of the most dangerous. Stretching from West Texas through California, I-20 runs through high-traffic metros, including Dallas, Texas, Jackson, Mississippi, and Atlanta, Georgia.

US I-5

Tim/Adobe interstate 5 traffic

According to The Zebra, an insurance aggregator, US I-5 is the third most dangerous road in the country. This 1,381-mile stretch runs along the Pacific from Washington to California.

It runs through several densely populated California counties, including Sacramento, San Diego, and Los Angeles, making it especially difficult for drivers.

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US I-75

marchello74/Adobe directional highway sign

Another accident-prone highway, I-75 runs north-south, starting in the Great Lakes and ending in Florida. The Midwestern sections are especially dicey in the snowy months.

While you won’t need snow tires or a winter emergency kit during the summer, the most dangerous stretches of I-75 are along the Gulf Coast near Fort Myers, Sarasota, and Tampa.

US I-35

5m3photos/Adobe truck on highway at sunset

This heartland road stretches from Duluth, Minnesota, to Laredo, Texas. 

The interstate is dangerous for many reasons — it goes through several metro areas, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, Des Moines, Iowa, and San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas, Texas. Plus, I-35 is a common route for big rigs (18-wheel trucks) which makes navigation more challenging.

US I-15

trekandphoto/Adobe ramp sign in mojave desert

US I-15 has been dubbed a “killer road” and “the most dangerous road in the U.S.”

The interstate begins in San Diego County, California, and stretches north to Alberta, Canada. The highway goes through many major cities, including San Diego, San Bernardino, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City. The blind turns and mountainous passes can make for a bumpy ride.

One study found I-15 to be particularly deadly because it winds through the Mojave Desert, where drivers often speed and engage in other high-risk activities. After all, they’re headed to or from Las Vegas.

US I-40

bilanol/Adobe I-40 freeway in north carolina

US I-40 is an especially dangerous highway for trucks that have difficulty maneuvering through its heavy traffic. 

The interstate begins in the Mojave Desert, California — known for being a high-risk patch of driving — and continues through the Colorado Plateau in Arizona, the Rocky Mountains, and other challenging terrain.

US I-70

ssmalomuzh/Adobe highway running in the mountains

Another mountainous stretch, I-70, begins in Baltimore, Maryland, and continues eastward for over 2,153 miles to Cove Fort, Utah. It passes through 10 states and many major cities, including Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Columbus.

I-70 is challenging for drivers, with its constant curves through Glenwood Canyon, limited sight distance, and mudslides in Vail Pass.

US I-80

Diglyphotovideo/Wirestock Creators/Adobe cloudy day on eb i-80

High winds, high speeds, and a high density of semi-trucks combine to make I-80 a dangerous trek. Roughly 2,900 miles long, I-80 spans the width of the contiguous U.S. It runs from San Francisco, California, to Teaneck, New Jersey.

The stretch between Rawlins and Laramie, Wyoming, is considered the deadliest section, with some locals calling I-80 in Wyoming “a huge nightmare.”

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US Highway (US 41)

philipus/Adobe scenic highway in florida

This north-south stretch runs from Miami, Florida, to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

US 41 is known for cutting through many scenic parts of Florida, including the Everglades and Big Cypress National Preserve. Conde Nast refers to the interstate as the South’s “Route 66” because it passes through many historic spots.

As a travel magnet, US 41 is also one of the country’s most dangerous highways. The route has many high-speed areas and intersections with residential roads, making it ripe for high-speed collisions and car accidents.

US I-4

Andriy Blokhin/Adobe interstate highway green arrow sign

Data from fleet experts at Teletrac Navman reveals Florida’s I-4 is one of the country’s deadliest roads. This 132-mile stretch is located entirely within Florida and runs from Tampa to Daytona Beach. 

From 2016 to 2019, I-4 had 150 traffic fatalities (1.134 deaths per mile).

US I-45

trongnguyen/Adobe aerial view of downtown houston

US I-45 is another notoriously dangerous route. The roughly 285-mile stretch runs from the Gulf of Mexico to Dallas.

According to a local law group, recklessness (drinking or speeding) and driver error (inattention) — combined with traffic congestion — are the most common causes of accidents.

The most fatal strip runs through Houston, which drivers have referred to as a “death trap.” In 2019 alone, that area accounted for 73 traffic deaths.

US I-17

ungvar/Adobe panorama view of snowy mountain

A beautiful route, I-17, is lovely to look at and dangerous to drive. Located within Arizona, the interstate spans from Phoenix to Flagstaff.

From 2016-2019, there were 103 traffic fatalities on the route. Alberto Gutier, Director of Arizona’s Office of Highway Safety, has stated, “I-17 is a well-traveled road that has a lot of things that happen,” and notes out-of-towners are unfamiliar with the road’s challenging terrain.

US 192

Bob/Adobe interstate state highway sign

US 192, located in Florida, is another one of the country’s most dangerous roads. Heavy traffic, inattentiveness, and unfamiliarity with the route are major factors, as this 75-mile route goes through Disney World.

US I-30

TTstudio/Adobe traffic on highway with cars

Interstate 30 is a 367-mile route from Fort Worth, Texas, to Little Rock, Arkansas. The stretch through Fort Worth has been dubbed one of the state’s deadliest due to heavy traffic, abrupt lane changes, and challenging weather.

Bottom line

TTstudio/Adobe highway transportation with cars

Hitting the road for adventure is a great way to discover America. After all, we’re a nation in love with automobiles. Something about riding in a car with the top down makes us feel invincible — but remember, you’re not.

Traffic fatalities are a sad, unromantic reality we don’t want to think of. But make sure to be safe when you hit the roads this summer. 

If possible, avoid the routes outlined in our list or exercise extra care when driving through. Also, make sure you shop around for the best auto insurance to protect you on your travels.

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Stacy Garrels

Stacy enjoys writing about fintech, consumer deals, the side hustle economy, and random tomfoolery. She's personally tried more than 100 different gigs, including being an Uber driver for one afternoon.