Three Of America’s Deadliest Interstates

American Drivers Facing Dangers

Each year, American drivers spend around 293 hours driving about 10,900 miles each. This is a lot of time on the road and opens up the possibility of crashes or other instances.

While most drivers spend a significant amount of time on the road each year, the dangers that drivers are facing is mounting each year.

Distracted drivers are among the growing dangers on the road. According to a recent survey, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed the risks that drivers are facing is increasing in several ways, including:

  • Aggressive driving: 68 percent
  • Drivers using drugs: 55 percent
  • Drunk driving: 43 percent

Along with the above statistics, American drivers are also worried about the number of distracted drivers causing crashes on public roads. Since 2013, the proportion of drivers who report talking on a cellphone while driving has jumped 46 percent.

Of all surveyed, nearly 58 percent of drivers say that talking on a cellphone while driving is dangerous, and 78 percent of drivers say that texting while driving is a significant danger.

The trend of drivers using personal electronics while driving is on the rise. This is a threat to all drivers across the U.S., but not all states are seeing the highest amount of crashes and deaths on their highway systems.

The Sunshine State Hosts The Most Dangerous U.S. Interstate

Interstate 4 is a 132-mile stretch of Florida highway that runs from Tampa to Daytona Beach. I-4 was one of the first Interstate Highways constructed in Florida with the first section opening in 1959.

Since the first sections opened in I-4, this stretch of highway has extended to reach across the state and connect some of the largest cities in Central Florida. Since this Interstate connects essential cities throughout Florida, this roadway has seen an increase in accidents and fatalities.


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 165 fatalities on I-4 between 2011-2015. This made the short stretch of road the most dangerous highway in the U.S. sitting at 1.25 deaths per mile.

This deadly trend continued throughout the years, and 2016 saw a 10.4% growth in fatalities compared to the same period in 2015. Many experts attribute the increase of death rate on a stronger economy, lower gas prices, and more drivers on the road.

While a stronger economy and lower gas prices can contribute to more drivers on the road, many transportation experts believe the real reason for the surge in deaths is from distracted drivers.

I-4 is also known for the constant construction and detours, which can lead to confused drivers or other factors that will increase traffic accidents.

The Lone Star State Has The Darkest & Drunkest Highway

Texas has a famous saying “Everything’s bigger in Texas” definitely has some truth to it, considering that Texas has the most extensive network of highway miles in the U.S. The 2014 census shows that Texas has 675,580 miles of lane miles, which significantly outranks California which has the second most miles at 394,608 lane miles.

However, one point that is not often bragged about is the growing fatalities seen on Texas highways. In 2015, Texas accounted for 10.2 percent of deaths in the U.S. The thing that stands out is that about 62% of those traffic fatalities occur in a centralized area of about 80,000 miles.

texas triangle map highway travel texas america

Part of that deadly system of Texas highway is known as the Texas Triangle.

This grouping of busy roads is centered in a highly densely populated area, and is outlined by I-35, I-45, and I-10 that runs right around the cities of Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, and Austin TX.

This area is so densely populated that the immediate surroundings of the Texas Triangle houses 6% of the U.S. population and has the highest projected growth rate of 93% by 2050.

That means that a high population growth rate will continue to make these stretches of the road some of the most dangerous U.S. Interstates.

Many variables go into causing a fatal crash along this stretch of road, but traffic experts are beginning to see some patterns. In 2014 three contributing factors caused deadly accidents, including:

  • Driving While Drunk: 608 crashes
  • Failed To Drive In Single Lane: 522 crashes
  • Failed To Control Speed: 454 crashes

The Grand Canyon State Sees Dangerous Interstate Traffic

Interstate 17 is one of America’s most dangerous Interstates and this section of highway through Phoenix is considered the most dangerous stretch of roadway in Arizona.

At only 145.76 miles long, I-17 runs through several highly populated cities, and many locals complain about ongoing road construction, winding roads, and bottlenecks near high traffic intersections.

These variables can contribute to the 123 traffic fatalities between 2011 and 2015 on this stretch of highway.

arizona i-17 highway map

Throughout the state, Arizona drivers saw an increase of fatalities on urban freeways and interstates at 61 percent higher than the national average. The most top contributing factors to deaths include vehicle collisions, rollovers, and pedestrian collisions.

While locals complain of various highway factors contributing to traffic fatalities along I-17, the Arizona Department of Transportation has declined to assess these elements and continue to say that nearly all traffic fatalities stem from driver behavior.

To help address drivers speeding along I-17, local traffic experts are implementing a range of new safety features along stretches of the highway.

  • Six “speed responses” signals alert drivers who are going too quickly.
  • Reflective pavement markers delineate lanes.
  • Overhead message boards offer security advice.
  • Rate limits decreased by 10 MPH on holiday evenings.

The Future Of Highway Safety

The future of traffic safety will need to improve if we want to ensure the general public arrives to their destinations safely.

Ongoing maintenance and road construction can improve the experience and help travelers arrive alive!

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