Driving can be dangerous on any road and in any condition if people behave recklessly or negligently behind the wheel, but there are a few roads in California that are statistically more hazardous than the rest. If you are going to take a road trip across the Golden State, you should be aware of certain roadways which have earned unpleasant nicknames such as “Slaughter Alley,” or which are associated with higher rates of catastrophic or fatal auto accidents. Sometimes the increased risk of a dangerous collision is caused by poor road design or construction defects. In other cases the hazards are behavioral, such as roads with a high percentage of drunk drivers.
Listed in no particular order, some of the most dangerous roads in California include:
- California State Route 138: Between Palmdale and San Bernardino, California State Route 138 has grown notorious for being more dangerous than meets the eye, especially west of I-15. According to Popular Mechanics, there was once a five-year period in which 56 fatalities and another 875 injuries were reported on this leg of the highway alone. The year 2006 saw construction to improve the road but it is still widely viewed as being among the more hazardous stretches of highway in Southern California.
- Interstate 15 to Las Vegas: Also according to Popular Mechanics, the I-15/ CA 138 interchange is also notoriously dangerous. Half of the numerous fatalities there involve drivers not wearing seatbelts and an unknown number, suspected to be quite high, of intoxicated or distracted drivers. An average of 30 people per year lose their lives on this expanse of desert highway, which sees heavy traffic between Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
- Interstate 10 in San Bernardino County: In 2008, there were 218 reported accidents and 250 fatalities along the 10. The Standard Record suggests that drivers merging at high speeds into slow or standstill traffic is a major contributor to the number of accidents in the San Bernardino County stretch of the highway.
- Interstate 40: San Bernardino County seems to be in the center of the most dangerous roads in California, as The Standard Record reports that I-40 between Needles and Barstow saw nearly 300 traffic-related fatalities in 2008.
Bad News for the Bay Area
If you live in San Francisco or the Bay Area, you should be aware that several roads and intersections in the region are commonly included on lists of dangerous highways and streets in California.
- Shoreline Highway: North of San Francisco, Shoreline Highway runs along the Pacific coast. During the morning commute, fog often reduces visibility down to just 20 feet, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Grizzly Peak Boulevard: The Chronicle also reports that scenic Grizzly Creek Boulevard, which snakes its way around the eastern mountains of the bay and parks, such as Wildcat Canyon and Tilden Regional Park, is a dangerous hotspot for car accidents.
- Market Street & Octavia Street, San Francisco: The Bold Italic compiled a list of specific intersections throughout San Francisco and cited Market and Octavia Streets are possibly the worst. In 2011, there were 10 crashes, 9 of which involved bicyclists or pedestrians.
- Market Street & Valencia Street, San Francisco: Just a stone’s throw north of Octavia, Valencia Street intersects Market Street with similarly dangerous results, according to The Bold Italic. Their data shows that 2011 say 9 crashes with 8 cyclists involved.
At Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn, our San Francisco car accident attorneys can help you file an accident claim or personal injury lawsuit after being hurt in any traffic collision, whether you were on one of the most dangerous roads in California or elsewhere. Call (415) 940-7176 today for a free case review.