On a continent with so much natural beauty, it sometimes feels like the U.S. Highway system was designed specifically for road trips. The sheer scale and variety on offer makes road tripping in the U.S. an incredible adventure, with 2.7 million miles of road to choose from.
There’s enough road in the United States to get you around the world 110 times! With so much road mileage, some roads are obviously going to be more dangerous than others. If you’re planning a journey or a road trip adventure, then you might want to bring some extra mental focus when traveling on these roads. Thrilling as they might be, you’re going to need your wits about you.
Atlanta: Interstate 75
Interstate 75 is an amazingly impressive road. It starts just off Lake Superior, then runs a massive 1,786 miles right to the Miami Lakes in distant Florida. That’s some impressive driving, and it has some sights that really give an ideal sample of what the US has to offer. 75 traverses the edge of the Canadian border, cuts through Detroit, crosses through Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, and then finally lands in Georgia. It’s a truly epic driving experience. But endless driving means endless danger, and Interstate 75 has a high accident rate – especially in the final stretch into Atlanta. If you’re taking this route, you’re going to want to be alert at all times.
Alaska: The Dalton Highway
It might be beautifully wild, but that wilderness is the main reason why the Dalton Highway in Alaska is so dangerous. It’s been called nightmarish, but the 400-mile road has some truly spectacular sights to see. There are remote forests, stunning tundras, and even the Yukon River, with a stunning finish at the edge of the wild Arctic Ocean. It’s not the road itself that’s dangerous, it’s the remoteness of it all. There’s a huge 240-mile stretch that doesn’t have a single gas station, hotel, or restaurant, nor a break for safety. That’s a long way to walk if you break down. And with steep grades and the risk of avalanches, it’s no wonder that drivers approach this road with a caution. Add in the fact that bears and herds of caribou are occasionally encountered on or near the highway, you really need to be prepared for this journey – mentally, physically, and supply-wise. Your phone might not help either, as cell-phone coverage is notoriously sketchy.
Interstate 15 takes you from Vegas to LA and back again, and there is plenty to see on the drive. It’s a great road and an incredible driving experience, but it’s also been called the deadliest stretch of road in America. With just over 1,700 miles to explore, it’s no surprise that there’s going to be accidents, but with one study showing that in 15 years there was a massive 1,069 fatal accidents on I-15, it’s certainly a contender for the deadliest road in America. Take your time if you tackle this journey, and be sure to take regular breaks. Maybe stop to see Bonnie and Clyde’s Death Car as you pass through Primm in Nevada.
Colorado: The Million Dollar Highway
US Route 550 in Colorado winds its way over three separate 10,000 ft mountains, complete with hairpin corners, steep cliffs, and absolutely no guardrails. This is extreme driving, though locals say it’s a lot safer than it looks. When it was featured on USA Today on a list of the most dangerous roads in the world, locals were quick to call that claim overblown. That may be, but it’s a particularly unforgiving stretch, and if you’re driving in winter then you’re really taking your life into your own hands. It’s worth it though. This is one incredibly beautiful journey, as long as you’re a confident driver and you take your time.
Montana: Highway 2
This is another stretch of road that isn’t the most difficult drive, but is made all the more risky by the large expanses in between towns. If the worst happens and your car breaks down, or if you have an accident, you are very much on your own. The average time that it takes for an ambulance to get to the scene on Highway 2 is a 80 minutes – an eternity if you’re in dire straits. The speed limit doesn’t help, with 70 mph roads going through some deliriously mountainous stretches. You’re really going to need to have some driving experience before you even attempt this journey. The fact that it’s all so remote means that far too many drivers take to the road with reckless abandon, greatly compounding the risk.
Driving should be a pleasure, and these roads all have their positives. Take your time, know what you’re getting into, and do your prep work. Dangerous they may be, but even the most dangerous roads in America come with some stunning, beautiful, and unique sights. Just drive safe!