A recent study named Alabama sixth in the list of states with the most dangerous roads. These findings were based on data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety given to the Federal Highway Administration. Shockingly, for every 100,000 residents in Alabama, there are 17.6 road deaths. In 2013 alone, 852 people lost their lives in vehicular crashes along our state’s roadways.
Do Certain Roads Have More Accidents?
Sometimes it seems like the news reports accidents in the same areas of town, even on the same streets and highways. There might even be roads that you avoid, especially during rush hour, because all too often they are jammed up due to an accident. Are certain roads plagued with more car accidents than others?
Some roads are, in fact, more likely to be the scene of a vehicular collision. It could be that the road is in poor condition, or has certain features that make it crash-prone, such as blind curves or lane transitions that are too fast.
To give the public a better idea of how safe our nation’s roadways are, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collected crash data for every state between 2009-2013. The information sheds interesting light on patterns in automotive crashes, including their location. Below are a few highways in our state that featured prominently in the NHTSA report.
Interstate 85 in Lee County & Montgomery County
I-85 serves as a major thoroughfare for our state, connecting Montgomery with a number of key Alabama cities, as well as Atlanta, Georgia. It is a favorite route for both local and long-distance travelers.
During the study’s five-year span, the stretch of Interstate 85 in Lee County recorded a high number of fatal crashes, with 26 deaths in 22 crashes. In Montgomery County, the interstate witnessed 15 fatalities in 11 accidents over the five-year period.
Interstate 65 in Chilton County
Interstate 65 meanders over 367 miles of our countryside and links together six of Alabama’s ten largest cities. The section of this road in Chilton County saw 16 fatal crashes that resulted in 21 deaths. Just last year (2015), three car accident deaths occurred along this stretch of the interstate.
Dangerous Roads in Jefferson County
It should come as no surprise that Jefferson County, the most populous county in the state, bears witness to the most accidents. During just one two-week period in 2014, 300 accidents occurred – that’s nearly one accident per hour. The roads that served as the locale for most of those collisions were:
5) Hwy 31 with 23 accidents
4) Hwy 280 with 32 accidents
3) I-459 with 36 accidents (including 1 fatality)
2) I-65 with 45 accidents
1) 20/59 at Arkadelphia Road with 48 accidents (including 4 fatalities)
The Infamous Highway 431
This major north-south state highway in the eastern portion of Alabama has earned a devilish nickname: “Highway to Hell.” It was named one of America’s most dangerous roads by various media outlets, including Popular Mechanics. In 2014, it was actually labeled one of the world’s most perilous roads by the World Health Organization (WHO) in their Global Status Report on Road Safety.
Why has this highway earned such a terrible reputation?
The facts speak for themselves. In 2013, Hwy 431 was the 4th deadliest road in the U.S. If you drive down it, the crosses and flowers bear witnesses to the number of lives taken on this tarmac.
Contributing to the road’s danger is reduced visibility of oncoming traffic, sudden changes in the number of lanes, and speeding. Fortunately, the state has been working to make the road safer by widening dangerous narrow stretches, replacing bridges and increasing State Trooper patrols to the area.
Keeping You Safe
As a driver, of course you have little to no control over the road conditions. If the asphalt needs to have pot holes filled, there’s nothing you can do about it while driving, besides being very careful. The same goes for a road that should be engineered for improved safety features, like having a longer on-ramp. As always, the best way to stay safe on roads that statistically have more accidents is the same way to be accident-free anywhere: be a defensive and cautious driver.
Pittman, Dutton & Hellums wishes you safe travels, and are here to help if you’re injured in an auto accident. We are a Birmingham personal injury law firm with a solid record of success in handling Alabama motor vehicle accident cases.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, we’d like to help you on the road to recovery. You can contact us today at (205) 322-8880 for a free case evaluation. A consultation is always free and at no obligation to you.