Even with fewer Americans traveling on the road during the pandemic, driving deaths continue to rise.
An estimated 20,160 people were killed in the first half of 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. That’s up 18.4% year-over-year, making it the biggest jump on record.
And while driving hazards plague the entire nation, certain roads have become notoriously perilous.
Here are the 10 deadliest roads in the U.S., based on a study of government data from 2019, the most recent year available. The roads are ranked by number of fatalities per 100 miles.
If you regularly drive on any of these highways, keep your wits about you — and make sure you’ve got the best car insurance you can afford.
The only non-interstate highway on the list, US-41 runs southwest from Michigan’s upper peninsula through Milwaukee, Chicago, Nashville and Atlanta all the way down to Miami.
On the northern end, snowstorms and ice wreak havoc on the roads. And on the southern end, you have Hillsborough County in Florida, the region with the highest rate of traffic fatalities in the country.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 141 fatal accidents and 7.02 fatalities per 100 miles along US-41 in 2019.
The I-80 is one of the longest highways in the United States, spanning 2,900 miles from San Francisco, California to Teaneck, New Jersey.
The combination of high speed limits, high semi-truck traffic and high winds in certain areas help make I-80 an especially dangerous road.
In 2019, the highway saw 7.21 fatalities per 100 miles and a total of 209 deaths.
The I-70 stretches east-to-west from Utah to Maryland, passing through Denver, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
It saw 158 deaths in 2019, or 7.35 deaths per 100 miles.
Certain parts of the interstate — like the section passing through Colorado — include steep grades, sharp turns and severe weather. The scenery is beautiful, but don’t try to snap a photo on the road.
The I-40 spans east-to-west from Barstow, California to Wilmington, North Carolina, passing through Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, Memphis, Nashville and Raleigh along the way.
It was the highway with the second-most total fatalities, 253, but because of its great length, that only comes to 9.89 deaths per 100 miles.
It’s been ranked one of the most dangerous highways in almost every state it passes through due to the sheer number of drivers who use it, especially during the summer.
The I-15 meanders from Sweetgrass, Montana through Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Los Angeles all the way down to San Diego.
Although the stretch between Las Vegas and Los Angeles is a straight line in the desert, allowing drivers to see for miles, it’s regularly called out as one of the deadliest passes in the country due to speeding and other bad behavior.
The total death count was 158, which is less than many other highways on the list. But since it covers a relatively short distance, that’s 11.02 fatalities per 100 miles.
The I-35 extends north-to-south from Duluth, Minnesota down to Laredo, Texas.
Many of the 197 deaths (that’s 12.56 per 100 miles) occured in Texas, where the I-35 passes through San Antonio, Dallas and Austin, three of the most populated cities in the nation.
It’s also a common route for semi-trucks, whose great bulk can cause serious accidents.
The I-75 starts near Michigan’s Mackinac Bridge and runs southwest to Miami, hitting Detroit, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Tampa and several other major cities along the way.
Many of the highway’s 237 deaths (13.27 per 100 miles) fell on the two extremes of the interstate — on Michigan’s slick winter roads and Tampa’s accident-prone streets.
Michigan has long suffered some of the highest car insurance rates in the country, making it even more important to shop around for the best possible price.
The I-5 is the main highway that runs north-to-south along the west coast. It saw 186 fatalities in 2019, or 13.47 deaths per 100 miles.
The common route for 18-wheelers is the only continuous interstate that hits both Canada and Mexico borders, starting in Blaine, Washington and ending in San Ysidro, California.
California’s huge population naturally leads to a lot of traffic, and the I-5 spans the entire length of the state, passing by Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego.
The I-20 is a short but deadly interstate highway that runs east-to-west through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.
The interstate is only about 1,539 miles long — but at 208 fatalities, that becomes an alarming rate of 13.52 deaths per 100 miles.
One major factor? The route intersects several high-traffic areas, including Dallas, Jackson and Atlanta.
The I-95 starts at the Canadian border in Maine, passing through Boston, New York City, Baltimore, and Jacksonville before ending in Miami.
Think of it as the east coast bookend to the west coast’s I-5.
It ranks highest for both total fatalities (284) and fatalities per 100 miles (14.88) — due in large part to harsh northeast winters and a flurry of crashes along the east coast of Florida.
How to protect yourself
Even if you don’t regularly drive on one of these 10 roads, deaths are up across the country. You’ll want to do whatever you can to reduce your chances of getting in a wreck.
Yes, that means keeping a good distance from the car ahead, being more vigilant at night, not multitasking behind the wheel and leaving early so you aren’t in a rush.
But no matter how well you drive, rocketing around in a 3,500-pound metal cage comes with inherent risks. That’s what car insurance is for.
In some states, minimum coverage won’t help you much if you get into a serious accident. You don’t want to come up short if someone totals your car or if you accidentally injure another driver.
Upgrading your coverage might sound expensive, but if you haven’t compared rates in a while, you could already be overpaying by as much as $1,100 a year.
By using a quote comparison site to find lower prices, you may be able to boost your coverage and still come out ahead on your monthly bill.
This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.