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Most Dangerous Roads for U.S. Truck Drivers

While some factors that affect the likelihood of accidents are within a driver’s control (like speed, obeying rules and regulations, and mechanical issues), other factors are not.

The number of cars on the road, weather conditions, and drunk drivers are factors that drivers can’t control. At certain times of year, these three factors can all come into play and create a perfect storm. During the holiday season, there are approximately 36% more vehicles on the road, and as a result of holiday parties and gatherings, more drivers are impaired by alcohol as well. Thanksgiving can be a particularly dangerous holiday, but during the Christmas and New Year period, the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that the average number of fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver rose 34%.

While drivers must be alert and monitor factors like weather and other drivers, they should also be wary of the particular roads they travel. Even when it isn’t the holidays, some roads and interstates are more dangerous on average than others. For example, US Route 62 is the only US Highway that connects US and Mexico. It has a top 15 fatal crash rate for US highways. Across the Southeast, there are many dangerous roads that require truck drivers to take extra care when navigating. Certain roads in each state are more susceptible to truck accidents than others.

In Tennessee, Interstate-40 is one of the most dangerous roads in the entire country, with Nashville having more fatal crashes on the interstate than Memphis and Knoxville, according to a report by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. Interstate-65 is dangerous and deadly in Tennessee. The road averages 36.5 deaths per 100 miles, which makes it the 12th most dangerous highway in the country. Interstate-24 poses a distinct challenge for truck drivers, due to the highway’s Monteagle Mountain stretch, which requires a steep climb and subsequent decent at a perilous angle with multiple blind spots.

In Kentucky, Interstate-65 has historically been ranked as one of the most dangerous interstates in the entire country, and was the location of 2,837 collisions and 661 injury accidents in 2015 according to the Kentucky Department of Transportation (KYDOT). Interstate-75 travels north to south in the eastern half of the state, beginning in Williamsburg, and passing into Tennessee after going through Lexington. Many travelers use Interstate-75 to pass through the state, so many drivers are unfamiliar with the interstate itself. Interstate-75 was site of 3,658 total collisions in 2015, and 769 total injuries.The Bluegrass Parkway, often used as a shortcut for drivers to bypass the congestion of popular roads in Louisville, the Parkway has a high rate of accidents for a shorter road, with 270 collisions in 2015.

Almost 80% of the roads in the state of Arkansas are in less-than-good condition, according to the Arkansas Asphalt Pavement Association. Interstate-40 in Arkansas sees an excess of 40,000 vehicles that travel that section on the highway everyday, with more than half of that traffic coming from large trucks or 18-wheelers. Roads in Arkansas are notoriously rough, and veteran drivers often note the interstate is too narrow for the volume of drivers that use it. Highway 7 in Arkansas spans nearly the entire height of the state, and is often busy with college students and vacationers.

Mississippi has been ranked the third most dangerous state to drive in the country. With over 20 road deaths per 100,00 state residents in 2013, Mississippi is dangerous all year round. Particularly dangerous roads in the state include Interstate-10, despite the fact that it only covers 77 miles of the state. Other hazardous interstates include Interstate-20 and Interstate-59.

Certain Interstates in Missouri can be more treacherous than others. Interstate-63 was identified in a recent study as the most dangerous highway in the state, with an average of 15 fatal accidents a year for the past decade. Interstate-63 is a north-south route that passes through Columbia and Jefferson City. Interstate-70, Interstate-64 and Interstate-55 are the other two deadly highways that have made national rankings in the past.