6 Most Dangerous Roads in California

most dangerous highways in california

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were 3,304 fatal motor vehicle crashes in California in 2017, the most recent year for which data was available.

The reason for any given accident always depends on a number of factors. But some California roads are more dangerous than others. They may be narrower, harder to navigate, or any number of other conditions that make them more hazardous.

Here are six of the most dangerous roads in California based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All data is from between 2010 and 2016.

I-5

i 5 california interstate

During the seven-year period studied, the California I-5 experienced 680 fatal crashes with a total of 768 fatalities.

This is the most of any interstate in the U.S. That’s about 1.2 crashes per mile. The high traffic volume and boring scenery make for a long stretch of dangerous highway where drivers may be bored and “zone out.”


US-101

us 101 california highway

Like the I-5, California’s US-101 highway experienced a large number of fatal crashes.

There were 597 accidents which resulted in 643 fatalities during the same time frame. That averages out to a total of approximately 2.4 crashes per mile.


I-8

i 8 california interstate

The stretch of I-8 that runs through San Diego County is the most dangerous part of this interstate, which saw 134 fatal crashes resulting in 145 deaths.

At 171 miles long within the borders of California, that averages to about 1.3 crashes per mile.


SR-99

sr 99 california road sign

There were 411 fatal crashes resulting in 461 deaths along this state highway.

The most dangerous segment runs through Kern County. Averaged over the time period studied, that’s just over 1 crash per mile. In fact, along a mere 14-mile stretch of this highway, there were 15 crashes between 2015 2016.


SR-78

sr 78 california road sign

Running through San Diego County, this California state highway had 62 crashes resulting in 75 deaths.

While that may not seem like a lot, keep in mind SR-78 is only 215 miles long (compared to the I-5, for example, which is almost 800 miles long.


SR-2

sr 2 california road sign

Like the SR-78, California’s SR-2 experienced a much smaller number of fatal crashes overall—just 52 from 2010 to 2016.

Unfortunately, that’s 52 too many and 54 lives were lost, particularly in a stretch running through Los Angeles County. But SR-2 is also much shorter than SR-78; it’s only 87 miles along, meaning there were approximately 1.7 crashes per mile of this roadway.


Additional California Roadway Facts

  • There’s a 3.5 mile stretch of the Sierra Highway that had 10 crashes between 2015 and 2016. That’s about 2.9 crashes per mile.
  • Collectively, Californians traveled over 353 billion miles in their vehicles in the same year. With all those people on the road, an accident is an unfortunate inevitability no matter how safe we are when we drive.
  • Based on NHTSA crash data, California experienced approximately 9.1 vehicle crash deaths per 100,000 people in 2017.

Injured in a Car Accident? Contact Us for Assistance

At the Levinson Law Group, our experienced California auto accident attorneys have over 40 years of experience helping our clients obtain the compensation they deserve.

Whether you were injured on one of these dangerous California roads, or anywhere else, we will hold the negligent drivers responsible.

Please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our legal team to schedule your free consultation.

Let us help you get started on your claim today.

Gordon Levinson, Esq.

Gordon Levinson is a former insurance defense / personal injury litigator who represented some of the largest insurance companies in North America. Prior to founding the Levinson Law Group, he served as an associate in numerous law firms from 1996 to 2003 before working as a partner in a personal injury firm from 2004 to 2007. Click here to read Gordon's full professional bio.

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