Highways are dangerous because of high speeds, traffic jams and the presence of larger tractor-trailer trucks. Pennsylvania has a number of highways that are considered more dangerous than alternative roadways. I-95, I-78, I-80 and the I-79 and I-70 Interchange are all recognized nationwide as very dangerous areas to drive through. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation lists 377 roadways in that are considered high-crash locations in the state, and 33 of these roads are located in Pittsburgh.
I-95 or I-76
The Delaware Expressway seems to be in a perpetual state of construction, so motorists on this highway are constantly battling narrow lanes and traffic. The conditions of the road frequently produce irritated and aggressive drivers who will try to speed through the area. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ranks this road as 39th of America’s 100 deadliest roads. Between 2004 and 2008, there was one death for every mile of the road. There were 46 deaths on this road alone.
One specific 8-mile stretch on Interstate 78 is so dangerous that Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation is already working to begin a $175 million reconstruction project on the area. Statistics are concerning for this particular stretch of highway because of its unusually high level of tractor-trailer traffic. Accidents involving tractor-trailers and larger vehicles are much more likely to be fatal, and experts estimate that about 35 percent of the traffic on this road is entirely tractor-trailer vehicles. One 2014 study revealed that the 8-mile stretch had 71 percent more crashes than other Pennsylvania expressways, and the fatality rate was 40 percent higher than anywhere else in the state. Unfortunately, increased construction can cause a temporary increase in the danger level of this road, but ideally the roads will be much safer upon completing the project.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike, or Interstate 80, is the longest east-west Interstate in Pennsylvania, and it’s had a long history of needing to be improved. Nationwide truckers voted Pennsylvania’s I-80 as the worst road on the entire Interstate Highway System back in 1996 due to the potholes, overcrowding and crumbling of the roadways. In the late 1990s, it was largely considered one of the worst roads, but the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has rebuilt most of the 311 miles since then. In 2001, two devastating accidents occurred on I-80 that left an incredible 63 vehicles wrecked. One tractor-trailer involved in the incident was carrying flammable material. It exploded upon collision. Authorities recognize that at least 45 individuals were injured. Inclement weather was the biggest reason for this pile-up, but the road has remained infamous for the massive crash. Over the last decade, there have been over 106 fatal accidents on I-80.
I-79 and I-70 Interchange
The I-79 and I-70 interchange is one of the most dangerous portions of this highway. Drivers coming from the northbound I-79 onto I-70 must make a very tight U, so unfamiliar drivers are frequently traveling too fast to safely navigate the turn. The wall near the interchange is noticeably damaged from multiple collisions. Larry Magg, the Washington County Commission Chairman, has called the dangerous area “horribly designed,” and efforts are being made to restructure the hairpin turn.
Although this road isn’t a highway, it’s worth mentioning because of its prominence. This road is infamous for being one of the most dangerous roads in America. Roosevelt Boulevard has six lanes in each direction, but it also has dangerous curves. Drivers are notorious for exceeding the posted 45 miles per hour speed limit which has led to numerous fatalities. Another reason Roosevelt Boulevard is so dangerous is because it is home to two of the nation’s deadliest intersections. Drivers unfamiliar with the boulevard often turn into the wrong three-way creating a very dangerous situation for everyone on the road.
The Most Dangerous Intersection in America
Pennsylvania is also home to the most dangerous intersection in America. Time Magazine and a Chicago law firm used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and discovered that the intersection where Knights Road meets Street Road in Bensalem is the most dangerous one in America. The study showed there were seven fatal accidents in the area over the past ten years. Researchers say the intersection’s large amount of volume, dim lighting, poor use of road signs and aggressive drivers all contribute to the problem in Bensalem.
Pennsylvania has some of the most dangerous highways in the nation, and a new study released last year showed that their rural roads are not much better. The report revealed that the state’s rural roads are both the deadliest and least maintained in the entire country. Statistics from 2015 reveal that 47 percent of the 1,200 traffic fatalities occurred on rural non-interstate highways.
KnowPA is a website that was created by technologists at Code4PA. The creators of this useful website envisioned utilizing public data sets on weather predictions and traffic accidents to create a user-friendly tool. These data sets are now used to create seven-day predictions of fatality risks throughout the state. Data comes from weather quality, weather predictions, known traffic accidents, contagious diseases and job training. The website is well-recognized and can help drivers track the most dangerous roads in Pennsylvania. If you plan on going on an extended trip, then you can refer to the data on the website to plan out which roads are the safest to travel.
Inadequate maintenance, poor lighting, improper signs and a failure to warn drivers about the inherent dangers of roadways are all common causes of car accidents. Pennsylvania is infamous for dangerous roadways, so it’s important to remain vigilant while driving. Highways like I-78 that have a higher level of tractor-trailer traffic are even more dangerous. You can’t control whether you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident or not, but you can make efforts to stay safe by following all the traffic laws, remaining focused on driving and avoiding traffic hazards when possible.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.