Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Friday, October 21, 2016


Even the pretty Oleander flowers on SR99 are poisonous.
Last week, consumer watchdog group ValuePenguin released an interesting study. They listed the 50 deadliest roads in America. To determine this, they employed a complex system. First, they took three important statistics: Deaths caused by hazardous weather, poor lighting and by drunk drivers. These were added together and divided by the total length of the highway to produce a final rating. Here are the Top Five:
#1. State Route 99 (California). Fatalities per 100 miles: 62. Deadliest city: Fresno.
Dating back to 1910, this popular route is one of the world’s oldest motorways. Originally called US-99, in 1926 it became the first road to connect Mexico and Canada. When the Interstates arrived in the 1950’s, the sleak I-5 took away the LA / SF traffic. The state-funded 99 was shortened and neglected. Today, it connects the hardworking, agriculture capitals of Bakersfield, Fresno and Modesto. It is the darkest freeway in the land and the second-most inebriated. It’s a shame that such a wealthy state lets its backbone languish while Orange County freeways get elevated carpool lanes.
#2. Interstate 45 (Texas). Fatalities per 100 miles: 56. Deadliest city: Houston.
Texas was the last US State to outlaw open containers while operating a motor vehicle. But old habits die hard…as do the folks driving on this road. Last year, 8 people died from a drunk driver every 100 miles on this popular roadway. It connects Dallas to Houston, but the most congested section is the Gulf Freeway, which leads to Galveston. During Hurricane Rita in 2005, many people lived on this freeway, as it became gridlocked with evacuees for three whole days.
#3. Interstate 95 (Florida to Maine). Fatalities per 100 miles: 53. Deadliest city: Jacksonville.
Beginning in Miami, this heavily-traveled route meanders through Georgia and the Carolina's and then serves as a beltway through DC and Baltimore. Next, it becomes the world-famous New Jersey Turnpike, proudly crossing the George Washington Bridge into NYC. After leaving Boston, I-95 terminates at the Maine / New Brunswick border. Most of the fatalities occur on crowded stretches during bad weather. Last year, the 109 fatal accidents during rain and snow were the highest of any road in the USA. NOTE: It also passes through more states (15) than any other interstate.
#4. Interstate 10. (California to Florida). Fatalities per 100 miles: 54. Deadliest city: New Orleans.
Starting at the Santa Monica Pier, this route next skirts the Mexican border in Arizona and New Mexico. One third of its 2,460 miles are within the state of Texas. Finally, it follows the Gulf coastline, ending in Jacksonville. Poor lighting is the main culprit for its high death rate: Long desert stretches on I-10 make it the darkest Interstate in the country. It also dips below sea level in New Orleans...and was flooded for months after Hurricane Katrina.
#5. Interstate 75. (Michigan to Florida). Fatalities per 100 miles: 47.2 Deadliest city: Detroit.
The so-called ‘Spring Break Freeway’ connects cold Michigan with sunny Florida, following a southeasterly route through the Appalachians Mountains. Although most of the route is six lanes…even in rural regions…it still isn’t wide enough. City folk from Cleveland and Cincinnati are thrust into curvy, rain-soaked stretches and don’t respond well. It ranks second in the category of highway deaths caused by inclement weather.

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