This California Interstate Was Named the Deadliest Road in the U.S

Driving is a risky activity, but some roads are more dangerous than others. According to a recent study by ValuePenguin, a website that provides consumer research and advice, the most dangerous road in the U.S. is Interstate 5 in California, where 584 people were killed in 544 fatal crashes from 2015 to 2019. This means that 107.4 people were killed for every 100 crashes on this highway, which runs nearly 800 miles long up the length of California.

What makes I-5 so deadly?

There are several factors that contribute to the high fatality rate on I-5, such as:

High volume of traffic: I-5 passes through many major cities, including Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego, where rush hour traffic can be especially congested and chaotic. The National Safety Council (NSC) says that driving during rush hour is more dangerous than usual, due to a combination of fatigue, darkness, and traffic.

Big-rig drivers: I-5 is also one of the most popular routes for truck drivers, who often drive long hours and face tight deadlines. This can lead to fatigue, distraction, and speeding, which increase the risk of crashes. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), there were 6,688 collisions involving big rigs on I-5 in 2019, resulting in 63 deaths and 2,374 injuries.

Poor road conditions: I-5 is showing its age, as it was built in the 1960s and has not been adequately maintained since then. The road surface is often cracked, potholed, and uneven, which can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles. The road also lacks adequate lighting, signage, and guardrails in some areas, which can make it harder to navigate and avoid hazards. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) estimates that it would cost $57 billion to repair and upgrade the state’s highways, including I-5.

How to stay safe on I-5

While driving on I-5 can be dangerous, there are some steps that drivers can take to reduce their chances of getting into a fatal crash, such as:

Follow the speed limit: Speeding is one of the leading causes of fatal crashes on I-5, as it reduces the time and distance available to react and stop. The CHP advises drivers to obey the posted speed limit, which varies from 55 to 70 mph depending on the location and traffic conditions.

Keep a safe distance: Tailgating is another common cause of crashes on I-5, as it reduces the visibility and maneuverability of the drivers. The NSC recommends keeping a minimum following distance of three seconds between vehicles, and increasing it to six seconds in bad weather or heavy traffic.

Avoid distractions: Distracted driving is a growing problem on I-5, as drivers are often tempted to use their phones, eat, drink, or adjust their radios while driving. These activities can take the eyes, hands, and mind off the road, and increase the likelihood of making a mistake or missing a warning sign. The CHP urges drivers to avoid any distractions while driving, and to pull over to a safe place if they need to use their phone or attend to other matters.

Wear a seat belt: Seat belts are the most effective way to prevent or reduce injuries in a crash, as they keep the occupants inside the vehicle and prevent them from being ejected or colliding with the interior. According to the CHP, 42% of the people killed on I-5 in 2019 were not wearing a seat belt. The CHP reminds drivers and passengers to always buckle up, regardless of the speed or distance of the trip.


Interstate 5 in California is the most dangerous road in the U.S., according to a recent study. The highway has a high fatality rate due to factors such as high traffic volume, big-rig drivers, and poor road conditions. However, drivers can take some precautions to stay safe on I-5, such as following the speed limit, keeping a safe distance, avoiding distractions, and wearing a seat belt. By following these tips, drivers can reduce their risk of becoming a statistic on this deadly road.

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