This North Carolina Interstate Was Named the Deadliest Road in the U.S

North Carolina has beautiful scenery, with mountains, beaches, and woods. But getting around on its roads can be dangerous, especially for people who aren’t used to the different landscape, weather, and traffic.

Notably, Interstate 85, which runs from Virginia to South Carolina and through big towns like Durham, Raleigh, and Charlotte, has become known as one of the most dangerous roads in the state.

According to research by Nagle & Associates, P.A., a law firm that focuses on car accidents, the dangerous part of Interstate 85 between exits 36 and 41 in Charlotte is the most dangerous five miles in North Carolina and one of the most dangerous in the whole country.

Based on the 39 fatal crashes that happened on this part between 2000 and 2019, called it the “#1 Scariest Drive in America,” and it is on many lists of the country’s most dangerous roads.

How Does the Dangerous Nature of Interstate 85 Come About?

The high death rate on Interstate 85 is caused by a number of factors, such as:

High Volume of Traffic: The N.C. Department of Transportation says that about 120,000 cars use Interstate 85 every day, which is a lot of traffic. This traffic makes people impatient and angry, which makes them speed, tailgate, and drive aggressively. The road is also a major route for interstate trade, so there are a lot of trucks and other commercial vehicles on it, which raises the risk of serious accidents.

Problems with infrastructure and upkeep: Interstate 85 was built in the 1950s, but it hasn’t kept up with the needs of current traffic. Drivers have a hard time with it because the infrastructure is old and has small lanes, sharp curves, bad lighting, and uneven pavement. A lot of construction zones, bad drainage that leads to flooding, and hydroplaning when it rains make safety worries even higher.

Unpredictable Driving Conditions: Because Interstate 85 goes through a wide range of landscapes and temperatures, from mountains to coastal plains, drivers have to deal with weather conditions that are hard to predict, like fog, snow, ice, rain, wind, and heat. There are a lot of elevation changes and interchanges, exits, and openings that make the road more difficult to drive on.

What Can Be Done to Make Interstate 85 Safer?

Because Interstate 85 is so important to North Carolina, both state and federal officials are working to make it safer in a number of ways:

Infrastructure and Technology Investment: The N.C. Department of Transportation has worked on projects to improve the highway, such as adding shoulders and wider lanes, fixing up bridges, and putting up new signs and signals. Smart transportation systems, ramp meters, and variable speed limit signs are examples of new technologies that are meant to make traffic control and communication better.

Putting laws and rules into action: Because people are worried about safety, the N.C. Highway Patrol and other police departments have made themselves more visible on Interstate 85. This includes strict enforcement of rules about seat belts, speed limits, driving while distracted, driving while impaired, and the safety of commercial vehicles. Public awareness efforts and educational programs are two more ways to encourage safe driving.

Participation and working together in the community: The N.C. Department of Transportation and other stakeholders are actively involved with the community, asking for feedback and ideas on safety problems and possible solutions. As part of collaboration efforts, people take part in events like the Interstate 85 Corridor Coalition, the Interstate 85 Safety Summit, and the Interstate 85 Safety Week. These events bring people together to work on road safety.


Interstate 85 is both an important link and a possible threat in North Carolina. People think of it as the most dangerous road in the U.S., but ongoing efforts to improve infrastructure, police rules, and involve the community show that everyone wants to make it a safer and more secure route for all travelers.

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