While getting to your final destination might be top of mind, a safe journey is equally important. The American interstate system serves as a convenient, accessible route for any driver whether you’re commuting to work or going on a long-distance road trip. Unfortunately, traveling on major roadways can pose challenges and risks to safety. From navigating traffic congestion to dealing with speeding, various situations can contribute to potentially fatal car collisions.
We utilized National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data to determine the most and least safe interstates across the country according to the number of fatal accidents. In addition, we determined which interstate route is the most dangerous in every U.S. state.
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- California, Florida, and Texas are the most dangerous states for drivers. In one year, they reported 20.3, 19.6, and 15.4 fatal crashes per every 100 miles of interstate, respectively.
- I-95 is the most dangerous interstate in seven states – Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia.
- I-4 in Florida is the most dangerous interstate in the country, reporting the highest number of fatal crashes for every 100 miles (34).
The Most Dangerous Interstate in Every State
Curious to see if one of your local interstate routes is considered the most dangerous interstate in your state? The table above highlights which state and interstates have the greatest number of fatal crashes per 100 miles.
Based on our research, we have identified the most dangerous interstates by ranking the top three in each state and highlighting those that appear across multiple states.
From our list, some interstates are the most dangerous across multiple states:
Appearing the most in our list, I-95 is the most dangerous interstate in seven states: Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia. I-95 is considered the longest north-south interstate and the sixth-longest highway overall.
I-94, the ninth-longest interstate in the country, runs east-west and is considered the most dangerous interstate in four states: Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Michigan.
Lastly, we have I-70, which is the fifth-longest interstate in the country – 2,171.12 miles – and is deemed the most dangerous interstate in Colorado, Kansas, and West Virginia, with the most amount of interstate mileage in the state of Colorado.
The Most Dangerous Interstates in the U.S.
Using the same methodology, we were able to use the number of fatal crashes per 100 miles to determine the most dangerous interstates in the United States overall.
Taking the number one spot is I-4, which runs through the state of Florida and has a staggering 34 fatal crashes per 100 miles. I-4 stretches across Florida, connecting Tampa and Orlando, and is known as one of the most dangerous highways to travel on by many Floridians.
Coming in at number two is I-35E in Texas. Connecting the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, I-35E is the eastern half of I-35 that runs northbound and sees 27.9 fatal crashes per 100 miles.
Staying in Texas, I-45 comes third with 24.6 fatal crashes per 100 miles. I-45’s southern end starts in Galveston and runs north to Dallas.
Trailing behind I-45 in fourth place is I-30, which runs eastbound from Arkansas to the Dallas Fort Worth Area (TX). I-30 experiences roughly 23.5 fatal crashes per 100 miles.
The fifth most dangerous interstate is I-24. This interstate runs through Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois and has 18.3 fatal crashes per 100 miles.
In sixth place is I-5, which runs through California, Oregon, and Washington. The northernmost point ends at the Canadian border and the southernmost at the Mexican Border. I-5 is one of California’s longest and most traveled interstates and averages 16.9 fatal crashes per 100 miles.
In seventh place, we have I-95, which stretches through 14 states: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Considering I-95 is dubbed the busiest highway in America, it’s no surprise it made the list. However, with 16.3 fatal crashes per 100 miles, it’s considerably safer than some of the previously mentioned routes.
Continuing on our list, I-78, which runs through Pennsylvania and New Jersey, comes in at number 8, with 15.7 fatal crashes per 100 miles.
Followed by New England’s I-93, running through New Hampshire and Massachusetts with 14.2 fatal crashes per 100 miles.
Concluding the list, the tenth most dangerous interstate is I-26, which runs through North and South Carolina, averaging about 13.7 fatal crashes per 100 miles.
The Most & Least Dangerous States to Drive Through
In our effort to keep drivers as safe as possible, we have ranked the most and least dangerous states to drive through. Though there are various factors that could lend to automobile accidents depending on the location across the country (elevation, traffic density, weather patterns, etc.), you can expect on average 8 interstate fatal crashes per year in every state.
Overall, we found that California tops the list as the most dangerous state to drive through with a reported 20.3 fatal crashes per 100 miles, per year. Florida is second, with 19.6 fatal crashes per 100 miles per year. Next, Texas is in third place with 15.4 fatal crashes per 100 miles per year. Lastly, we wanted to highlight New Jersey ranking fifth overall with 14.2 fatal crashes per 100 miles, even though it is a state with one of the fewest total miles of interstate overall.
Now for the least dangerous states to drive through: In first place is North Dakota, with 1.58 fatal crashes per 100 miles per year. Coming in as a close second is Alaska, with 1.81 fatal crashes per 100 miles, and in third place is Vermont, with 2.06 fatal crashes per 100 miles.
It’s important to note the standardization across our study by comparing the number of crashes per mile of interstate, meaning that the states with a higher number of interstate miles won’t necessarily make the top of the list. New Jersey, for example, ranks 5th overall as the most dangerous state to drive through, but has the lowest interstate mileage.
Our primary concern is your safety on the road, no matter which highway you find yourself on. If you happen to frequently travel on one of your state’s riskier interstates, there are precautionary measures you can adopt to become a safer driver. Always remember to buckle up, steer clear of distractions, diligently check your blind spots, and maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead.
Even if you’re an attentive driver, unexpected events can occur. That’s why it’s important to have dependable car insurance that can cover potential expenses like damages and medical bills. Get a quote today and choose a policy that provides you with reliable coverage during your journeys. Safe travels!
Using NHTSA fatal crash data, we determined the number of interstate fatal crashes across America in 2021 (the most recent reported year). Seeing the geographic fatal crash tendencies, we then scraped the number of fatal crashes (+/- 5 margin of error) for every interstate within each state and compared that per number of miles (Department of Transportation).
To determine “The Most Dangerous Interstate in Every U.S. State”, we calculated the number of fatal crashes per every 10 miles for each interstate within each state (removing those that did not cover at least 10 mi). Next, we determined “The Most Dangerous Interstates” by calculating the number of fatal crashes per every 100 miles for each interstate (removing those that did not cover at least 100 mi).
Finally, we determined “The Most and Least Dangerous States to Drive Through” by finding the number of fatal crashes per every 100 miles of interstate for every state (removing the states that did not have at least 100 mi of interstate: Delaware, Hawaii, & Rhode Island).