The Most Dangerous Roads in Texas
RVing around the country means you’ll probably be on dangerous roads at some point. And Texas has quite a few.
We’ve researched to find the major roads with the most accidents and fatalities in Texas, so you can avoid them or be more aware if you need to use them.
Let’s dig in!
How We Determine a Dangerous Road
Just looking at the numbers, Texas, California, and Florida are the top three states with dangerous roads. This means they have the highest number of fatal accidents yearly, ranging between 3,500 and 3,900. The next highest state with dangerous roads is Georgia at more than 2,000 fewer accident deaths per year than Texas.
Of course, those highest three states also have higher populations than many states. Per capita, the top three most dangerous roads are in Mississippi, South Carolina, and Alabama. In comparison, the least dangerous roads per capita include Washington D.C., New York, and Massachusetts.
In fact, statistics show that New England, in general, has the least dangerous roads.
However, Texas, specifically, had 3,896 deaths in 2020. It doesn’t seem like a lot until you realize that’s one person killed every 2 hours and 15 minutes just due to car accidents. Besides fatalities, one person was injured in a car crash about every 2 and a half minutes in Texas that same year.
According to the Texas DOT, about 51% of traffic fatalities were in rural areas. That means you have an equal chance of getting hurt or killed in a Texas car crash inside the cities as you do outside of them.
So which routes have the higher fatal car crashes? Let’s take a look at some of the more dangerous roads in Texas.
This road travels from the Mexican border near Laredo, Texas, to Dallas-Fort Worth and ends in Duluth, Minnesota. Interstate 35 is the main route for semi-trucks delivering goods from Mexico to distribution centers in the Midwest U.S.
Because of this, there’s more road construction, which can cause slowdowns or even halt traffic. In addition, many drivers attempt to pass the trucks. Cars driving at high speeds trying to dodge the multitude of semis create distractions and easy possibilities for accidents.
You’ll experience even more dangers on the road as congestion increases going through San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas.
US Highway 83
Highway 83 stretches from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, but the most dangerous part of the road is as you’re driving through Texas. It averages one accident death every other week, a fatal crash rate of 2.0 according to Geotab.com. This is second only to Highway 1 in Florida, with a fatal crash rate of 2.8. Considering it’s the main route to southern Florida and The Keys, it’s not a surprise.
Part of the reason Highway 83 is such a dangerous road through Texas is its 900 miles, which is more than double the length of Interstate 35 above.
Running from near the southern tip in McAllen, Texas, all the way up through Abilene, Perryton, and beyond, there are just more chances for things to happen. In addition, you’ll be driving mainly through rural areas where it might take longer for emergency services to arrive.
Pro Tip: Driving through Texas and need a place to park? Consider one of these 11 Best RV Parks In Texas.
This route starts east of Van Horn, Texas, a major stopping point for RVers heading east or west through Texas. Van Horn is a great place to rest for the night, refuel, and stock up on supplies. I-20 continues east through Abilene, the oil fields of Odessa, and into the major metro area of Dallas-Fort Worth. After about 630 miles, it eventually crosses the Texas-Louisiana border in Waskom.
In Dallas-Fort Worth, it intersects with nearly every other highway going through Texas. It’s also the main route for goods being delivered from Los Angeles and San Diego ports to Dallas.
These issues contribute to driver confusion in addition to massive congestion. In fact, over a six-year period, the Texas DOT reported just under 500 car accidents with 594 fatalities.
While Interstate 20 takes you across north-central Texas, I-10’s route crosses south-central Texas. The entire highway is about 2,460 miles stretching from Santa Monica, California, to Jacksonville, Florida. One of the biggest reasons for its danger is usage. As a matter of fact, it’s the most commonly-used cross-country route in the U.S.
Over a six-year period, the portion of I-10 from Anthony to Orange, Texas, saw 676 deaths from car accidents. The most dangerous part of this Texas road has to be in Houston, where it is now one of the widest freeways in the world.
The interstate is a whopping 26 lanes wide there, including six HOT/HOV lanes and eight lanes of exits and entrances.
The Most Dangerous Road – Interstate 45
The Accident Data Center reported that this short route was the country’s most dangerous road from 2011 to 2019. During that time, I-45 averaged 56.5 fatal car accidents for every 100 of its 285 miles. Interstate 45 isn’t actually a true interstate as it stays within Texas, traveling only from Dallas through Houston and ending in Galveston on the Gulf of Mexico.
While the entire highway has been nicknamed “Drunk Alley,” Houston seems to be the most dangerous part of the road. The city’s congested traffic added to speeding, distracted, and sometimes drunk drivers make for a load of hazards.
Try This Instead: Avoid these dangerous roads and hit up Route 66 instead. Make sure to stop and check out the 9 Best Things To Do on Route 66 in Texas.
Use Caution When Traveling These Dangerous Texas Roads
Avoiding any of the above Texas roads would make for a much longer trip, but there are ways to reduce your chances of being in an accident. If you can, plan your route around those cities instead of through them or time your arrival at the city limits outside of rush hour.
Since you’ll have reduced visibility from all the trucks and will be driving at high speeds, use good defensive driving skills such as leaving lots of space in front of you and don’t drive when you’re tired.
Have you driven your RV on any of these dangerous Texas roads? Tell us about it!
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