There are a number of reasons as to why accidents occur so frequently. While we often point our fingers to negligent drivers, there are numerous other factors, such as traffic delays and road construction, that also contribute to vehicle accidents. Whether you’re simply cruising through your local town or making your 45-minute commute to work, it’s important to understand where and why Pennsylvania is home to some of the most dangerous roads in the country.
Pennsylvania highways are uniquely dangerous because they serve as the primary link between several big east coast cities, such New York, Baltimore and Washington D.C. With Pennsylvania wedged in between all three, these highways are often heavily trafficked, under construction, or frequently used by large tractor trailers who are also making a lengthy state-to-state commute.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the following five highways are considered the most dangerous roads in Pennsylvania:
5 Most Dangerous Roads in Pennsylvania:
1. Interstate 95
If you’ve ever driven on Interstate 95, we are sorry to say you’ve likely experienced the worst of east coast traffic. From being stuck in countless miles of never-ending construction to dodging accidents with some of America’s worst drivers, I-95 is one of the most dangerous highways in the entire country.
Though experts say the very worst of I-95 is down in southern Florida near Miami-Dade, the section of highway parallel to Philadelphia and the Delaware River, known as the Delaware Expressway, ranks equally as high throughout the state of Pennsylvania. In fact, the point where I-95 and Interstate 76 interchange near the Ben Franklin Bridge is considered a “congested nightmare” for daily commuters. According to data from FARS, from Levittown to Lincoln Financial Field, this short segment of roadway has seen more than 15 fatal crashes and 16 car accidents in 2016.
Most Philadelphians would recommend out-of-towners to find a different route if your GPS is pointing you in the direction of I-95. Several GPS maps, such as Waze, give drivers the most accurate traffic update with an option to find a route avoiding the use of highways and aggressive Eagles fans.
2. Interstate 83
Known to locals as the Susquehanna Expressway or the historic Veterans of Foreign Wars of United States Memorial Highway – but we won’t quiz you on that second name – Interstate 83 is a busy 85-mile stretch from the northern outskirts of Baltimore right to the center of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. While the quick stretch crosses mostly through the country haven of Pennsylvania, many travelers use this route as the quickest zip down to Maryland.
Unfortunately, though, Harrisburg has the second highest number of deadly road segments in all of Pennsylvania. While the population is roughly 30 times less than that of Philadelphia, the highways surrounding Harrisburg are still inherently dangerous and nearly 25 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents on highways, including I-83, in 2016.
Interestingly, the worst of I-83 is located within only a short distance of the Harrisburg Mall. If you’re headed toward Pennsylvania’s capital, keep in mind that I-83 becomes particularly dangerous in this area.
3. Interstate 80
Pennsylvania locals know all too well how eroded the streets and highways are. From maneuvering around massive potholes to avoiding crumbling roadways, Pennsylvania was recently ranked as the fourth worst state for having unsafe infrastructure. Shockingly enough, though, one of the most frequently used highways in this state is right here on our list of most dangerous roads in Pennsylvania.
Interstate 80 is a great travel route for cross-country road trips, but as most Pennsylvanians might warn, this highway may not be the safest for you and your family. While I-80 is certainly the longest route from east to west in Pennsylvania, this interstate is also in desperate need of some serious TLC.
Not only do many travelers use this route to get from New York City to the midwestern states, this is an equally as popular highway for tractor trailers as well. Along with extremely poor road conditions, I-80 is way too crowded. Through the vast mountain loops and winding valley turns, I-80 has caused many visibility issues for drivers, especially in harsh weather conditions or at night.
4. Interstate 79
From the brisk waterfront of Lake Erie down to the country swing of West Virginia, Interstate 79 offers a north to south stretch with a handful of twists and turns. While I-79 may be a resourceful route for family vacationers, it is exceptionally known for its wicked curves and dangerously aggressive drivers. In fact, for those who are unfamiliar with the interchange between I-79 and I-70, this portion of highway is where many drivers have faced the gruesome tale of being severely injured in an accident, if not worse.
Because of the quick turn and the tight U-shape hugging the interchange, unfortunately, a number of drivers have lost their lives to high speeds here. And while I-79 is the main freeway that connects Morgantown, Fairmont and Clarksburg down to Charleston, West Virginia, it may be best to find a more rural route to travel on.
5. Interstate 78
No one ever wants to fight a tractor trailer one-on-one. But on Interstate 78, this is a grim reality some drivers have too often been faced with. I-78 is swarm packed with thousands of semi-trucks every day. From the heart of the Big Apple out to the rural plains of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, I-78 may not be your best route to use if you’re afraid of driving near trucks.
We understand that fear. Accidents involving tractor trailers almost always end in tragedy. In fact, daily commuters who pass through the greater Allentown area on I-78 are practically numb to the amount of tragic accidents on this highway. In 2014, there were more 1,000 crashes in just the 32 miles of Lehigh Valley highway, according to statistics from the departments of transportation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
While we can’t entirely blame the semi-trucks for hogging up the roadways, three of the most common reasons accidents with tractor trailers occur is due to sleep deprivation, improper driver training, or poor vehicle maintenance and malfunction.
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