One of the most exciting traveling experiences is the classic road trip. However, it’s a good idea to spend plenty of time planning your route before hitting the road. If not, there’s a chance you and your car could find yourselves on some of the scariest roads in America. In fact, we have driven most of these roads, some by choice and some because we stumbled upon them.
Whether you’re looking for a thrilling road trip or wondering what roads to avoid, you’ll want to keep reading. We’ve compiled a list of the scariest roads in America to help you plan your next road trip. Let’s get started!
What Makes a Road Scary?
Scary roads are any road that causes increased levels of stress and anxiety for a driver. You’ll find that your heart rate seems to increase, and you may be gripping the wheel a little bit tighter. What makes a road scary for one driver may not be that scary for another.
Roads can be scary because of obvious dangers like increased traffic levels or treacherous drop-offs. On the other hand, roads can also be scary for the spooky reputation they’ve earned over the years.
Whatever the case, it’s important to know if you’ll be traveling on a scary road during your road trip. It can help you to mentally prepare yourself for the experience and help keep you and your passengers safe.
Pro Tip: Are you brave enough to Dare to Descend: The Thrills and Beauty of the Moki Dugway.
What Is the Most Dangerous Highway in America?
It may surprise you that Interstate 95 (I-95) is considered by some the most dangerous road. It is a 1,908-mile stretch of highway from Florida to Maine. Since its creation, it’s earned the reputation for being one of the most dangerous highways in America by fatalities.
During one four-year period, more than 662 fatal accidents occurred that claimed the lives of 765 individuals. However, these accidents were only on the 382-mile stretch of the interstate contained in Florida. This results in an average of 1.73 accidents per mile on the Florida section of the interstate.
However, it’s not just the Florida sections of I-95 with a dangerous reputation. We found 12 additional sections of I-95 listed on the top 100 deadliest highways. If you’re planning to travel this interstate during your travels, you’ll want to drive with extreme caution.
What Are the Scariest Roads in America?
Some roads can send drivers and passengers into a full-blown panic attack. Between steep grades and haunting stories, it’s natural to have some concerns on these roads. While there are off-road two tracks up in the mountains that raise the heart rates of the most seasoned drivers, we’re focusing on roads that any vehicle can drive. Here are some of the scariest roads in America that might cause you to think twice while driving.
The Million Dollar Highway
About: The Million Dollar Highway is a 70-mile stretch of highway that runs from Durango to Ouray. This drive isn’t for the faint of heart and provides million-dollar views as the road winds through some of the most incredible landscapes in Uncompahgre Canyon. This stretch requires conquering three mountain passes and dipping above and below 10,000 feet. The views here are worth a million bucks, but the road receives its nickname because it cost a million dollars to build in the 1880s.
What Makes It Scary: The section of this road from Silverton to Ouray is by far the scariest. This is mainly because the road winds its way through the mountainsides. As a result, there are thousand-foot drop-offs with no guard rails to keep you and your vehicle on the road. One simple mistake while traveling this route could quickly become a recovery mission.
About: This section of highway is in Aroostook County. Its reputation caused Dick Curless, a former truck driver who became a singer, to write his song, “A Tombstone Every Mile.” This section of road was heavily used by truckers hauling potatoes before the construction of I-95. The road has had a rather spooky and dangerous reputation for decades. During its prime, the rural stretch of road was responsible for several fatal accidents.
What Makes It Scary: While the number of fatal accidents wasn’t astronomical, the rolling fog helped create a scene straight out of a horror movie. Stories of ghostly encounters along the route circulated amongst truck drivers traveling the road during the harvest.
Several drivers claim to have encountered the ghost of a woman screaming for help. However, by the time the drivers stop to assist, the woman has vanished into thin air. In addition, stories of spotting a small girl along the side of the road are also frequent.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, it’s easy to see why drivers label Route 2A as one of the scariest roads in America.
The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
About: The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, nearly 24 miles long, is the world’s longest continuous bridge over water. The bridge opened in 1956 and sits just 16 feet above the water. It connects the Louisiana cities of Metairie and Mandeville. There’s no land in sight for an eight-mile stretch of the road. It’s not uncommon for drivers to be overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety and to require a police escort or assistance from police. Wind and fog can make this a rather spooky and scary setting.
What Makes It Scary: Driving over any bridge can be scary. However, driving over one of the longest bridges in the world can quickly escalate any feelings of stress or anxiety. An accident along the 24-mile stretch of road can shut the entire bridge down. Claustrophobia can begin to set in for drivers who are already anxious about driving on a bridge when they realize there’s no escaping the situation.
Does your heart leap when you see a toll road sign? Ours do, since RV tolls can be wicked expensive. However, whether you love them or hate them, you’ll probably see more of them. Find out why here.
US Route 2
About: US Route 2 is a very dangerous 660 miles of roadway that runs through the northern portions of North Dakota, through Montana, and into Idaho. Much of this highway travels through very remote sections of land where emergency services could take about 80 minutes to respond. In addition, cell phone service can be minimal, making it nearly impossible to contact anyone if you’re in need. As a result of these two factors, the road has an extremely high fatality rate.
What Makes It Scary: Route 2 is mostly flat and travels through very rural sections of Montana. As a result, drivers tend to have a lead foot and drive faster than they should. However, drivers must constantly look for hazardous road conditions from tornados, blizzards, wildlife, and other drivers. It can be very easy for drivers to get distracted by Montana’s natural beauty.
About: The 415-mile roadway from Fairbanks to Deadhorse, Alaska, is a mixture of pavement, gravel, and dirt. However, potholes litter the road from the tremendous traffic it receives from big rigs. It’s gained a reputation for the many ice road truckers that haul massive loads of supplies up and down this treacherous road, often at high rates of speed. It has often received the nickname “Loneliest Road” due to its remoteness.
What Makes It Scary: When you consider that there’s no cell service and that practically any vehicle that isn’t an 18-wheeler struggles to stay on it, it’s no wonder it’s dangerous. The gravel and dirt roads can become nearly impassable during certain times of the year as they become covered in mud and ruts. Semi-trucks have been known to kick up rocks along the roadway and smash drivers’ windshields. A new windshield is not the souvenir you want to come home with if you’re visiting Alaska.
We drove most of this road and you can watch our tale in Go North Episode 11
Pro Tip: Before you head out on your Alaskan road trip, make sure you know these 7 Tips for Driving the Dalton Highway in Alaska.
Pikes Peak Highway
About: Colorado has some incredibly beautiful mountain landscapes, unlike anything most drivers have seen. While the 14,000-foot elevation of Pikes Peak Highway is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the views, it can be a bit overwhelming for some drivers. The road once served as a carriage road in the late 1800s but has since become one of the scariest roads in America.
What Makes It Scary: Climbing to 14,000 feet is no picnic and can be extremely hard on a vehicle. It’s not uncommon for drivers to experience mechanical issues while traveling up or down Pikes Peak. Once at the top, it’s recommended that drivers check their brakes, as it’s a long haul down to the bottom of the pass. In addition, there are sections with no guard rails, and switchbacks are common. Depending on which side of the road you’re on, it can look like you’re heading straight over the edge.
About: Deadman’s Pass runs from Pendleton to LaGrande, Ore. This scary road sits in the Blue Mountains of Oregon and is a section of I-84. Climbing to the top of Cabbage Hill can be very challenging as drivers must battle hairpin turns and steep road grades. Many drivers underestimate how challenging this drive can be and quickly find themselves in dicey situations.
What Makes It Scary: The dangers of Deadman’s Pass can quickly sneak up on you. Between the poor weather and rapid descents in elevation, out-of-state travelers can quickly find themselves in over their heads. The road is extremely steep and winding. Drivers drop nearly 2,000 feet in elevation of a measly 6 miles. Not only do you have to watch out for the changing road conditions and sharp turns, but you have to trust other drivers are doing the same. It’s a good time to practice your defensive driving skills.
We experienced this pass while towing a fifth wheel in extremely heavy rain and it was terrifying. If you are hauling heavy we highly recommend watching the weather if attempting this pass.
The Perimeter, I-285
About: The Perimeter is a 64-mile stretch of interstate that loops around Atlanta. This section of road connects I-20, I-75, and I-85, and an estimated 2 million vehicles travel on it daily. Since big-rig trucks can’t use many of the interstates running through Atlanta, I-285 is the easiest route.
What Makes It Scary: With so many people traveling and living in Atlanta, this road can become a bit chaotic, especially during rush hour. Not only do drivers have to battle congestion, but they also must be aware of the sharp turns, interchanges, and massive trucks that frequent the road. In 2015, Vox considered a 10-mile stretch of this road to be the deadliest interstate in the country.
We usually drive this road twice a year in our motorhome and its never a welcome section of the drive.
Highway 666 – The Devil’s Highway
Location: New Mexico to Utah
About: US Highway 491 was formerly officially known as Highway 666. It runs from Gallup, N.M., to Monticello, Utah. However, the New Mexico Transportation Department renumbered the road from ‘666’ to ‘491’ due to the correlation to the number of the Beast in the Book of Revelation.
What Makes It Scary: While the road was once considered dangerous and rather scary, the state not only upgraded the road’s name but also much of its infrastructure. As a result, drivers now enjoy a much smoother and safer trip through the New Mexican desert.
Pro Tip: If scary roads don’t intimidate you, then why not try a cross country road trip in your RV. This is How to RV Across America: The Ultimate American Dream.
Keep Your Nerves in Check on These Scariest Roads in America
If you don’t like the idea of traveling on one of the scariest roads in America, you’ll want to make sure you plan your road trip accordingly. However, it’s important to remember that just about any road can be scary if the conditions are right. Watching out for other drivers, objects on the road, and changing weather conditions can be very stressful while driving. However, keep your nerves, and you’ll do fine, even on some of the scariest roads in America.
Have you ever driven on one of these scariest roads in America? Tell us about your experience in the comments!
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