The 6 Scariest Roads in America
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- Tail of the Dragon – Tennessee
- Million Dollar Highway – Colorado
- Highway 2 – Montana
- Highway 17 – South Carolina
- James Dalton Highway – Alaska
- Interstate 10 – Arizona
For some drivers, nothing is sweeter than the steady hum of tires on a perfectly paved road. But not every road is so peaceful. Although the NHTSA reports that roadway fatalities are decreasing in the United States, there are thousands of miles of highways that pose a real danger to every motorist that travels them.
Which are the scariest roads in America? Here are six roads that could give you nightmares.
Tail of the Dragon – Tennessee
On the southwest edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Chilhowee Lake in Tennessee lies a stretch of U.S. Route 129 that can make any driver’s eyes fill with tears. It’s an 11-mile stretch of highway that winds through treed areas and canyons. It’s gorgeous, but it’s a deadly section of highway if you aren’t careful.
Visibility is reduced because of shadows and rock walls. In the relatively short 11 miles it spans, there are 318 curves. Wildlife including bears, deer, and wild boar are potential hazards on the road. But although it’s one of the scariest roads in America, the Tail of the Dragon is also one of the favorites for sports car and motorcycle enthusiasts because of all the twists and turns.
Million Dollar Highway – Colorado
Built in the late 1880s, the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado is part of the San Juan Skyway. As you approach, it will take your breath away from the stunning mountain views. The 25-mile long stretch of highway through western Colorado has three mountain passes that take you up to 11,000 feet above sea level.
What makes this one of the most dangerous roads in the U.S. is the lack of safety measures. Unlike most roads, there are no guardrails to speak of and you can’t pull over safely since there aren’t shoulders, either.
Highway 2 – Montana
Butte and Three Forks, Montana, are linked by Highway 2, a beautiful 63-mile section of asphalt that has a few tight turns, including a hairpin. Although it’s a nice road to drive, it’s nothing super special compared to others on the list.
The reason it’s one of the most dangerous roads in the U.S. is because of how it’s treated. People constantly speed at high rates because it’s a long stretch with little enforcement. Emergency response averages 80 minutes, so if you get in trouble, it could be a while for roadside assistance to arrive.
Highway 17 – South Carolina
Down Highway 17, you can explore the best beaches in South Carolina. But between the sandy sections of coastline, Beaufort County’s highway is the wildest road you can imagine. Tight turns, blind curves, wildlife hazards, and tighter than normal lanes make the scenic Highway 17 one of the scariest roads in America. If you decide to travel this patch of pavement, keep your speed down, your smartphone in your pocket, and your eyes on the road.
James Dalton Highway – Alaska
Spanning 414 miles in the harshest terrain in North America, the James Dalton Highway (or just Dalton Highway) is the only gravel road on the list. Originally built as a supply route in 1974 for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, there are only three villages along the remote route.
Dalton Highway is characterized by steep inclines and declines, dusty clouds from truck travel, and hazardous surface conditions that can easily kick you off the side of the road. Crosses mark fatalities that have occurred in recent years and, no surprise, there are a ton of them.
Interstate 10 – Arizona
A study in 2019 concluded that Interstate 10, or I-10, is one of the most dangerous roads in the U.S. during summer months. It runs for 150 miles through the state and has tallied up some of the highest fatality rates in the nation.
The communities on this desert route are, well, deserted for the most part, so help isn’t close at hand if something happens. It’s remarkably different to drive I-10 compared to other popular routes with the lack of vegetation and just a glimpse of mountains in the backdrop, as well as sand… so much sand.