In terms of safety, there are so many contenders for worst roads to drive in California that it can be hard to narrow down the list. However, below are some of the most famous examples.
When Dateline investigated the most dangerous roads in America, they singled out this highway as one of the very worst in the nation, with the worst stretch east of Palmdale and west of Interstate 15. Further, this highway poses so many different types of dangers, it exemplifies what’s wrong with so many of California’s two lane highways.
Long ago, Hwy 138 started out as a farm to market rural highway with very light traffic. The vehicles that originally traveled this road were much smaller and went much slower than the drivers who take this highway today. Now, it is overloaded to the hilt with inattentive tourists, SUVs, and semi trucks. To make matters worse, it is also considered the more scenic route to Las Vegas and some call it a “short-cut to Vegas.” So, a disproportionate number of drunk drivers are also added into the mix.
Roadtrip enthusiasts affectionately call Hwy 138 the “Pearblossom Highway,” with famous stops like Joshua Tree National Forest, the Valley Hungarian Sausage & Meat Company, and Charlie Brown Farms. This narrow two-lane undivided highway may offer stunningly beautiful sunsets over the southern California desert, but the locals call it “Deathtrap Highway” or “Blood Alley,” and for good reason! In just a five year period, there were a total of 39 fatal car accidents on this highway — many more were severely injured.
With far more traffic than it was originally designed to hold and no divider, road rage becomes a significant factor on this narrow two lane highway. Drivers often try to pass in unsafe conditions and head on collisions are all too frequent. Further, the highway has not been maintained or upgraded enough to ensure safety even with the safest drivers. For example, there are no guardrails on this highway as it winds through the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, even in spots where there are 50+ feet drops!
If you drive this highway, please be very careful.
Here are some honorable mentions for first place in the worst road in California category:
Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange Joining I-105 and I-110
If you look at an aerial view of this interchange, it looks like something akin to a Chinese puzzle. The fact that people are able to navigate it all is a small miracle. It’s a baffling array of interwoven access roads and ramps. The complexity of this road design causes so much confusion and frustration, accidents happen all too frequently!
Juncture of Hwy 101 and the I-405 Freeway In Los Angeles
Traffic here is usually bumper to bumper with a tremendously long wait time. “Rush hour” lasts for more than five hours! As such, this is a hotbed of road rage with car shootings relatively common!
I-5 In San Diego County
If you are heading north on I-5 in San Diego County, it is likely you will be sharing the road with drunk college students returning from Tijuana, Mexico. All weekend drinking binges can turn this stretch of I-5 into a living nightmare on Monday mornings. Many accidents occur here due to drunk drivers swerving, passing, and losing control.
I-15 From Barstow to the Nevada State Line
This stretch of I-5 has heavy traffic with gamblers and drinkers headed to and from Las Vegas. Lots of DUIs and careless distracted driving leads to many accidents. The interstate is also very hilly which can make passing exceptionally dangerous.
If you have been involved in an accident due to poor road conditions, drunk drivers, reckless drivers, or road rage, you are entitled to compensation. We specialize in personal injury cases and have an excellent track record in these types of cases. The initial consultation is free and you pay nothing until we resolve your case. Give us a call at 800-679-2507 to set up an appointment. If you live in California, you may also want to keep our phone number in your glove box just in case of emergencies.