This North Carolina Highway Was Declared the Most DANGEROUS in America


North Carolina includes stunning beauty, including mountains, beaches, and woods. However, traveling on its roads can be risky, particularly for those unfamiliar with the environment, weather, and traffic. Notably, Interstate 85, which connects Virginia and South Carolina and passes through major cities such as Durham, Raleigh, and Charlotte, has been renowned as one of the state’s most dangerous roadways.

According to Nagle & Associates, P.A., a vehicle accident litigation company, the treacherous stretch of Interstate 85 between Charlotte’s exits 36 and 41 is the most deadly five miles in North Carolina and one of the most dangerous in the entire country. Based on the 39 fatal crashes that occurred on this stretch between 2000 and 2019, ranked it as the “#1 Scariest Drive in America,” and it appears on numerous lists of the country’s most dangerous highways.

How Did Interstate 85 Become So Dangerous?

Some variables contribute to the high fatality rate along Interstate 85, including:

High Volume of Traffic: According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, around 120,000 cars utilize Interstate 85 each day, which is a lot of traffic. This gridlock makes individuals impatient and irritated, causing them to speed, tailgate, and drive violently.

The road is also an important interstate trade route, thus it is congested with trucks and other commercial vehicles, increasing the potential for significant accidents. Infrastructure and maintenance issues: Interstate 85 was completed in the 1950s, but it has not kept up with contemporary traffic demands.

Drivers struggle with it due to the ancient infrastructure, which includes narrow lanes, abrupt curves, poor illumination, and uneven pavement. A large number of construction zones, poor drainage that causes flooding, and hydroplaning when it rains all contribute to increased safety concerns.

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Unpredictable Driving Conditions: Because Interstate 85 traverses a diverse range of landscapes and climates, from mountains to coastal plains, drivers must contend with unpredictable weather conditions such as fog, snow, ice, rain, wind, and heat. The route is challenging to drive on because of the numerous elevation changes, interchanges, exits, and openings.

What Can Be Done to Make Interstate 85 Safer?

Because Interstate 85 is critical to North Carolina, both state and federal officials are attempting to make it safer in a variety of ways:

Infrastructure and Technology Investment: The North Carolina Department of Transportation has worked on projects to upgrade the roadway, such as adding shoulders and wider lanes, repairing bridges, and installing new signage and signals. New technology such as smart transportation systems, ramp meters, and variable speed limit signs are designed to improve traffic control and communication.

Putting laws and guidelines into action: Because people are concerned about safety, the North Carolina Highway Patrol and other police departments have increased their visibility on Interstate 85. This involves stringent enforcement of seat belt laws, speed limits, distracted driving, intoxicated driving, and commercial vehicle safety. Public awareness campaigns and instructional initiatives are two additional strategies to promote safe driving.

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Participation and collaboration with the community: The North Carolina Department of Transportation and other stakeholders routinely engage with the community, soliciting opinions and ideas on safety issues and potential solutions. People participate in collaborative events such as the Interstate 85 Corridor Coalition, the Interstate 85 Safety Summit, and the Interstate 85 Safety Week. These activities bring people together to improve road safety.


To summarize, while North Carolina’s Interstate 85 is critical, its risks are significant owing to excessive traffic, antiquated infrastructure, and unpredictable weather. Infrastructure renovations, smart traffic management technologies, strict law enforcement, and community participation activities are among the measures being taken to improve safety. These comprehensive initiatives seek to prevent accidents and improve overall safety along this key transportation route.

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