With few dense urban centers, most people are surprised to learn Montana is the most dangerous state to drive in. With a record 22.6 car accident deaths per 100,000 people, Montana’s roads and highways are some of the most deadly in the entire country. The biggest reasons why are due to low seat belt use, only 74% compared to the national average of 87%, and a culture of drinking and driving. Too often, driving in Montana is a gamble for too many commuters. Below is a list The Montana Advocates have compiled of the top 5 deadliest roadways in all of Montana.
5. US Highway 191: An Icy Gauntlet of Death
During the winter US Highway 191 is so dangerous that locals suggest avoiding driving through the Canyon despite it being the quickest route to Bozeman and the Yellowstone National Park. Running north to south from Bozeman down to West Yellowstone, US 191 is a snaking and twisting reach of carnage and destruction during the snowy season and is responsible for plenty of car accidents each year. Built in the shadows of two mountain ranges and long known as the preferred route for hurried 18-wheelers that skid and slid as they rush to deliver their cargo, driving through this expanse of Montana asphalt is a little like running the gauntlet. Traveling down an iced US 191 is without a doubt a white-knuckle, panic-inducing experience. Any motorist prone to heart palpitations or a weak bladder should probably just take Highway 287 instead.
4. US Highway 12: The Road of Treachery
From forest fires to rock slides to moose crossings, US Highway 12 surely has its fair share of treacherous obstacles for drivers to overcome. But what earns this roadway a spot on this list is the winding and bending dangers of the infamous Lolo Pass. Located on the border of Montana and Idaho, Lolo Pass is a sky high mountain roadway twisting through the Rocky Mountains at an eye-popping elevation of over 5,000 feet. With few guardrails and sharp turns that seem to pop up out of nowhere, Lolo Pass is a dizzying experience that requires absolute attention of any driver willing to test the mettle of its asphalt. Do yourself a favor when traveling on US 12 and just ignore any texts you receive while driving and try not to blink too long because a moment of distraction is all it takes to send you careening off the road and down into the chasm below.
3. US Highway 93: Where the Wild Things Are
Reaching south from the Canadian border straight through Missoula and all the way down to Idaho, US Highway 93 is one of the most deadly roads to travel on in the United States due to the enormous amount of animal crossings. With over 3,000 wildlife crashes reported in Montana for the year of 2015, Highway 93 is ground zero for animal car accidents in the US. The most dangerous section, however, is the 20-mile stretch between the 90 and 110 mileposts, which studies have shown to have the highest concentration of deer, elk, and even bears lumbering across the roadway. So if you ever find yourself traveling down northwest along Flatlead Lake on US 93, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for any lonely moose crossing the road.
2. US Highway 2: The Lonely Road
What lands the infamous US Highway 2 in the penultimate spot on this list is how remote much of this roadway is at times. Indeed, the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety lists Highway 2 as one of the most dangerous roads in the country due to its abnormal fatality rate, which is easily the highest in the nation. The reason for Highway 2 is due to how long it takes for emergency vehicles to respond to an accident. Car accident victims must often fend for themselves while they wait on average of 80 minutes for ambulances arrive. And considering that Montanans have a propensity of not using seat belts, Highway 2 is deathtrap just waiting to spring.
1. Interstate 90: Don’t Let the Good Times Roll
It’s little surprise that Interstate 90 sits atop the rankings for most dangerous Montana roads. In fact, I-90 is considered the most dangerous stretch of highway in all of the United States. And the reason why has nothing to do with the road itself or any wildlife wandering over its paved lanes.
Unfortunately, I-90 owes its reputation of recklessness to one thing and one thing alone: drunk driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there was an average of 5 drunk-driving-related deaths per 100,000 people between 2004 to 2013 along Interstate 90. Heavy drinking is a big part of Montana culture and when you mix this with the usual distracted drivers, excessive speeding, and a statewide habit of not using seat belts, Interstate 90 is, by far, the de facto highway of mayhem and destruction in the entire United States.
Call the Attorneys with the Advocates Today
And there you have it. The worst roads and highways in all of Montana. Automobile accidents are a grim reality of the road for far too many people. If you’ve been hurt in an accident through no fault of your own you will need an Advocate on your side. Our car accident lawyers have decades of experience helping victim of an accident victims recover what they are owed according to Montana law. Don’t wait to get back on the road to recovery. Contact the Montana Advocates today. You can either call our office at 406-534-7179 or chat online with a live car accident attorney right now from our homepage. You deserve an Advocate!