While Wyoming may be known for its rodeos, bull-riding, and epic horseback tours, the Cowboy State is also infamous for its exceptionally dangerous roads. Multiple studies have shown that Wyoming is one of the most dangerous places to drive in the entire country. Indeed, only four other states (New Mexico, South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi) have more car accidents and roadway fatalities than Wyoming.
On average Wyoming sees about 19.1 deaths per 100,000 people from car and automobile accidents. Considering that Wyoming is the least populous state, with little more than half a million people, this statistic is especially harrowing. One of the biggest reasons why Wyoming has such a high rate of fatalities is due to its many dangerous roads. Below is a list of the top 5 most dangerous roads in all of Wyoming:
#5 US Route 191
Running vertically through the state, US 191 is certainly one of the most scenic routes in all of Wyoming. Not only must motorist contend with tough mountainous terrain, sparse desert countryside, and wildlife crossings when driving on US 191, the highway sees multiple deadly car accidents each year. US 191 is especially dangerous during the winter due to snow drifts and slick patches of ice. Drivers should be careful navigating this route and keep their eyes open. The last thing anyone wants is to spin out on a slick of ice and drive headlong into a wandering herd of moose.
#4 Highway 14 Alternate
By any measure, US Highway 14A is a heavenly drive. Indeed, ascending Highway 14A over the Bighorn Mountains can seem at times like you’re driving directly into the sky. Stretching just under 100 miles between Burgess Junction and Cody, Wyoming, Highway 14A is such a dangerous drive it is closed to public traffic for most of the year to prevent car crashes and drivers getting stranded in the snow. With its steep 10 percent grade climb, blind turns, and winding stretches, Highway 14A is definitely a hair-raiser for anyone but the most experienced of drivers.
#3 Teton Pass
Teton Pass is a stretch of Highway 22 that snakes around the southern border of Mount Glory, a peak in the Teton Range. At one point the Teton Pass reaches an astounding altitude of over 8,000 feet. The roadway is open year-round but is often closed during winter due to avalanches and snowfall, which is what makes the road so very treacherous. Slick patches of ice are also problematic for drivers, but the frequent avalanches are what give the pass its dangerous reputation, with the Glory Bowl slide area being the most notorious. So, if you’re ever driving along the Teton Pass during the winter months be sure to watch for fast-moving rivers of snow and ice.
#2 Interstate 80
Interstate 80 traverses a total of eleven states. The massive highway runs directly across the continental United States from California all the way to New Jersey. I-80 has such a notorious reputation, especially in Wyoming, that it frequently is listed as one of the most dangerous roads in the entire country. Over the last decade, I-80 has seen 175 car accidents and over 200 fatalities. The reasons for I-80’s perilousness are multiple. From wintry conditions to drunk drivers to deadly semi-trucks to long, boring stretches of flat countryside, I-80 certainly has its heavenly stretches, but one wrong slip-up and motorists may find their trip heading in the opposite direction.
#1 US 287
While some may consider Interstate 80 to be far deadlier, US Highway 87 tops our list. Mile per mile, there is no more dangerous road in all of Wyoming than US 287. Considering that US 287 has seen 1 deadly car crash for every 2 miles during the last decade, it’s no wonder many in Wyoming consider the road to be a death trap. Not only must drivers face treacherous climbs through high mountains, both Medicine Bow and Laramie, but also abrupt winter storms, steep hillsides, reckless drivers, and wildlife crossings. What makes US 287 especially dangerous, though, is the how remote large parts of the highway are from major urban centers. Often it is too tempting to just gun the engine when you’re way out in the middle of nowhere with nothing but the sky and open road ahead of you. Sadly, speed kills regardless of how many other cars are on the road. And, since much of US 287 is two lanes, there is little room to escape or maneuver if anything goes wrong. There are efforts to expand US 287 to four lanes, but this might prove impossible in some areas due to the tough mountain terrain. In the meantime, US 287 remains the most dangerous road in all of Wyoming. Drivers beware.