11 Of The Most Dangerous Highways & Roadways in Los Angeles

March 6, 2019

Los Angeles has recently made a name for itself as the 4th most congested city in the world.

Traffic has worsened as more ride sharing apps have increased the number of drivers on the road during times that were already busy.

Throughout Los Angeles, the majority of accidents take place in the morning and the evening, during rush hour.

During these times, drivers typically engage in other activities, particularly texting, which increases the crash rate by 23%.

As soon as traffic begins to move, drivers are eager to get to their destination which commonly leads to aggressive driving.

Even risky distracted driving behaviors like driving at high speeds and darting in and out of lanes. This puts all drivers on the road at risk for a car accident.

Every year, 630 people die in Los Angeles car accidents. Southern California is home to roughly 3,000 traffic fatalities annually.

Even the most diligent of drivers can still get caught in an accident because of the negligence of other Los Angeles drivers.

Many of the most dangerous highways and roads in Los Angeles are driven by people handling everyday tasks.

los angeles dangerous roads

Los Angeles residents use the same highways and roadways to drop their kids off at school, head to work, pick up things at the grocery store.

Almost all travel was spent within 10 to 25 miles of home which means the chances of getting in an accident are higher for habitual, otherwise mundane driving.

So, what are some of the most dangerous roads in Los Angeles, and how can you avoid them?

In this guide, we will explore these dangerous roadways in order to help you engage in a more safe commute in your daily driving.

The 11 Most Dangerous Highways and Roads in Los Angeles, California

The chart below shows some quick statistics for the most dangerous roads in LA. We used this information to organize these road systems based on their number of fatal crashes per miler, per year.

RankRoad NameCountyFatal Crashes (2017)FatalitiesLength in MilesFatal Crashes Per Mile
1Sierra HighwayLos Angeles10113.512.847
2Route 74Riverside8103.702.162
3I-405Los Angeles675.761.042
4I-5Los Angeles282828.120.996
5Route 118Los Angeles91010.240.879
6I-710Los Angeles141616.610.843
7State Route 1Los Angeles677.160.837
8State Route 138San Bernardino111311.50.944
9Route 101Los Angeles677.160.837
10I-10Los Angeles242429.660.809
11Highway 14Los Angeles669.450.633

1. Sierra Highway

Los Angeles has some of the most dangerous roads in all of California, especially Southern California.

In LA, the Sierra Highway is known for being one of the most dangerous areas.

It has an incredibly high fatality rate for such a short length of road. Like so many areas of Los Angeles, the city and urban development have grown around outdated highway and street infrastructure.

This makes it impossible to expand the roadways that are now seeing an inordinate number of cars on the road.

2. Route 74

Highway 74 in Riverside sees commuter traffic on a regular basis with severe rush hours, many curves, and the potential for a high number of fatalities. If you need an injury lawyer call our law firm today.

One of the many reasons that this particular road is so dangerous is that there is a great need for expansion and improvements but these things cannot be done without impeding traffic even more.

When construction takes place to make state-funded improvements to a road this popular, it forces the road to be shut down to some degree for a lengthy period of time.

This means that all of the traffic which would regularly be on this road gets funneled to nearby highways and city streets, adding to the dangerous road conditions that are already present in the surrounding areas.

3. Interstate 405

Interstate 405 is notorious for its heavy traffic and with it, the increased risk of dangerous driving behavior such as distracted driving, DUI and speeding.

It is where so many other highways converge and where drivers access the LAX airport, which is why it is constantly a danger to motorcyclists.

Overall, this is one of the deadliest highways in California, as it commands a massive amount of daily traffic, and leads to many important locations in the city and beyond.

4. Interstate 5

Interstate 5 is part of the main road connecting Northern California to Southern California.

So many of the other highways throughout Los Angeles join the 5 at different locations.

It has a very long stretch of highway throughout the Los Angeles area, yet drivers who are making long-distance travels often converge with drivers who are completing a short commute or running quick errands.

All of this leads to higher risks of accidents.

5. Route 118

Route 118 sees a great deal of traffic, particularly in the morning and the afternoon.

This is why it has earned its place as one of the most dangerous roads in Los Angeles.

With rising energy costs, the budget in this area typically addresses problems in surrounding areas such as immigration, drought, and housing rather than addressing the decaying roads.

6. Interstate 710

Sometimes, short roads can be the most dangerous. Throughout the Los Angeles area, Interstate 710 stretches only 20 miles and yet it has claimed more lives than most of the other freeways throughout the county.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has named the I-710 one of the top 10 most dangerous highways in the United States.

This puts it near the top of our list as the most dangerous highway in Los Angeles, California.

7. Highway 1

State Route 1, PCH, or Highway 1 in the Los Angeles area does not stretch for even a dozen miles, and yet it has a very high fatality rate.

Like many parts of Los Angeles, the city has to focus more heavily on regular issues of drought and fire risk which becomes a much more immediate public concern than improvements to highway infrastructure.

8. Highway 138

Known to motorists as “death road”,  Highway 138 has earned a reputation for having 60 fatalities and 875 injuries over the last two decades.

The highway has two narrow lanes which are responsible for the high rate of accidents, particularly fatalities.

The lanes have been scheduled to be widened. Additional sight lines and warning signs have also been scheduled to improve the safety conditions on this road.

Overall, this makes Highway 138 one of the deadliest roads in California, and in America. When driving on this road, you should pay the utmost attention to avoid motor vehicle accidents.

9. Highway 101 Los Angeles

Highway 101 at different intervals throughout Southern California merges with other highways.

Like many of the roads mentioned on this list, serves as a multi-lane road that cuts through cities.

When lifted freeways or highways suddenly become main thoroughfares in a city or urban area, many drivers fail to notice the reduced speed signs or pay increased attention to the risks for hazards such as cyclists or pedestrians.

This can lead to increased danger of car accidents as well as cycling accidents involving pedestrians, which can be extremely dangerous, and often fatal.

10. Interstate 10 California

Interstate 10 cuts through the heart of Los Angeles.

Due to the large number of vehicles on this road, which was never intended to handle so much traffic, this is one of California’s most dangerous roads.

This problem is exacerbated by the mixture of drivers who are handling short commutes and commercial drivers handling long journeys.

As more people move into the outskirts of Los Angeles, the increase in population continues to increase traffic on this particular road.

11. Highway 14 California

Highway 14 is accessed by many commuters.

While the majority of the highway extends beyond the city center of Los Angeles, it is still an incredibly dangerous road, ripe with accidents from people speeding.

This road simply sees more traffic than it was originally intended to handle. Rather than having lanes specifically for commercial vehicles and personal vehicles, everybody shares the road.

This causes the excess weight from commercial vehicles to degrade the road conditions across every lane, with insufficient funding to rectify the problem.

Another reason for such a high risk of car accidents in this area is that there is simply insufficient funds put into the infrastructure in the roadways.

Why Are Car Accidents So Common in LA?

According to vehicle insurance information, the most common causes of accidents in Los Angeles are as follows:

distracted driving

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents throughout the United States.

This includes things like talking on the phone, even if that is done in a hands-free capacity.

It extends to texting, changing the radio, even eating fast food while sitting in traffic.

Checking your phone, looking around the car, and otherwise not paying attention is very dangerous.

It often causes drivers in slow-moving traffic to catch a glimpse of movement around them and begin to respond to that movement without appropriately assessing the driving environment.

It is situations like these that lead to people believing traffic is moving at a faster pace than it is simply because they see the car directly in front of them start to move, and likewise responding by speeding up only to rear-end the car in front of them.

Even accidents under 10 mph can be damaging and result in some of these common car accident injuries.

Driving Under the Influence

Many people think that they are perfectly able to drive even after they’ve had a few drinks. The stats are crazy.

Just because you don’t feel intoxicated doesn’t mean that you aren’t.

People who are out at social events might have one drink and feel comfortable, and then succumb to peer pressure by getting another drink just to pass the remaining time.

But when everybody leaves, they quickly down the remainder of their drinks so as not to be wasteful, pay the tab, get behind the wheel, and start driving home all before that remaining drink starts to affect their bodies.

It is for this reason that swerving and other erratic driving can manifest in the middle of a drive home even without the driver realizing.

speeding kills

Speeding

Speeding is an incredibly common cause of car accidents in the Los Angeles area.

Drivers who have been stuck in traffic might try to make up for missed time by driving above the speed limit as soon as traffic starts to let up.

Activities like this increases the risk of car accident especially when additional traffic could be right around the corner.

Ignoring Traffic Signals & Signs

Road signs might be difficult to read, especially at night, and many drivers in the Southern California area might roll through stop signs regularly, bringing truth to the term “California stop”.

In any case, ignoring or disobeying simple traffic signals increases the risk of car accidents, especially when you take into consideration the fact that you might not be the only driver disobeying these laws.

driving at night

Driving at Night

Even drivers who have the best set of headlights will find it difficult to drive at night in certain situations.

Pedestrians are harder to see, and during the winter months it gets dark much sooner, which obscures the vision of many drivers as they try to get home.  

With so much light pollution throughout Los Angeles, it can be difficult to properly assess all of the risks on the road in your driving environment. This is why a great deal of accidents happen in the evening.

What to do if you’ve been in a car accident in Los Angeles, California

If you have been injured in a car accident in the Los Angeles area, contact the Law Offices of Daniel Kim immediately.

Daniel and our team of experienced LA Car Accident Attorneys have helped our clients to win hundreds of $$ million in damages.

We have the skill and experience to help you get the compensation you deserve.  

If you have been involved in a car accident because of a negligent Los Angeles driver, you deserve compensation with the help of our accident attorneys.

Give us a call today for a free case evaluation to help you learn:

  • If you have a case
  • How much you may be entitled to
  • What steps to take next

If you do have a case, our team will work to get you compensation, and you will not pay a cent until your case is won. Contact us today to speak with an expert, and get started with your free case evaluation.