The USA’s Most Dangerous Roads

Which states have the most treacherous roads in the country?

One of the most dangerous things that many of us do on a daily basis is traveling and driving on American roads. Each year, there are thousands of road accidents in the USA, with many resulting in fatalities and life-changing injuries. Not only are drivers at risk, but so is anyone else in the vehicle, and while there have been many safety innovations over the past decades, such as seatbelts, airbags, and crumple zones, we continue to see high levels of serious injury resulting from automotive accidents.

While the danger to a person can often depend on their personal situation, such as the vehicle they drive and how well they drive it, there’s no accounting for other road users. Dangerous drivers who ignore speed limits or drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs put law-abiding road users at risk on a daily basis, but they aren’t the only reason why accidents happen.

The standard of road quality and maintenance can also be a determining factor that can make a collision more likely. When a road surface becomes worn out drivers may find that their vehicle has less grip and traction, resulting in longer braking distances and a higher likelihood of skidding off-course. 

Yet, these dangers of the road are not equally distributed across the country, with some areas proving far riskier for drivers than others. For instance, in 2017 it was reported that Florida was home to 6 of the 10 most dangerous roads in the country! With this in mind, we here at 1-800-Injured wanted to identify the states with the most dangerous roads, both in terms of fatalities and poor road quality.

Dangerous Roads Index

One of the best ways to determine how dangerous a state’s roads are is to look at the number of fatalities seen as a result of vehicle-related accidents. However, as states vary in terms of population, vehicle miles traveled, and the number of drivers, a simple death toll can be misleading. Therefore, we went and calculated the road fatality rates for the aforementioned factors and combined them into a single Road Danger Rating. We then address each individual fatality rate in the subsequent tables.


1. Mississippi Road Danger Rating: 9.93/10

Mississippi is the state with the most deadly roads, having scored the highest Road Danger Rating of 9.93. This southern state scores very highly across all the different fatality factors, cementing itself as a risky place to take to the road.

2. Arkansas & South Carolina Road Danger Rating: 9.59/10

In joint second place are Arkansas and South Carolina, both of which received a Road Danger Rating of 9.59. Arkansas had the higher fatality rate compared to population and the number of licensed drivers, while South Carolina had an incredibly high rate of deaths compared to vehicle miles traveled.

Road fatalities per 100,000 people

In this section, we specifically look at the road fatality rate when calculated using each state’s population. Here we can see the number of road deaths per 100,000 people in every state.


1. Mississippi Fatalities per 100,000 people: 25.39

Mississippi has the highest road fatality rate compared to its population, with 25.39 deaths per 100,000 people. 

2. Wyoming Fatalities per 100,000 people: 22.02

In second place is Wyoming, where there are as many as 22.02 deaths per 100,000 people in the state. 

3. Arkansas Fatalities per 100,000 people: 21.19

Arkansas had the third-highest number of road deaths compared to population, with 21.19 fatalities per 100,000 people. 

Road fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT)

Here we consider the number of road deaths compared to the number of miles driven in each state. By calculating the rate of deaths per vehicle miles traveled, we get a better understanding of how frequently road fatalities occur in each state.


1. South Carolina Fatality rate per billion VMT: 19.71

The state with the most road deaths compared to distance driven is South Carolina, where there are 19.71 road fatalities per billion vehicle miles traveled.

2. Mississippi Fatality rate per billion VMT: 18.96

In second place is the ever-present Mississippi, which sees 18.96 road deaths for every billion vehicle miles traveled.

3. Arkansas Fatality rate per billion VMT: 18.81

Taking third place is Arkansas with a fatality rate of 18.81 deaths per billion vehicle miles traveled.

Road fatalities per 100,000 licensed drivers

Last but not least, we also wanted to calculate the rate of fatalities per 100,000 licensed drivers. This metric allows us to consider only the driving population of each state, whereas considering the total population also takes into account the possibility of passengers, pedestrians and other road users such as cyclists.


1. Mississippi Fatality rate per 100,000 licensed drivers: 37.28

Mississippi is the most dangerous state in the country when measured by road deaths compared to the number of licensed drivers. Here the fatality rate per 100,000 drivers is the highest in the USA at 37.28.

2. Wyoming Fatality rate per 100,000 licensed drivers: 29.73

Wyoming makes another appearance, coming second with 29.73 road deaths per 100,000 licensed drivers.

3. Arkansas Fatality rate per 100,000 licensed drivers: 29.62

In third place is Arkansas, where the fatality rate per 100,000 licensed drivers stands at 29.62.

Florida: Is it still a road danger hotspot?

Florida ranks 13th out of all states for having the most dangerous roads, scoring a road danger rating of 7.28. This means that while Florida may not be the state with the most dangerous roads in the country, it still ranks fairly high. 

Breaking down that overall score, Florida ranked 18th for road fatalities by licensed drivers, with 21.2 deaths per 100,000, and ranked 15th for fatalities by population, with 15.47 deaths per 100,000 people in the state. However, Florida’s worst performance was for deaths by vehicle miles traveled, where it came 10th with 16.01 fatalities per billion VMT. 

These relatively high scores show that Florida still has some ways to go to make its roads safer for drivers and other road users. With this in mind, we were curious to find out which parts of Florida are the most dangerous. To do so, we compiled the total number of road fatalities in each Florida county for the whole of the 2010s. Should car accident attorneys in Miami expect a boom in business? Or are less urban parts of the state more dangerous?


1. Glades County Road fatalities per 1,000 people: 5.52

The county with the most dangerous roads in Florida is Glades County. With 76 road deaths recorded during the 2010s, Glades County has a fatality rate of 5.52 per 1,000 people for the decade.

2. Hamilton County Road fatalities per 1,000 people: 4.45

Hamilton County has the second most dangerous roads in Florida, recording 64 deaths in the 2010s with a fatality rate of 4.45 deaths per 1,000 people.

3. Levy County Road fatalities per 1,000 people: 4.25

The third most dangerous county when it comes to road safety is Levy County. Here the 174 deaths recorded between 2010 and 2019 were split between a population of 40,979, resulting in a road fatality rate of 4.25 per 1,000 people.


The number of deaths on the road is not the only factor that can indicate whether a road is safe or not. After all, the majority of road accidents do not result in a fatality, so it makes sense to consider some additional factors.

For instance, the quality of the road surface and its maintenance is incredibly important in making them safe to use. This is why we have also created the Road Quality Index to identify the states where the roads are in the best condition. By combining data on road roughness, cracking, and rutting, we have been able to formulate and assign a road quality score to each state and rank them accordingly.

The states with the best quality roads

Having considered various aspects of road surface quality, we can now reveal the best states in the country for driving on good quality and well-maintained roads. Here are the top ten.


1. Nevada Road Quality Score: 8.98

The state with the best quality roads in the country is Nevada, which received an overall Road Quality score of 8.98. With the second-lowest percentage of roads rated “poor” for roughness, Nevada also had very low levels of heavy cracking and rutting on the state’s road system.

2. South Dakota Road Quality Score: 8.78

South Dakota came second for road surface quality with an overall score of 8.78. The state did very well for having hardly any road surfaces with high levels of cracking or rutting.

3. North Dakota Road Quality Score: 8.44

North Dakota has the third-highest Road Quality Score of 8.44. This is at least in part due to the state having the lowest levels of heavy road cracking in the entire country. 

The states with the worst quality roads

We have also been able to identify the worst states when it comes to maintaining a high standard of road surface quality. These states are the worst offenders.


1. Rhode Island Road Quality Score: 0.61

Rhode Island is the state with the worst quality road surfaces in the country, receiving a score of just 0.61. Rhode Island has the highest percentage of its roads rated “poor” for roughness, while also having one of the highest proportions of roads with heavy cracking.

2. Louisiana Road Quality Score: 1.16

Louisiana has the second-worst quality roads in the country, having scored just 1.16 on our Road Quality Index. Louisiana’s roads suffer from particularly high levels of rutting, with 14.35% of roads being affected.

3. New York Road Quality Score: 1.7

The third worst quality roads in the country can be found in New York state, which received a Road Quality Score of 1.7. New York’s roads suffer from a high rate of cracking and a moderately high rate of rutting, while also having one of the largest proportions of its roads rated “poor” for roughness.


We wanted to find out which parts of the US had the most dangerous roads. To do this, we looked at data for road fatalities and road surface conditions from the Federal Highway Administration.

We first looked at road fatalities in each state, comparing them to local population levels, the number of licensed drivers, and the number of vehicle miles traveled. The three rates we calculated were then combined into a single “Road Danger Rating”, allowing us to rank the states accordingly to create our Dangerous Roads Index. Population data for the states was taken from United States Census Bureau.

We also took a closer look at how road fatalities can vary within a state by comparing county-level data within Florida. Again, we used data from the Federal Highways Administration for the number of deaths while we used Florida Demographics to find the population of each county. We then found the total number of road deaths in each county for the 2010s (2010-2019) and calculated the rate per 1,000 people.

In addition to road deaths, we also looked at road surface quality data to form a state-by-state comparison, giving another viewpoint of how roads can be dangerous outside of their fatality rate. Again, we used data from the Federal Highway Administration and the United States Census Bureau to do this.