Nick Austin of Freightwaves has published two articles, one in October and one last month, each listing five of the most dangerous roads for truckers in this country. I figured they'd be equally dangerous for motorists in general, and so read the articles with interest.
He's identified ten roads/routes so far, five in each article:
- U.S. Highway 2 in Montana;
- U.S. Highway 550 in Colorado (The Million Dollar Highway);
- Interstate 95 in Connecticut;
- Interstate 10 in Arizona;
- Dalton Highway in Alaska;
- California Route 138: ‘Blood Alley’;
- Interstate 4 in Florida;
- U.S. Highway 24: Toledo to Fort Wayne;
- Interstate 15: Las Vegas to Los Angeles;
- U.S. Highway 129: North Carolina to Tennessee.
I was astonished to see the last entry on the list. It's better known as the "Tail of the Dragon". I've driven it, but didn't see any trucks on it - and I find it hard to imagine as a heavy vehicle route, because it's steep and very, very twisting, with 318 turns in 11 miles, beloved of motorcycle riders and sports car drivers. Here - see it for yourself.
And Freightwaves considers that a trucking route? I think they're trucking crazy! However, I'll certainly agree that it's very dangerous to anyone exceeding the limits of their driving ability. The day I drove it, I saw no less than five accidents in those eleven miles, and that was considered a routine day. There's a "Tree of Shame" at the foot of the pass, where shattered remnants of motorcycles are hung up as a reminder to riders to be careful. It's quite a sight.
I don't fancy an eighteen-wheeler's chances of making it through there unscathed - but I can't help thinking that even the suggestion is Mr. Austin's idea of a joke. Seriously, readers who know trucking: would any of you want to drive that road in an eighteen-wheeler?