Most Minnesota drivers understand the risk inherent in motor vehicle travel. Harsh winters in the Eagan area cause tragic collisions and multi-vehicle pileups that can completely shut down certain streets. Even when the weather is nice during the summer, poor road design and heavy traffic levels can lead to preventable crashes with catastrophic consequences.
A collision could occur anywhere from a residential road with a low speed limit to an interstate. However, certain Minnesota roads see far more crashes than others. What roads are statistically the most dangerous in Minnesota?
Highways and interstates are the most dangerous
Freeways, highways and interstates are among the most-utilized roads in Minnesota and across the United States. They stretch far longer than most surface streets and have higher speed limits. Unfortunately, the trade-off for the convenience of interstate travel is enhanced collision risk. All four of the most dangerous roads in Minnesota are interstates or highways.
US Highway 14 stretches 1,398 miles and has a long history as one of the oldest highways in the country. Sadly, it is also very dangerous. Certain locations on the road have crash rates six times higher than the average roadway in Minnesota. Interstate 94 is the third most dangerous road in the state. It sees collisions slightly more often than three out of every five days. Many of those crashes are severe, especially during winter months.
US Highway 12 is even more dangerous. Despite safety advances on this highway, including the construction of a median wall, crash risk is still higher on US-12 than on most other streets in the state. The only road that is consistently more dangerous is US Highway 169, where overall crash rates are quite high.
Winter storms and other inclement weather make US-169 particularly treacherous to travel, in part because of the volume of traffic using this highway. There were 27 fatalities on US-169 between 2015 and 2017, making it the deadliest road in the state.
People do not necessarily need to choose slower routes when planning travel in Minnesota. However, if they need to travel on US-169 or other high-risk thoroughfares, they may want to change their driving habits to reflect the degree of risk. Recognizing the locations where crashes are more likely to occur may inspire people to drive more defensively and to hold others accountable if a crash does occur.