Arkansas, celebrated for its stunning natural landscapes, is home to roads that provide an opportunity to immerse oneself in these picturesque surroundings. However, behind the charm of these roadways lurks a less idyllic reality – some of them are among the most treacherous in the state. In this article, we’ll delve into the highways and intersections that have earned the dubious distinction of being the most dangerous in Arkansas.
Arkansas Roads by the Numbers
Before we explore the hazardous roads, let’s begin by examining some statistics that shed light on the state’s road conditions. In 2020 alone, drivers collectively covered a staggering 33,919 million miles on Arkansas roads.
Unfortunately, the same year witnessed 585 fatal crashes, resulting in 638 tragic deaths. These numbers underscore the urgent need for enhanced road safety measures.
Rural Highways: A Risky Proposition
Arkansas ranks twelfth in the nation for state highway miles. Due to its central geographic location, the state serves as a thoroughfare for numerous large commercial vehicles on a daily basis. This influx of traffic poses its own set of challenges, particularly on rural highways where a staggering 70% of fatal crashes occur.
These rural roads are characterized by higher speeds, a lack of paved shoulders, and lower rates of safety belt usage. Moreover, extended response times for emergency medical personnel at crash sites leave the injured in a precarious situation.
The Most Perilous Roads
Highways that have earned their reputation as some of the state’s riskiest routes:
U.S. Route 70
Highway 70, extending from the western edge of Oklahoma near DeQueen to Memphis, Tennessee, creates a vital east-west corridor across the state of Arkansas.
Despite parts of this route being replaced by the modern Interstate 40, it still retains its allure as a scenic journey through charming locales. This includes Hot Springs, Little Rock, North Little Rock, and West Memphis, which continue to captivate and draw travelers.
Yet, beneath its picturesque facade, Highway 70 conceals a fearful reality. This two-lane road, marked by its serpentine twists and turns, witnessed a troubling statistic in 2015 when it recorded 12 fatalities.
According to Keith Law Group, these incidents are stark reminders of the perils within Arkansas’s natural beauty. They underscore the importance of caution and responsible driving along this route.
The Crossroads of 46th Street and Walnut Street in Rogers, Arkansas
Just a stone’s throw from bustling I-49, the intersection of 46th Street and Walnut Street in Rogers, Arkansas, painted a grim picture in 2016. It witnessed an astonishing 64 reported accidents during that year.
Walnut Street, alternatively known as Business Highway 71, is a bustling thoroughfare. It’s home to a cluster of popular establishments, including McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Kohl’s, making it a hub of daily activity.
However, the alarming frequency of accidents at this junction can, in part, be attributed to the conspicuous absence of crucial safety features. These features, such as traffic lights, are essential for facilitating safe and efficient access to and exit from these businesses.
In light of this concerning pattern, both residents and visitors may consider seeking the assistance of a Rogers car accident attorney. These legal professionals can help navigate the complex legal intricacies that often arise from accidents in this area. Their services underscore the pressing need for improved safety measures at this perilous intersection.
Arkansas Highway 7
Highway 7 is renowned for its steep inclines and demanding curves, and it holds a special place in the hearts of motorcyclists. They are drawn to this road for its exhilarating challenges, even though it comes with inherent risks.
This road extends from southern Louisiana near the Arkansas state line to the serene shores of Bull Shoals Lake, nearing the Missouri state line. Along its route, it offers travelers a spectacular journey through the rugged landscapes of the Ozark Mountains.
As they continue, they are treated to the enchanting beauty of the Ouachita Mountains. Travelers are treated to awe-inspiring vistas that showcase Arkansas’s natural splendor.
A substantial portion of Highway 7 has earned the prestigious designation as an Arkansas Scenic Byway and a National Forest Scenic Byway. This recognition emphasizes its appeal to adventure seekers and those captivated by the Natural State’s breathtaking beauty.
Interstate 49 (I-49)
Opened in 1999, the northern section of I-49 begins at I-40 and U.S. Highway 71 in Alma and extends north into Missouri. This 65-mile stretch traverses Crawford, Washington, and Benton counties, linking the towns of Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville. Unfortunately, as a heavily trafficked commercial corridor, truck accidents are a common occurrence on I-49.
Arkansas undoubtedly offers some of the most picturesque drives in the United States. However, it’s vital to be aware of the challenges and hazards that these roads can present. Staying informed, cautious, and vigilant can go a long way in ensuring safe travels on these beautiful but perilous highways and intersections. Road safety measures and improvements are essential to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities on these dangerous routes.