When some people think of Kansas, they picture vast fields of golden wheat and friendly small towns. While that is an accurate description of some parts of the state, Kansas also boasts its fair share of danger, particularly when it comes to roads. According to the National Transportation Research Nonprofit (TRIP), 25% of Kansas’ major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. This means that many of the state’s roads are riddled with potholes, cracks, and other hazards that can make driving dangerous. In this blog, our Kansas car accident attorneys review the most dangerous roads in Kansas and offer some safe driving tips.
Deadliest Roads in Kansas
According to the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), over 400 people are killed and 1,700 people are seriously injured annually in Kansas automobile crashes. Based on historic data of both fatal and non-fatal accidents, Kansas officials are increasing traffic enforcement on four dangerous stretches of highway in an effort to reduce serious injury and fatal crashes.
This is a part of the Kansas Strategic Highway Safety Plan, a multi-year program to decrease the number of accidents and traffic fatalities in the state.
According to data gathered by the state’s transportation officials, the most dangerous roads in Kansas include:
- I-135 in Sedgwick and Harvey counties, from 53rd Street in Park City to Exit 34 in North Newton.
- US-24 in Pottawatomie County, from St. Marys west to Manhattan.
- US-83/50 highways in Finney County, from Plymell north through Garden City and west to the Holcomb exit.
- US-69 highway in Crawford County, from the US-400 highway junction north through Frontenac and Pittsburg to the US-160 highway junction.
Between 2016 and 2021, there were over 500 crashes on these roads, resulting in 35 deaths and 68 serious injuries.
Top Kansas Highway Dangers
While the state’s roads may not feature the hairpin turns or steep mountain passes seen in other regions, they come with their own set of challenges. When driving anywhere in the country, including on one of the most dangerous roads in Kansas, it is important to stay safe and drive carefully. Along with general driving dangers like distractions and speeding, there are a few other things to keep in mind when driving on Kansas roads, such as:
- Extreme weather: Kansas is no stranger to extreme weather and highways can quickly become dangerous during certain seasons. In winter, heavy snowfall and ice can lead to treacherous driving conditions like blowing snow and reduced visibility. During the summer months, Kansas experiences intense heat, which can lead to road buckling and tire blowouts, posing additional dangers to drivers.
- High winds: the state’s flat terrain and open spaces leave highways vulnerable to strong winds, which can be a significant hazard. High-profile vehicles, such as trucks and RVs, are particularly susceptible to wind-related accidents as high winds make it challenging for drivers to maintain control of their vehicles.
- Driver fatigue: Kansas is known for its long, straight highways that seem to stretch on forever. While the scenery may be beautiful, the monotony can be mentally exhausting for drivers, increasing the likelihood of an accident. The lack of frequent curves or elevation changes can lead to highway hypnosis, causing drivers to become drowsy and lose focus.
- Wildlife crossings: many Kansas highways traverse rural areas where animals frequently cross the road. This poses a risk to drivers, especially during dawn and dusk when wildlife is most active. Collisions with deer and other animals can result in significant damage to vehicles and injuries to passengers.
- Narrow and aging infrastructure:some of Kansas’ highways were built decades ago and may not be equipped to handle modern traffic volumes. Narrow lanes, outdated signage, and aging infrastructure can contribute to accidents.
- Heavy agricultural traffic: Kansas is a major agricultural state, and during planting and harvest seasons, highways are bustling with heavy farming equipment. These large, slow-moving vehicles can impede traffic flow and pose challenges for other drivers, especially on two-lane highways.
How to Keep Kansas Roads Safe
Keeping Kansas roads safe is a critical priority for both state residents and visitors. In order to keep the most dangerous roads in Kansas safe for everyone, it involves a combination of responsible driving, infrastructure maintenance, and public awareness. While you can’t do much to fix potholes or stop reckless driving, there are a few things you can do to keep yourself and your family safe when driving.
- Be a responsible driver: this means obeying the speed limit, never driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and putting away your phone and other distractions while driving.
- Report dangerous driving: if you see someone driving dangerously, report it to the police.
- Be prepared for sudden changes in weather: Kansas is prone to thunderstorms, tornadoes, and blizzards. Extreme weather can be even more of a hazard when driving one of the most dangerous roads in Kansas. If you are caught in a severe weather event, pull over to a safe location and wait for the storm to pass.
- Take Breaks: when starting a long drive across Kansas, plan for regular rest stops to combat fatigue.
- Watch for Wildlife: pay close attention to wildlife crossing signs and slow down during dawn and dusk.
- Stay Updated: be aware of any construction or roadwork along your route and plan accordingly.
Contact Patterson Legal Group Today
By driving responsibly, everyone can help make the most dangerous roads in Kansas much safer. When that doesn’t happen, Patterson Legal Group can help. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one due to the negligent or reckless actions of another, you deserve compensation and justice for your losses. When you hire an attorney from Patterson Legal Group, you can be sure that we will handle all of the legal paperwork and fight for you so you can focus on your recovery.
Patterson Legal Group has more than 75 years of combined experience successfully representing injury victims in Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. We have a track record of winning superior settlements for our clients. Our firm offers free consultations and works on a “no win, no fee” basis, which means that you do not pay a dime unless money has been recovered on your behalf.