The Most Dangerous Los Angeles Freeways

In this post, we will examine four of the major freeways in and around Los Angeles from the perspective of why they pose hazards to drivers and others.

The as-yet unresolved question remains: how might we improve our freeways so that the number of crashes that injure innocents and cost lives decrease? Or must the burden remain on each individual to remain on high alert every time they travel on or near a freeway?

Top Four Freeways for Car Accidents in LA

The following are the four freeways best known for their riskiness to drivers, passengers, and in some cases, pedestrians, and bicyclists—even in ideal weather conditions.

Interstate 5 (aka “The Five”)

Hundreds of individuals lose their lives on this West Coast freeway annually, which is why it is considered one of the most dangerous stretches of roadway in the United States. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible for Los Angelenos and others in our area to avoid, which results in more than 200,000 vehicles traveling it daily. Combine this congestion with most of those cars, trucks, and motorcycles going at high speeds and the fact that the road is simply not wide enough in several areas to accommodate so many commercial and passenger vehicles. The result increases the risk of a traffic accident daily.

Certain spans of this major freeway are particularly dangerous, including the mountainous area known as Tejon Pass and the adjacent Grapevine, which covers about a five mile stretch north of Tejon. This area is known for steep grade changes, which pose challenges to 18-wheelers in particular. Unfortunately, frustrated drivers of smaller vehicles often make the poor decision to pass large trucks forced to travel slowly by the steep conditions, and they typically do so without making sure it is safe to pass first. The steep grades also put a strain on all vehicles’ brakes, and a failure at freeways speeds threatens the lives of everyone in and around the out-of-control car or truck.

Interstate 405

Running along the south and west sides of greater LA, you will find the 405, which is known for carrying some of the heaviest daily traffic in the country. It is also all-but-unavoidable for area drivers and tourists, who use it to reach our three airports, as well as for daily commuting activities and commercial traffic. Because so many out-of-towners use this freeway, the danger of someone being distracted while searching for their exit or checking their phone’s GPS is high.

The 405 is so well known for its congestion that there are running jokes about its name stemming from traffic moving at only ‘four or five’ miles per hour or taking ‘four or five’ hours to get where you’re going. Indeed, some stretches are so bad, like the West LA section, that it has become famous for the aerial gridlock videos posted of it during major holidays. Attempts at lane expansion and other measures to relieve clogged traffic have yet to yield measurable improvements in commuting experience or safety.

Not surprisingly, with so many drivers clogging the 405 daily, they often behave poorly. From the aforementioned distracted driving to road rage incidents to speeding (when possible, to make up for prior delays), far too many drivers along the 405 put their lives, and others, at further risk.

Interstate 710

The 710, aka Long Beach Freeway, might be shorter than the other freeways mentioned above at less than 30 miles, but it is still considered one of the top five most dangerous stretches of road in the United States. Connecting the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to East LA and the remaining interstate roadways, this is another heavily traveled freeway vital to commercial and non-commercial vehicles alike. As communities along this corridor have grown, the 710’s infrastructure has rapidly become outdated and nearly incapable of sustaining the amount of traffic now clogging it regularly. Long delays are common, especially at interchanges.

I-710 carries additional risks that are rarer to encounter on I-5 or I-405: pedestrians and bicyclists. An alarming number of accidents with significant injuries or death occur due to pedestrians or bike riders being struck on parts of the freeways that pass through or near urban centers.

Interstate 110

This South Los Angeles freeway is also known as the Harbor Freeway. It is also infamously considered the deadliest freeway in Los Angeles, with hundreds of crashes reported annually, many involving serious injuries and fatalities. Again, the primary culprit is the tremendous amount of traffic glutting the freeway, particularly during prime commuting hours. With six lanes that split downtown into local and through traffic, you will find drivers hastily merging, changing lanes, tailgating, and otherwise driving recklessly to get where they want to go. Sadly, many never reach their destinations because of these same, poor tactics.

What Could Make LA Freeways Safer?

Projects have been introduced and undertaken to reduce congestion and otherwise improve freeway accessibility and safety. Unfortunately, many have stalled for various reasons, leaving our infrastructure woefully inadequate given the volume of commercial and non-commercial traffic navigating the Los Angeles area regularly. Other measures, such as adding more HOV lanes and developing effective public transportation alternatives, have helped to some degree, but not enough.

So, while we wait for our officials to improve freeway travel, for now the burden remains on us as responsible drivers to do our utmost to keep ourselves, our passengers, and others safe. This can be accomplished by avoiding distractions like texting while driving, always driving sober, and not giving in to frustration caused by heavy traffic and driving aggressively.

Injured on a Los Angeles Freeway? Call Now

If you or someone in your family suffers serious injuries on a freeway, our law firm can help you afford to get the medical treatment needed to recover, while also replacing damaged or destroyed property. Give Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation, a call and let us hold all parties responsible for your accident accountable.

Contact our office today by calling (310) 683-2300 or filling out the online contact form to discuss the details of your case and learn more about how we can help you. We offer free consultations, so there’s no reason not to reach out to someone from our team right away.