Those who make their living driving the roads of America have their least favorite places to drive. It may be due to congested traffic and poorly designed, outdated roads, or roads in ill repair. Regardless, there are places that are more dangerous to drive, and for the first quarter of 2012, they were MORE deadly — highway fatalities rose 13.5% in USA.

Fatalities by State

California tops the list of fatalities per 100,000 licensed drivers at 3,974, followed by Texas (3,363), and Florida (3,214); however, fatalities per 100 miles traveled, is a different story. As of 2007, Montana led the way at 2.45, followed by Louisiana (2.17), and West Virginia (2.10), but in 2010, Mississippi claimed top spot with 27 fatalities per 100,000 licensed drivers. Total miles driven is also a factor with California’s over 300M, while Texas and Florida are both over 200M.

Why is  this information important? Do you really need all these facts? Yes, you do. Although good driving habits, defensive driving, and road awareness are always important there are places in America where it’s even more important to be on your toes.

Seven Places to be on Your Game

1. Three California highways were in the Top Ten for fatalities over the last 5 years with 686 deaths: I-15 in San Bernardino County, I-10 in Riverside County, and I-5 in Los Angeles County. The Danger can be attributed to overloaded highways, roads not designed to carry the amount of traffic, and driver error.

2. Florida I-95 averaged 1.73 deaths per mile from 2004 – 2008. Traffic from Miami to Broward/Dade is some of the heaviest traffic in the USA.

3. Not only is Texas second in fatalities per 100,000 drivers, but the Texas Transportation Commission has approved an 85 MPH  speed limit for a 41 mile stretch of toll road despite the concerns of safety groups. This could be a sign of things to come.

4. Mississippi, at 2.7 deaths per 100,000 drivers, proves this state can be a dangerous place to drive.  High speeds combined with low seat belt use are contributors, and Mississippi is one of 11 states who have not outlawed texting while driving.

5. West Virginia  during deer season leads the way in fatalities caused by auto/deer collisions. Deer collisions kill 200 Americans, cause 10,000 injuries, and $1 billion in damages every year.

6. Montana has the highest incidence of DUI  in the country. This, along with roads, which can literally lull a driver to sleep, contributes to their 2.45 fatalities per 100,000 drivers.

7. Over the last decade, 325 people have perished on I-26 in South Carolina  This highway connects South Carolina’s largest metropolitan areas. Much of it is covered in pines and slopes downhill from the berm. Many of the deaths are due to hitting trees or rolling down the slope because of the lack of guard rails.

With higher speed limits, denser traffic, and distracted drivers, it’s more important than ever to practice defensive driving, especially on some of the most dangerous places to drive in America.