Personal Injury Blog

Where is The Most Dangerous Section of the Beltway?

By: Allan M. Siegel

Commuters in this area know all too well how bad rush hour can be. A study by Texas A&M University showed that Washingtonians placed first on the list of the Nation's worst commutes by spending an average, per driver, of 67 hours stuck in traffic in 2012. So amid all of this gridlock, where is the most dangerous section of the beltway? It is in Maryland, between Georgia Avenue and Rockville Pike. The stretch is known by many as "the roller coaster" because it winds and curves through the hills and valleys of Sligo Creek and Rock Creek. The roadway was originally built in the 1950's and was designed for much lower travel speeds. The current speed limit is 55 mph, but of course when traffic is lighter, the average speed of most drivers is closer to 65 or 70 mph.

Maryland Car Accident Lawyer

This stretch of the Beltway is also traveled by nearly a quarter million vehicles each day. The Maryland State Highway Administration estimates an average of 260 crashes per year. It also recorded a fatal crash each year for the past five years. It is difficult to get an accurate number of total crashes, however, because many of the smaller fender benders or spinouts are not reported to the police. Therefore, the true number of crashes is most likely much higher than recorded data shows.

On this stretch of the road, its "roller coaster" design makes it unsafe when traffic is lighter, and the sheer volume it handles makes it unsafe when traffic is at a standstill, which results in the most dangerous section of the beltway. The Maryland State Highway Administration states that there are no current plans to change the roadway's design or its speed limit, though yellow caution signs do mark the most hazardous curves.

Based on recent historical trends, there is practically a 100% chance that there will be a fatal crash on this stretch of roadway in 2014. With knowledge of this glaring data, the State of Maryland should step up to protect its citizens by researching safety measures, such as widening the roadway or heightening the police presence in the area to encourage safer driving.