Accident statistics of U.S. cities reveal that Los Angeles is ranked sixth in terms of the greatest car accident risks in the nation. On average, people in Los Angeles only go an average of 5.81 years between motor vehicle collisions. Six of the roads with the greatest number of accidents are located in California. One is in Los Angeles, and two others are in Los Angeles County outside of the city in Glendale and Pasadena.
Los Angeles is also widely known for its car culture and its traffic congestion. On the city’s numerous freeways and highways, traffic accidents are common occurrences. Whether you live in the city, drive into it from outside for work, or are planning a visit, it’s important to understand the risks you face when traveling on the city’s roadways.
The Crosstown Neighborhood Newsletter tracked every reported accident on 24 different freeway segments in Los Angeles for one year. The researchers then calculated the accident rates on each of these segments per mile to determine which were the most dangerous. Here are the most dangerous freeways in Los Angeles and some steps to take to reduce your accident risks when driving on them.
1. I-110 N. between I-105 and U.S. Highway 101
The stretch of I-110 N. running between San Pedro and U.S. Highway 101 is the most dangerous freeway in Los Angeles. Crosstown Neighborhood Newsletter calculated that this stretch of freeway experienced an average of 162.8 accidents for each mile of the roadway. Called the Harbor Freeway, this segment runs for 10 miles to connect South L.A. with downtown.
While the stretch is slightly less dangerous headed southbound, I-110 S. from U.S. 101 to I-105 still ranks as the eighth most dangerous stretch of freeway in Los Angeles. Along the southbound stretch, 122.2 accidents happen for every mile of the highway.
This stretch of the Harbor Freeway is infamous for its bumper-to-bumper traffic and numerous exit and entrance ramps with vehicles trying to merge to and from the freeway and its six traffic lanes. In the downtown section, I-110 N. divides into two sections in both directions with one section dedicated to through traffic and the other for all of the downtown exits.
How to Avoid It
You have multiple options for avoiding driving on this section of the Harbor Freeway. You can choose to avoid it completely by driving on streets and then entering one of the freeways it connects to. However, there are numerous one-way streets that make navigating through downtown trickier, and you’ll also have to keep an eye out for cars along the sides of the street.
2. I-405 N. From the 110 Freeway to the 10 Freeway
Crosstown found the second-most dangerous stretch of freeway in L.A. is I-405 N. between the 110 Freeway to the 10 Freeway. This section runs for 16 miles and experiences an average of 154.5 motor vehicle collisions for every mile. While the southbound segment is not as dangerous, it still experiences 127 motor vehicle crashes per mile and comes in as the sixth-most dangerous freeway segment in L.A.
The 405 running through Los Angeles is notorious for its constant traffic congestion. It remains jam-packed with vehicles at all hours of the day, including at night. With the amount of traffic traveling on this freeway, even changing lanes can be dangerous. Most people who live and work in the city have few options other than to drive themselves to reach their destinations.
How to Avoid It
It’s hard for people in downtown to avoid the 405 since the city streets tend to be similarly congested. If you find it impossible to avoid driving on this segment of the 405, plan your trip with others and drive in the carpool lanes. You can also use an app to identify detours you can take on streets in certain sections. When you drive on the 405, remember that accidents happen suddenly, so you should always keep your attention on the road and don’t trust the drivers traveling around you.
3. I-5 S. Between I-10 and I-405
The third-most dangerous freeway segment in Los Angeles that was identified by Crosstown is I-5 South running from I-10 to I-405. This stretch runs for 41 miles from the 10 in downtown Los Angeles to the 405 in Irvine and experiences an average of 138.6 accidents for each mile of roadway. Northbound I-5 running from I-405 to the I-10 is not much better and was identified as the seventh-most dangerous stretch with 125.6 accidents per mile.
I-5 is a frequently used route for truck drivers who transport goods throughout the state and is also commonly used by workers who live in Orange County and commute to their jobs in downtown Los Angeles.
How to Avoid It
It can be difficult for many people to avoid driving on this stretch of I-5. If you can’t avoid it, remain alert and be prepared to exercise defensive driving whenever you need. Follow the traffic rules and stay back from drivers who are engaging in aggressive driving behaviors. If you can, try staying out of the far-outside lanes as much as possible during rush hours to avoid encounters with merging traffic. You can try using the carpool lanes, but they have become nearly as congested as the others.
3. (Tie) I-10 E. Running From Santa Monica to I-5
I-10 E. runs from Santa Monica and through the center of the City of Los Angeles and is 17 miles long from there to where it intersects with I-5 east of downtown. This segment of I-10 is the fourth-most dangerous freeway in the city with 138.6 accidents per mile, according to the research completed by Crosstown. I-10 W. from I-5 to Santa Monica is not much better with 131 accidents per mile, placing it as the fifth-most dangerous freeway section in the city.
In this section, I-10 intersects with several major freeways, including I-5, I-110, and I-405. This section of I-10 has bumper-to-bumper traffic nearly 24 hours per day, and there are numerous exits located one mile apart from each other. The I-10 is split into two sections near downtown with concrete barriers, which often results in backups where it intersects with the Harbor Freeway. Because of the close distances between exits, drivers must rapidly move between traffic lanes at high rates of speed to exit the freeway and reach their destinations.
How to Avoid It
Traffic on the I-10 between Santa Monica and downtown L.A. often hovers around 30 mph to 35 mph. When it’s particularly bad, taking Venice Blvd. instead could be an option. If you must drive on this stretch of I-10, try to use the carpool lane if possible. Make sure to remain alert and plan your route ahead of time so that you know when to begin preparing to get over to catch your exit.
Top 10 Most Dangerous Freeways in L.A.
The full list of the most dangerous freeways in L.A. as identified by Crosstown includes the following:
- 1. I-110 N. from I-105 to U.S. Highway 101 – 162.8 accidents/mile
- 2. I-405 N. From the 110 Freeway to the 10 Freeway – 154.5 accidents/mile
- 3. I-5 S. Between I-10 and I-405 – 138.6 accidents/mile
- 3. (Tie) I-10 E. Running From Santa Monica to I-5 – 138.6 accidents/mile
- 5. I-10 W. from I-5 to Santa Monica – 131 accidents/mile
- 6. I-405 S. from the 10 Freeway to the 110 Freeway – 127 accidents/mile
- 7. I-5 N. From I-405 to I-10 – 125.6 accidents/mile
- 8. I-110 S. from U.S. Highway 101 to I-105 – 122.2 accidents/mile
- 9. I-10 W. from State Highway 57 to I-5 – 116.5 accidents/mile
- 10. I-10 E. from I-5 to State Highway 57 – 102.4 accidents/mile
Speak to an Experienced Los Angeles Accident Attorney
If you are injured in a car crash while driving on one of these dangerous freeways or any other road in Los Angeles, you might be quickly overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. Trying to balance your recovery with dealing with insurance companies can be difficult. It’s a good idea to reach out to an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer at the law firm of Steven M. Sweat, Personal Injury Lawyers, APC. We have represented accident victims for years and can help you understand your rights and potential legal remedies. Call us for a free consultation today at 866.966.5240.