Does the Type of Road Impact Increase Your Risk of Crashing?

A new study by MoneyGeek found that certain types of roads are more dangerous in different areas of the country. The study used data collected by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) of motor vehicle fatalities from 2019 to 2021 to try to determine what are the deadliest types of roads in the United States. The following is a brief overview of those findings. If you have lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, consider speaking to an Outer Banks (OBX), N.C. wrongful death attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have.

Types of Roads

To understand the results of the study, it is essential to understand the definition of each of the types of roads included:


Interstates are part of the national highway system, characterized by their high-speed, limited-access design. They typically connect major cities and regions across the country. Interstates are known for their uniform signage, consistent numbering (odd numbers for north-south routes and even numbers for east-west routes), and controlled access, which means they have on-ramps and off-ramps but no at-grade intersections. They are well-maintained and funded by federal and state governments.

U.S. Highways

U.S. highways are also part of the national highway system, though they may not have the same level of standardization and quality as interstates. They connect cities, towns, and regions, offering an alternative to interstates. U.S. highways have diverse numbering, and some segments may have at-grade intersections. Maintenance and funding can vary, with both federal and state governments contributing.

State Highways

State highways, also known as state routes or roads, are maintained and funded by individual states. They play a crucial role in intra-state transportation, connecting cities, towns, and rural areas. State highway numbers often vary from state to state and may not follow a standardized numbering system. Their quality and design depend on state funding and priorities.

Local Roads

Local roads are the backbone of community transportation, providing access to residential areas, schools, businesses, and more. They are maintained by local municipalities, counties, or townships, and their design and quality can vary significantly. Local roads often have low-speed limits and numerous intersections and may lack amenities like sidewalks and bike lanes.

Country Roads

Country roads, often called rural or farm roads, are typically found in less densely populated areas. They serve agricultural and rural communities, connecting farms and remote residences. These roads are generally narrow, may lack pavement in some areas, and can be challenging to navigate during adverse weather conditions.

Study Results

According to the data, state highways are the most dangerous roads in the United States, with 33 percent (one in three deaths) of all auto-related deaths occurring on these roads. The study found that in 30 states, more crash fatalities take place on state highways than on any other road type.

Local streets are the second-deadliest type of road in the U.S., with 20 percent of accident fatalities occurring on them; in eight states, they’re the most dangerous type of road.

U.S. highways are the third-deadliest type of road but the most dangerous type in North Carolina. Almost 37 percent of all crash fatalities in North Carolina during 2019-2021 occurred on U.S. highways. U.S. highways are also dangerous in neighboring Virginia, with just under 30 percent of all fatal accidents occurring on these roads.

While county roads are less deadly than local streets and highways, they are still the site of almost 15 percent of fatal vehicle accidents.

Call Our Personal Injury Law Firm Today

Families who have lost a loved one due to the negligent or reckless actions of another person should contact our office to speak with a dedicated OBX, NC wrongful death attorney to discuss what legal recourse they may have for their pain and loss. Our legal team will work diligently to get your family the financial justice you deserve, like the $1 million insurance settlement we obtained for one family whose loved one was hit by a commercial van driver attempting to enter a busy highway.