Watch Out for the Most Dangerous Roads in Washington 

Car Insurance
May 15, 2023
Curvy road through Washington park

It’s a steep mountain road. A congested city byway. A roadway appropriately nicknamed the “Highway of Death.” These and a handful more are among the routes that make Evergreen State drivers appreciate their full coverage auto insurance. Or wish they had it. 

Let’s take a deeper dive into some of Washington’s most dangerous highways and byways and learn more about how to stay safe in risky driving conditions. 

Highway 522 Between Monroe and Woodenville 

Such a short slip of pavement, and yet this so-called “Highway of Death” has earned its gloomy moniker. 

In the space of just 10.5 miles, this route has seen over 1,000 accidents and taken 40 lives over a 15-year period. More recently (2009 to 2014), another 18 lives were lost here. So what gives? 

Highway 522, which joins these two communities near Seattle, is a very narrow route with two-way traffic and no central divider. There’s just a rumble bar separating vehicles from oncoming traffic. 

One shoulder of the path is practically non-existent, with steep cliffs in places and potential watery graves in other spots. Many accidents — some fatal — have been caused by distracted, drunk, or sleepy drivers colliding with oncoming traffic. And finally, there are lots of curves and motorists driving way too fast. 

Highway engineers don’t know how to solve multiple problems, either. For example, the road can’t be widened in most places because of the geography, and too many drivers refuse to slow down. 

I-5 … Everywhere North to South 

The problem here is basically the length and popularity. I-5 extends from Canada to the north and goes right into Oregon to the south, basically bisecting the state. It’s roughly 1,831 miles long and hosts some 73 million vehicles every year. 

In Seattle alone, the road takes some 274,000 drivers into and out of downtown, making it one of the most congested sections of roadway in the United States. Overall, from north to south, I-5 is the busiest highway in not only Washington but also the entire Pacific Northwest. 

So, of course, accidents happen. With sad regularity. Annually, about 150 to 200 deaths occur on this risky ribbon of concrete. Full coverage auto insurance can be particularly critical on this long, long stretch. 

Obstruction Point Road (Well, of Course) 

Say the name of this patch out loud, and tell us why you think Obstruction Point Road shouldn’t be on this list. What we have here is a dirt road in Olympic National Park that’s more than 6,000 feet above sea level and only open from July to October. That’s presumably because your odds of death during these months are lower than during the harsher times of the year

For instance, you really don’t want to be here during snow season because the road hardly has a shoulder, which makes it easy to skid off to the side. In such a remote area, you wouldn’t want to get stuck with no roadside assistance. And the connection between accidents and car insurance rates gives careful travel here added importance. 

Ski area in Washington

Hart’s (High, High) Pass Road  

While we’re on a theme of remote mountain routes, let’s discuss Hart’s Pass. It is, after all, the highest road by elevation in Washington State. Nosebleed territory, basically. 

Hart’s Pass — a single-lane, dirt and gravel road — rides the heavens in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest at an elevation of 7,000 feet. The good news here is that it’s a sight to see. However, it’s another Evergreen State roadway labeled the most dangerous in the state. In fact, you’ve got steep cliffs and zero guard rails. So don’t look down. 

Need any more indication of how dangerous Hart’s Pass can be? There’s a scenic stop called Deadhorse Point where an equine pack supposedly — you don’t want to know. And did we mention the occasional landslide? But again … the views are stunning. 

Fife Curve Curves, and Your Ride Had Better Do the Same 

Feel like getting back to the city? Had enough single-lane mountain roads for adventurous extreme sports drivers? Then let’s go just 5.6 miles from the city of Tacoma. Here you’ll find the Fife curve. 

This is a small section of the aforementioned I-5. In this particular section, though, the path takes a rather abrupt turn, and you’d better be able to do the same. For this reason, there’s no room whatsoever for distracted driving. 

The good news is that the Fife curve mostly causes gridlock. But it can also lead to slow-motion car accidents that can cause plenty of damage to the vehicle’s chassis. As long as your car insurance policy includes collision and comprehensive, the worst that’s likely to occur is a wait in a service garage when you should be at work or picking up the kids. 

Do You Have the Right Car Insurance Coverage in WA to Protect Yourself? 

Does this represent every dangerous route in Washington State? Of course not. And even the safest byways can be treacherous in bad weather or dangerous road conditions if others drive recklessly, your car breaks down, or … the list is too long. 

Not to freak you out, but every highway, dirt road, paved street, and thoroughfare in Washington State is an accident potentially waiting to happen. That’s why we recommend full coverage auto insurance at rates you can afford. 

Sure, you could get by with your cheapest auto insurance option, which is liability coverage. That will cover the needs of the other driver and passengers if you’re at fault for an accident, but it will do absolutely nothing to repair or replace your own vehicle in such a situation. 

Don’t worry about it. Your independent auto insurance agent does business with multiple major carriers and can compare competitive rates to get you the best deal at the lowest price. 

Remember, the right car policy is important to protect you from unexpected costs if you get into an accident. But it’s also important to practice safe driving habits to avoid accidents in the first place. Make sure to always check your mirrors, stay within the speed limit, and pay attention to your surroundings. 

Affordable Car Insurance for Risky Driving Conditions in the Pacific Northwest 

Your independent Vern Fonk Insurance agent can help you find ideal car insurance for all of the state’s highways, byways, and dizzying mountain roads. Call us at (800) 455-8276 or get a quick quote online. You can also find a Vern Fonk office in Washington near you