The Popular Western Highway You Should Avoid Due To Its Deadly Reputation

Most of the time, driving in Arizona is pure joy. Much of the state boasts sunny, dry weather that makes for easy driving conditions. In addition, it has wide, flat highways that wind through gorgeous stretches of mountains and desert, like on this scenic road trip from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon. But some Arizona roads have higher accident rates than others, and a few are known to be downright treacherous. So when visiting Arizona, it's important to inform yourself about these roads and take the necessary precautions or avoid them altogether if you have other options. 

One infamous Arizona road is US-93, a north-south highway with over 200 miles in Arizona that cuts diagonally across the state, connecting Phoenix with Las Vegas, Nevada.  Over the past decade, this section of US-93 has consistently appeared on lists of not only Arizona but also the entire country's riskiest roads, including one by the consumer website Value Penguin. In its study, Value Penguin analyzed accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Identifying 70 fatal accidents on US-93 between 2010 and 2016, the company named the Arizona portion of US-93 the most dangerous highway in the U.S. A group of Facebook users coined an even more descriptive term for the notorious stretch of pavement: "Bloody Alley." Through their Facebook group, US 93 AKA "Bloody Alley," the group aims to enhance awareness among commuters of the highway's extreme hazards. 

Why Highyway 93 is so dangerous

There are a few different reasons why traveling US-93 can be so perilous. One is simply that drivers are downright reckless or make stupid mistakes. On a rural road like US-93, with long stretches of nothingness, drivers can zone out or even fall asleep. Maybe it's because they partied a little too much in Vegas and they're exhausted. Or maybe they just want to get home to Phoenix as quickly as possible, so they drive over the speed limit. Maybe worse, they're intoxicated, impairing their judgement even further, making them think they have enough time to pass that slow 18-wheeler in front of them. But they don't, which results in a head-on collision with a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. 

Whatever the case, dangerous mistakes while driving can happen on any road, but when they happen on US-93, they can quickly turn deadly. This is because on remote parts of the road, far away from major towns or cities, emergency assistance may arrive too late to save those who are injured. Statistics provide evidence for this reality: Historically, the road has one of the longest wait times for emergency medical services in the U.S. 

Stay safe on Highway 93

To stay safe while traveling on this road, the most important thing is also the most obvious. But we'll say it anyway: Use common sense. Wear your seatbelt, follow the speed limit, stay alert, don't drive while intoxicated, and don't text and drive. Carry first-aid supplies and water in your car, and make sure that your cell phone has enough charge for the trip so you can call for help if needed. Lastly, familiarize yourself with common road hazards and current conditions by checking the recent updates on the eerily-but-aptly named US 93 AKA "Bloody Alley" Facebook page. 

If you want to avoid the risk of traveling US-93 entirely, plan an alternate route, or at least avoid the most dangerous section of the road, which is north of Wickenburg, Arizona in Mojave County.  For example, one alternate route between Phoenix and Vegas would be I-17 North from Phoenix to I-40 West and then US-95 / I-11 North all the way to Vegas. Yet another safe transportation option would be to fly between Phoenix and Vegas on a budget airline like Spirit or Frontier. Another helpful tip: While visiting Vegas, take a break from the strip and get out into nature. One way to do this would be to visit this otherwordly state park near Las Vegas with tons of hiking trails.