We all know of some dangerous roads in Nebraska. Roads that curve sharply, intersections with confusing features, and areas of town that are just too full of distracted and angry drivers to comfortably navigate. What do statistics reveal are actually the most dangerous intersections and roadways in the state? Read on to find out.
The Most Dangerous Interstate
According to a report on the most dangerous highways in the United States, Nebraska’s most dangerous highway is I-80. As the only interstate that connects one side of Nebraska to the other, I-80 has been the site of 179 fatal crashes over the past decade. Last year, when the state’s lawmakers voted to increase the speed limits on several highways in an attempt to streamline traffic on Nebraska’s roadways, they deliberately stripped out language in the bill that would have increased the speed limit to 80 miles per hour on some portions of I-80. While some four-lane highways experienced speed increases from 60 to 65 miles per hour, and some freeways and expressways saw an increase from 65 to 70 miles per hour, the bill did not change I-80’s speed limit, likely due to its status as our state’s most dangerous interstate.
Trouble in Omaha
In March 2019, the Omaha World-Herald ranked the city’s top ten worst intersections for accidents, and the intersection at 72nd and Dodge Street topped the list. While the report noted that it’s not the busiest intersection in the city, more accidents have occurred there than at any other intersection in the city, according to the city’s traffic report. Other dangerous intersections in Omaha include:
- 90th Street and West Dodge Road. This is the busiest intersection in the city.
- 72nd and Maple Streets. Maple Street is a particularly dangerous roadway, with a high number of accidents occurring at several of its intersections, including 72nd, 102nd, and 108th Streets.
- 102nd Street and West Maple Road, 108th Street and West Maple Road, and 84th and L Streets. Each of these intersections, which are heavily used by commuters trying to go east-west throughout the city, experienced 37 crashes, according to the traffic report.
- 60th and Center Streets. This intersection features drivers going to and from I-80, connections to the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the Aksarben area, and links to midtown.
- 120th Street and West Chester Road. Right down the street from the city’s 132nd Street project, which aims to make the area safer, this intersection has actually had more accidents than the area involved in the improvement project.
According to Business Insider, the most dangerous intersection in the entire state is the intersection of 132nd Street, Industrial Road, Millard Avenue, and L Street.
Listing the Dangers in Lincoln
A 2017 report listed the most dangerous intersections in Lincoln, with top honors going to the intersection of 27th and Cornhusker. The heavy amount of traffic in the area makes this intersection dangerous, along with some complicated turn lanes. Other dangerous intersections in Lincoln include:
- S 70th and Wedgewood, near CHI Health St., Elizabeth Hospital, and Lincoln East High.
- The roundabout near 14th and Superior.
- The most dangerous roadways in the surrounding area include 77 Highway, Saltillo Road, and 68th Street.
One major factor that makes all of these areas dangerous is the presence of distracted drivers, according to the report. For crashes in rural areas, speeding is often the primary culprit, and injury accident rate to property damage is at almost 50 percent, which is high.
What About Scottsbluff?
In late 2016, in response to five fatalities at Scottsbluff intersections, the Nebraska State Patrol announced that it was stepping up enforcement of traffic violations in the area. State troopers would now focus on stop sign violations, stop light violations, improper turns, failure to signal, and other hazardous driving tactics that they believe make the intersections more dangerous. Troopers obtained a grant to pay for this increased enforcement.
In September 2018, Scottsbluff police warned pedestrians about the dangers of crossing roadways where there is no crosswalk or signage to indicate the right-of-way. Police also extended these warnings to drivers who speed through residential streets, where vehicles and other obstacles may obstruct the driver’s view. According to Nebraska law, a court can find drivers liable for accidents, even if they had the right-of-way, if they were speeding.
Other Parts of Nebraska
The intersection of highways 81 and 91 in Humphrey is particularly dangerous. What makes this intersection so dangerous is that traffic on Highway 91 must come to a complete stop before attempting to cross or merge onto Highway 81. A woman who works in the area reports that there are frequent accidents at the intersection, which features high amounts of traffic traveling at speeds of 70 miles per hour.
In Grand Island, police frequently respond to accidents at the intersection of Highway 281 and Old Potash Highway. According to the city’s public works director, that stretch of road experiences a high volume of traffic, with head-to-head left turn lanes that are common in many intersections. However, analysis shows that the intersection also experiences a large number of accidents associated with right turns off of 281 onto Old Potash and a lot of rear-end accidents due to traffic backups in an area highly populated by retail businesses.
In Elkhorn, a September 2018 crash involving a dump truck and a garbage truck that killed two waste management employees had neighbors discussing the dangers of the intersection at 204th and Fort. The neighbors stated that the high incidence of accidents is likely due to a combination of a high speed limit and low visibility. Those living in the area feel that the intersection would be safer with the addition of a stoplight.
What Causes Intersection Crashes?
There are a number of driving behaviors that can lead to an accident in an intersection. Some of the most common include:
- Distracted driving
- Following too closely
- Improper lane changing
- Improper passing and merging
- Sudden changes in speed
- Failure to yield right of way
- Failure to obey traffic control devices and signs
- Making improper turns
If you have sustained an injury in an intersection accident in Nebraska, speak to an attorney about your eligibility to receive compensation for your injuries.