Wisconsin has a lot of rural land, and the villages, towns and cities across the state largely connect through freeways, highways and interstates. These specialized roads experience high volumes of both commercial and passenger vehicle traffic. They tend to have very high speed limits when compared with surface streets.
They are also home to some of the most dramatic collisions that occur. If a semi-truck driver loses control on the freeway, for example, they could end up blocking every lane of traffic and forcing a detour that lasts for hours. During inclement weather that commonly occurs during the depths of the Wisconsin winter, blustery conditions might lead to multi-vehicle collisions.
Crash data reveals that risks are higher on certain routes
US-51 in Madison is one of the most dangerous highways in the state. The stretch between Anderson Road and SR-30 tends to see the most major collisions. US-51 took third place on a list based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash reports, with 17 deaths between 2000 and 2019.
The fifth most dangerous highway is I-94 in Milwaukee, where 16 people died. I-90 in Janesville takes fourth place. Although 19 people have died on this section of highway, those deaths occurred in 16 crashes. The two highways more dangerous than US-51 are both in Milwaukee. SR-59 saw 18 deaths in 17 crashes, while SR-190 was home to 23 deaths in 19 separate crashes.
Those traveling on US-51 or planning a trip to Milwaukee don’t necessarily need to avoid the freeways included on this list. However, they will likely want to be extra careful about following traffic laws and making safety their top priority on these relatively dangerous streets. People may have to take alternate routes during times of heavy traffic, like the afternoon rush hour or the late morning on major federal holidays, like Thanksgiving, when thousands drive to visit loved ones.
People traveling on particularly dangerous roads need to watch their surroundings more carefully, decrease their travel speed and increase their following distance to maximize their safety. Learning more about specific risk factors, like the highways with the most collisions, can ultimately help people reduce their personal crash risk.