Top 5 Deadliest Freeways in Los Angeles

These Los Angeles Freeways Aren’t Just A Traffic Nightmare

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Los Angeles, the land of freeways, is known throughout the world for its driving culture. For good reason, too–with a public transportation system that lags decades behind other major cities, it’s hard to live in L.A. without a car. The sheer amount of traffic in L.A., however, means dangerously congested road conditions – with deadly consequences. If you’ve ever had to take the 110 through downtown L.A. during rush hour, you may have experienced the white-knuckled adrenaline rush of a near accident.

It’s no surprise that L.A. roads are hazardous: The City of Angels is the site of the some of the first-ever freeways built in the United States. Arroyo Seco Parkway (more famously known as the Pasadena Freeway), has been kept almost exactly the same as its original build in 1940. The result is a narrow, winding highway with inadequate shoulders and heart-stoppingly short exit ramps. Who needs coffee when you’ve got near-death experiences to wake you up?

If you’re an Angeleno, freeways are a necessary evil, and knowing where to practice increased vigilance is a necessity. Below, we list the five most dangerous Los Angeles freeways with the most accidents per mile, according to a local, community-level data analysis.

5. The Entirety of the 105 Freeway

A surprisingly empty highway flowing through the downtown skyline.

Coming in at a total of 18 miles from start to finish, the 105 freeway may not go far – but it makes up the 5th most dangerous freeway in L.A.

If you look at a map it’s easy to see why, as the 105 intersects with other busy freeways (like the 405, the 110, and the 710), creating a prime opportunity for stressed-out drivers to attempt chaotic lane changes during rush hour traffic. 

Both east and west directions average at around 100 injuries per freeway mile.

4. The 10 Between Santa Monica and the 5

Downtown LA can be a gorgeous sight to behold, but the traffic can sour a perfect day faster than one would like.

Running neatly through the center of Los Angeles, the 17 miles from where Interstate 10 starts at the ocean in Santa Monica and intersects with the 5 just east of Downtown L.A. sees an average per mile count of 138.6 accidents eastbound and 131 accidents westbound.

The 10 freeway intersects with the 5 freeway, the 110 freeway, and the 405 freeway. It’s regularly congested at all hours of the day and night, with many back-to-back exits just a mile apart. As the 10 nears downtown, the highway breaks up into two sections split by a concrete barrier, leading to a complicated and often backed-up interchange with the 110 (also known as the Harbor Freeway). Some exits require drivers to rapidly cross two lanes of traffic going at high speed.

3. Interstate 5 Between the 10 and the 405

It’s no surprise that California’s biggest roadway artery is high on this list. Specifically, the 41-mile stretch of the 5 freeway from where it meets the 10 in downtown L.A. to where it merges with the 405 in Irvine. On average, southbound saw 138.6 accidents per mile and northbound 125.6.

The 5 is a popular commute for DTLA workers driving in from Orange County. Not only that, it’s a commonly used highway route for trucks delivering goods up and down the entire state.

With a drive this long, commuters may struggle to stay engaged with the road, especially if they’re going in for an early morning or coming home from a long day at the office. Unfortunately, that could spell trouble for other motorists on the highway. Add all the long-haul truckers potentially working overtime into the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for danger.

If you get into a car crash caused by someone else, they should be responsible for paying for the cost of your recovery – not you.

— Wilshire Law Firm

2. The 405 Freeway Between the 110 and the 10

There’s a reason the 405 has such a gnarly reputation that even people who live outside of Southern California have heard of it. The 16-mile stretch of the 405 freeway between the 10 in West L.A. to where it meets the 110 in Carson averages 154.5 traffic accidents per mile northbound and 127 car crashes per mile southbound.

Regardless of the time of day, the 405 always seems busy. Although Los Angeles traffic fell to historic levels during the pandemic, it’s already started coming back with a vengeance. Even at night, this corridor is lit with traffic. Anyone driving under the influence or while tired in the middle of the grueling, lane-switching chaos is a danger to all the other motorists around them.

Until L.A.’s public transportation options catch up, most locals must continue to rely on driving themselves or using rideshare apps to get where they need to go. With this much traffic, accidents inevitably happen. If you get caught up in a crash on the freeway you could get severely injured, and whiplash, concussions, and other common car injuries are no joke. Latent injuries like TBI might not be obvious right away, which is why it’s important to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident.

1. The Harbor Freeway Corridor Between the 105 and the 101

deadliest freeway 110, deadly freeway rush hour

The deadliest freeway in Los Angeles? You guessed it – the 110 between the 105 in South L.A. to where it meets the 101 in Downtown. This 10-mile stretch of the Harbor Freeway averages 162.8 crashes per mile northbound and 122.2 accidents per mile southbound.

If you’ve ever driven this corridor, especially during rush hour, you’ve had to navigate bumper-to-bumper traffic through six lanes merging in and out of the ramps that connect the 110 to the 101. The highway is further complicated because the 110 splits into two separate sections in each direction downtown – one for through traffic, the other for all downtown exits.

Once you’ve escaped the logjam of Downtown L.A., you must contend with the intersection of the 110 with the 10 freeway – another high-stakes junction that’s often backed up.

Add to this equation all the people driving their commute tired, sleep-deprived, on the phone, texting, or distracted, and you’ve got the perfect storm for car accidents to happen.

At Wilshire Law Firm, our attorneys know not just how to navigate the perils of Los Angeles traffic, but also how to handle personal injury cases that come out of auto accidents. We make sure our clients get the maximum possible compensation for their injuries – so that you can recover without having to worry about medical bills or taking unpaid time off.

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