What are the most dangerous roads / mountain passes in the lower 48

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by JR80, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. wndwlkr101

    wndwlkr101 Light Load Member

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    I've taken all major interstate passes in the nation more than a few times. Passes are a curious thing in that you are prepared and alert to the situation. This does not mean you should not take a pass seriously. However, through my career I have seen more accidents that were weather related that did not involve a "pass". In my opinion, one of the most dangerous stretches of interstate is I70 through Kansas. The reason for this is because the snow can get quite severe and it is accompanied by high winds a lot of the time. To make matters worse, Kansas has no snow breaks. What this means is you must also deal with snow drift, and lots of it. In Kansas, just because it isn't snowing or the roads have been plowed does not mean that you are not going to hit snow covered roads due to snow drift and the lack of snow breaks.

    Wyoming is very similar, but Wyoming does have snow breaks. Both of these states have a tendency to be quite dangerous at times due to a combination of passed weather and wind. It is important to understand that in these areas that it isn't a requirement for it to be currently snowing to hit snow covered roads. Similar situations can exist on I70 in Utah. Even if it is clear to you that roads have been plowed be very alert to your surroundings. Even if it is a slight hill, be aware that you cannot see what condition the road is in on the other side.

    Now as far as your question about passes. The most dangerous pass is the one not taken seriously. It doesn't matter where in the nation it is at. It doesn't matter if it is an interstate or US highway. The more famous passes are usually taken very seriously and are highly regulated with posted instructions on how to deal with the pass. Following the posted regulations for each pass is a very good idea.

    Interstate passes are typically safer than two-lane state or US Highway passes. The worst two-lane pass in my experience is Monarch. I would avoid this road if at all possible in any season. There is another pass on US 160 in CO that can get very boogery and is extremely underestimated. This road leads to the potato producing area of CO. Monteagle, while not a very long pass, is often times underestimated by drivers. Many times I've seen heated smoking breaks going down Monteagle blazing past me at high speeds. The same is the case with the grade on I17 in AZ. It is often times terribly underestimated by the driver.

    Again, just because it isn't a "pass" does not mean that it cannot be a very steep or dangerous grade. Throughout the nation there are some extremely steep grades on two-lanes scattered everywhere. Sometimes they can surprise you. If you think it not possible to encounter an 8% grade in Alabama, for instance, you would be wrong.

    There are some roads in Eastern TN, Western NC, and North GA that you simply do not want to be on in a truck. It is very important to have a keen eye out for the "no trucks" sign in any area, but be extra sure you don't take one of these roads in any mountainous or even hilly area. If you think 15% grades do not exist you are wrong. They most certainly do, and often in places you wouldn't think they would.
     
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  3. CDL1968

    CDL1968 Medium Load Member

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    All the West coast mountains are big this is true, but and trained monkey can drive them because they are engineer properly and some even tell you how to drive them. Like brake now, release break and them roll, down shift now, chain here, unchain there.

    That’s not hard to do.

    The East Coast Mountains are not as big but sometimes they dont even post the grade even bother to tell you are approaching mountains or a dangerous curve until you are on it. They were engineered in late 18th and early 19th century before the West coast was even explored and they are not made for 80k pound 80 foot long trucks.

    When I was a driver trainer I would always try to take my trainers out West first to hit all those mountains they heard so much about in school, to show them how easy they were to drive and boost their ego. Then when they get all full of themselves Id show the messed up roads, mountains, and traffic of the East coast.
     
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  4. pattyj

    pattyj Road Train Member

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    To me those east coast mountains are more like hills.
     
  5. landstar8891

    landstar8891 Road Train Member

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    The US roads are very simple and easy.It is a picnic here so don't worry..We are rather spoiled and pampared compared to most of the worlds truckers...

    Be sure to watch Bolivia Death Row...We in the US only ''think'' we are SUPER TRUCKERS...

     
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  6. okiedokie

    okiedokie Road Train Member

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    Drag chains√
    3 railers√
    Winter clothes√
     
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  7. MrMatt

    MrMatt Light Load Member

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    there are some steep grade in the north west. some of the worst ones i have been over is in pa,md,wv. the worst passes. are the ones you never see coming.
     
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  8. pattyj

    pattyj Road Train Member

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    Drivers shouldn't even be allowed on these roads in Bolivia.Can you imagine how many die a month.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2015
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  9. otherhalftw

    otherhalftw Insignificant Otter

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    True...if you are referring to the elevation or length of the grade. The biggest difference between East passes and West passes is the East is more prone to icing, and that doesn't require any pass...take I-80 across IA, more FedEx scattered all over the road in the winter than any other in my memory.

    West has long pulls, and extreme elevations...Monarch Summit, CO/US 50, 11,312'...Eisenhower (tunnel) CO/I-70, 11,158'...Loveland Pass, CO/US 6, 11,991'...Donner Summit, CA/I-80, 7.056'...Whitebird Summit, ID/US 95, 4,245' (average grade over 7%)...Snoqualmie Pass, WA/I-90, 3,022' (deceptive highway from summit westbound)...Cabbage Hill/Deadman Pass, OR/I-84, 3,846'....you can "Google" each of these to read about them, or for another persons "top ten"....http://www.dieselpowermag.com/towing/0911dp_10_toughest_tows_in_america/viewall.html

    And as for winter driving and chaining...each driver has their own personal opinion of "go - don't go"....IMHO, you should learn how to chain, and at least learn how to operate with chains....http://www.thetruckersreport.com/tr...ers-advice/158771-chaining-are-you-ready.html
     
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  10. landstar8891

    landstar8891 Road Train Member

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    They have no choice.This is one of the few routes that connects the Amazon rainforest region of northern Bolivia, or Yungas, to its capital city...

    This seperates the men from the boys...I would like to see a trainer/trainee from these bottom feeders doing this with there E-LOG...:biggrin_2559:
     
  11. landstar8891

    landstar8891 Road Train Member

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    Patti.We as Americans complain,gripe and beatch...Butttttttttttttttttttt

    The truth is,we have it made on so many levels than the rest of the world.We are truly spoiled rotton people over here in the USA..:biggrin_25524:
     
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