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Southern Arizona interstate among the nation’s most deadly

With 40 fatal crashes occurring between 2016 and 2019, Interstate 19 in southern Arizona ranks as the ninth deadliest highway in the United States, according to a recent study. The fatal crashes most often involved motor vehicle crashes, overturned vehicles and embankment crashes.

Travelers in the northern part of the state should be wary of the section of I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff which saw 103 fatal crashes in the same period.

Efforts to make Arizona highway safer

Technology and increased awareness of safety standards has made vehicles safer, but road fatalities continue to be an issue. The state is taking steps to make Arizona highways safer. The Arizona Department of Transportation is installing larger and more visible wrong-way signs and adding white pavement arrows on I-19, I-8 and I-10 to reduce the occurrence of head-on collisions caused by drivers traveling the wrong direction on interstates.

What drivers can do

Drivers can reduce their chance of getting in a head-on collision by paying close attention to pavement markings and signs. If you spot a vehicle entering the highway the wrong way take steps to avoid a collision:

  • Slow down
  • Flash your headlights and honk your horn
  • Steer to the right of the vehicle into any clear area, such as a shoulder
  • Drive off the road if necessary
  • Never steer into oncoming traffic on the left

Wrong-way collisions are often caused by impaired, drowsy or distracted drivers. Avoiding driving while intoxicated, staying alert and driving defensively can help keep you safe on Arizona highways.