Driving is an essential part of modern life — we rely heavily on the trucking industry for nearly everything we need — but it can be hazardous as well. Every state has its particular road hazards, and Ohio is no exception. These hazards can cause accidents that can lead to injury, property damage, and expensive insurance claims.
Traffic collision statistics
First, let’s look at some sobering statistics from last year. In 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 42,9015 people died in auto accidents nationwide. That was an increase of 10% from the year before, and the accident rates are on track to go even higher this year.
This is true of Ohio as well – the number of traffic fatalities in Ohio rose from 2019 to 2020, and then again in 2021. Since 2019, traffic deaths in Ohio have increased by over 17%.
What do those raw numbers look like? Here are the traffic fatalities over the last three years, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol:
- 2019: 1155
- 2020: 1230
- 2021: 1360
That comes out to approximately 3.7 fatalities per day.
The most dangerous roads and hazards in Ohio
Every area has that one road that everyone says to watch out for — the one with the highest number of traffic fatalities and a long history of being dangerous. According to a study by Moneygeek, that road is Interstate 71, between 11th Avenue to the south and Morse Road to the north. This road saw 10 traffic fatalities between 2017 and 2019 — an astonishing amount for a stretch of road a few miles long.
But that isn’t the only dangerous road in Ohio. According to the same Moneygeek study, the other most dangerous roads in the state include:
- I-75 Between Allen Rd. and Exit 14
- I-480 Between Broadview Rd. and Exit 20A
- Cr-75 Cleveland Ave. Between Huy Rd. and Maplewood Dr.
- Morse Rd. from Indianola Ave. to Sunbury Rd.
- I-90 from Exit 179 to Exit 182B
Much of the danger comes from motorists driving at high speed (especially in winter conditions), driving recklessly, or distracted driving such as being on their cell phone while driving.
Now let’s take a look at some of the hazards common to Ohio’s roads.
Weather such as Ohio’s winter storms, can make roads considerably more dangerous — rain, snowstorms, sleet, black ice, and low visibility all add to the risk of an accident.
Natural disasters such as floods and tornadoes are also endemic to Ohio, and often can arrive unexpectedly without a chance for drivers to get to safety.
Urban areas. Although much of Ohio is made up of rural back roads and highways, the larger cities in Ohio have the same problem as cities anywhere else in the United States. Greater traffic density, more pedestrians and cyclists, more reckless and drunk drivers — these are all part of the risk of driving in a major city.
Infrastructure. Again, like any other state, Ohio has its share of infrastructure problems. Weather conditions and natural wear-and-tear can cause any number of road hazards, such as:
- Poor lighting
- Broken or missing guardrails
- Poor drainage and standing water
- Cracked concrete
- Missing traffic signs or broken signals
- Lack of resurfacing after 20 years (the natural lifespan of an American road)
Animal collisions and rural roads. Despite the considerable risk posed by urban roads, it’s the rural roads that are often more dangerous, due to the risk of collisions with deer or other animals. Rural roads are also subject to particular hazards you might not find in more heavily populated spaces: narrow roads, roads without shoulders, gravel and dirt roads that can impair visibility and make driving difficult, few (or no) traffic signals or street lights, fallen trees or poles, storm debris, missing or damaged signs, and more.
How road hazards impact auto insurance
When it comes to dangerous road hazards, there’s not only the serious cost in human life to consider, but also the financial cost in terms of medical bills, repairing vehicle damage, and, yes, insurance.
According to Renata Balso at the Zebra, an average driver in Ohio pays about $1,028 in car insurance premiums per year — a full 33% less than the national average. If you shop around a little, you can probably find the best cheap car insurance in Ohio.
Although it’s fine to just get a standard insurance policy or even the minimum liability insurance, some Ohio drivers might consider taking out some extra insurance to account for possible animal collisions. Ohio has a number of rural roads, and during fall and winter, animal collisions account for over 22,000 vehicle accidents. Ohio drivers can help keep the roads (and themselves) safe by doing things like taking a defensive driving course, be extra careful from sunset to midnight, and always use their high beams when alone on the road.