With the holiday season already underway, carriers are seeing an increased amount of traffic on the nation’s interstates. In addition to the United States’ borders opening to travelers who are fully vaccinated, the American Automobile Association estimated that 53.4 million Americans would travel between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
What does this mean for carriers? The Interstate Highway System turned 65 years-old in June, which received a C- in March by the Infrastructure Report Card. According to the report, there are around 618,000 bridges across the country and 46,154 of them are considered structurally deficient. To put this into perspective, it was estimated that over 40% of roads throughout the U.S. are in poor condition. This means carriers and travelers are going to be navigating interstates and highways that worsen day-by-day.
What of these worsening roads should carriers be most aware of? In November, FreightWaves released an article detailing the 10 most risky roads for truck drivers. A few of these include the following:
- Dalton Highway, Alaska – This is a 414 mile stretch in Alaska where drivers must remain on the lookout for various obstacles (ruts, potholes, wildlife, etc.) in the winter, and in the summer, they are battling blizzards, avalanches, and icy roads. There is a 240-mile stretch along this highway where drivers will not find restaurants, hotels, or even gas stations.
- US 2, Montana – US 2 includes 760 miles throughout the state of Montana where black ice, blizzards, and high winds are extremely common. It is said that if an accident occurs, it could take 80 minutes for first responders to arrive.
- Route 138, California – Also known as “Highway of Death” or “California Death Way,” this state highway saw 56 fatalities and 875 injuries due to high winds and steep grades along the way. Fortunately, Caltrans widened the lanes in some areas in 2006.
- I-26, South Carolina – This section of Interstate 26 is commonly known as the most dangerous due to lack of guardrails and steep ditches. Because of this, drivers report numerous overturned vehicles or even collisions while navigating the moving traffic. This interstate experienced 286 accidents and 325 fatalities in a 10-year period.
- US 129, North Carolina – Also known as the “Tail of the Dragon,” this portion of North Carolina is made up of 11 miles and 318 curves. Between 2010 and 2012, 200 accidents involving tractor-trailers were reported. The curves of this highway are appealing to motorcyclists and sports car fanatics, which makes this road even more dangerous for carriers.
What is being done to make driving conditions safer for our nation’s truckers? On November 5th, 2021, an infrastructure bill was passed by the House of Representatives. Of the $1.2 trillion dollar bill, $110 billion is being allocated to repairing roads, highways, bridges, and ports across the United States. For every driver currently on the roads, this was welcomed news. As drivers patiently await this bill to turn into action, one thing is clear, drivers are still on the front lines keeping the economy moving forward.
For more information on current market conditions, be sure to contact a Logistics Consultant via email at email@example.com.