Every state has dangerous roads, highways, and intersections where motor vehicle accidents occur more frequently than on other stretches of roadway. North Dakota is no exception. With months of wintry weather causing poor road conditions, a high volume of trucks thanks in part to the oil industry, and a 75 mile per hour speed limit on rural interstate highways, it should not be surprising that the Peace Garden State has its share of deadly roadways. This includes certain intersections in cities like Minot, Bismarck, and Fargo.
North Dakota drivers have good reason to be wary of the roads and intersections that pose an increased risk to safety, and to take extra caution when traveling on them. According to a 2019 report by the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT), “motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury-related death in North Dakota.”
So, which roads, highways, and intersections in North Dakota are reportedly the most dangerous? Here is what we found.
Motor vehicle accidents on U.S. Highway 85
Traversing 255 miles along the western side of the state, Highway 85 is a vital thoroughfare for drivers heading from Canada to South Dakota and all the way to the southern border of the United States, and vice versa. As one of the main north-south highways through North Dakota, parts of Highway 85 have the highest traffic volume in the state. This includes a high number of trucks such as 18-wheelers and semi-trucks that use the road on a daily basis, as well as the many North Dakotans who take the roadway during their everyday travels. Since U.S. Highway 85 also runs through the oil-rich region in the western part of the state, it sees a lot of traffic from oil, gas, and construction-related vehicles.
With so many cars, trucks, and other vehicles using U.S. Highway 85 each day, it is no wonder that the roadway reportedly has the highest number of accidents compared with other North Dakota highways. According to an article by insurance industry publication Claims Journal, U.S. Highway 85 in North Dakota is “the most dangerous stretch of road in the state.”
Interstate 94 is North Dakota’s second most dangerous road
Running east-west from Minnesota to Montana and right through the central portion of North Dakota, Interstate 94 passes through both Fargo and the state capital of Bismarck. I-94 typically ranks second in the state for number of reported accidents each year. This may be the result of high traffic volume – particularly in and around the cities of Fargo and Bismarck – as well as the 75 mile per hour speed limit in rural areas. The Peace Garden State’s often icy road conditions also likely play a part, as they do in many motor vehicle accidents throughout the state.
Bad weather a frequent cause of accidents on I-29
Weather is always an important consideration when driving in North Dakota, particularly during the winter months and even in late fall and early spring. This is especially true for drivers heading out on the northern portions of Interstate 29. The highway, which runs north-south along the eastern side of the state, passes through Fargo on its way toward the Canadian border. During the long winter months, the northern section of I-29 faces frequent closures due to snow, icy road conditions, and high winds – all of which can and do cause motor vehicle accidents ranging from minor to severe.
Dangerous intersections in Fargo, Bismarck, and Minot, ND
Crashes on highways often occur at high speeds and may involve tractor-trailers or other large trucks, resulting in severe injuries or even fatalities. This may cause many drivers to feel safer driving on local roads instead. However, traveling through a busy intersection in a high-traffic area is often more dangerous than people realize. North Dakota has some deadly intersections.
According to a January 2022 article on Valley News Live, a report from the NDDOT showed that the most dangerous intersection in the entire state is located in Fargo. Per the report, between 2018 and 2020, 76 crashes occurred at the area where 13th Avenue South and 45th Street intersect. Nearly half of the accidents happened during wet or snowy weather conditions.
The report from NDDOT also showed that Fargo and Bismarck had “the most ‘high crash’ locations in the state.” Fargo had 20 and Bismarck had 17 of the 50 dangerous intersections listed.
In Minot, the intersection of Evergreen and U.S. Highway 2 is known for being the most dangerous intersection in the city. In a 2021 report by KFYTV, the city engineer described the intersection as having the highest crash risk in all of Minot, which he attributed to the danger to Route 2 being a high-speed, the four-lane highway. State officials agree that it is the most dangerous intersection in Minot, and planning is underway to improve safety by adding offset right turn lanes and increasing spacing and visibility. Better lighting will also be added to the intersection.
Car accidents on rural roads in North Dakota
Although it has several major highways and interstates, North Dakota also has a high number of rural roads. These roads are often among the most dangerous for drivers, their passengers, and pedestrians, for a few reasons. For one thing, the drivers who take rural roads tend to be locals. They are usually comfortable traveling on these roads and know them well. This means drivers are more likely to speed, which can lead to serious motor vehicle crashes. They also may be slightly inattentive while driving, since they may feel that they know the roads “like the back of their hand.” Even a momentary loss of focus on a rural road that has tight curves can lead to tragedy. Similarly, a driver who opts to take a rural road rather than a more well-traveled route but is unfamiliar with the area can also run into problems.
Do I need a car accident lawyer in Minot?
A serious or deadly car accident can happen on any road, at any time. When it does, the injuries, damage, and aftermath can leave you and your loved ones reeling – even if everyone is fortunate enough to survive. Depending on the type and severity of the injuries involved, emergency medical treatment may be followed by days, weeks, months, and even years of surgeries, procedures, and other ongoing medical care. Even with insurance these expenses can quickly add up, leaving individuals and families struggling financially. The mental and emotional trauma of a serious accident can also take a toll, causing anxiety and other mental health issues and putting a strain on marriages and families.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident in North Dakota, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced Minot car accident attorney as soon as possible to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. The knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Larson Law Firm P.C. stand ready to help. From our offices in Minot, Bismarck, and Fargo we fight on behalf of accident victims throughout North Dakota. Call us at 701-484-HURT or fill out our contact form today to schedule a free consultation. We handle accident cases on a contingency fee basis.
Mark Larson is a Certified Civil Trial Specialist and Certified Civil Pre-Trial Specialist focusing on personal injury, motor vehicle, wrongful death, and oil field claims. Since 1979, Larson Law Firm has served the injured throughout North Dakota. Read more about Mark V. Larson