Despite its diminutive size, Vermont is known for many of the things it did first. First state to join the Union, first state to ban slavery and the only state to pass legislation on how apple pie is served?! Boasting the highest cow-to-person rate in the nation and capped by lush forests, Vermonters in the Green Mountain State are proud that things are a little different here. However, the most dangerous roads in Vermont are not something to boast about.
First, there is the quality of the roads themselves. With more than 1 in 4 roads rated as badly in need of repair, these are some of the worst road conditions in the nation. Secondly, drivers in Vermont were recently rated as the most distracted drivers of any state. The number of traffic fatalities caused by impaired drivers is almost twice the national rate and Vermont is #1 in run-off-the-road accidents. Here are The Advocates list of the 4 Most Dangerous Roads in Vermont to help make your road trip a safer one.
#4 Vermont State Route 15
Winding across northern Vermont from Burlington to Danville is VT 15. Skirting north of the majestic Mt. Mansfield and passing through three state forests this route is renowned for its fall foliage and eclectic mix of townships. There is no shortage of natural beauty in this area known as the Northeast Kingdom.
- Rural route with limited access to emergency services
- Possibility of winter road closures
- Wildlife wandering on to the road
- General condition of the road is poor
- Cambridge to Morrisville and Jericho to Essex Center motorcycles not recommended
This northern rural path is prone to closures during winter storms and conditions can become hazardous. Like many of the state routes, road maintenance here too is a problem. Some of the busier sections like the stretches between Cambridge and Morrisville or Jericho to Essex Center are in especially poor condition and should be approached with caution and avoided on motorcycles altogether.
#3 U.S. Route 2
Starting near the Canadian Border and heading south, U.S. 2 passes over several bridges and through the stunning isles of Lake Champlain to enter the mainland near Burlington. From here it turns east and follows the Winooski River through the capital city of Montpelier and on to the border of New Hampshire. One can’t miss stop is in Waterbury for a tour and a free scoop at Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory.
- Physical condition of road is poor with large potholes
- Moose are common from May to November
- Rural stretches have limited access to emergency services
- Winter conditions can include snow and ice
Don’t let the captivating scenery stop you from keeping your eyes on the road though. This highway is notorious for its poor condition, which is why it’s on our list of dangerous roads in Vermont. Numerous cities have clamored for road repairs as there are large spots missing pavement. In Marshfield, the town clerk wrote the State complaining of large potholes, so big that cars are forced to swerve into the other lane. Although U.S. 2 is currently slated for a 2021 re-pavement, the agency says repairs may be delayed due to funding issues.
#2 State Route 9
Passing east to west across the width of lower Vermont is VT-9. Also known as the Molly Stark Byway after the colorful revolutionary character. Crossing the Appalachian Trail and passing over summits in the Green Mountains, VT-9 is famous for its stunning natural beauty and quaint colonial-era townships. Don’t miss the 8 obelisks erected along the route marking local historical sites including the famed 3-state overlook at Hogback.
The changing terrain and mountainous sections can be challenging especially during winter weather. These factors combine for the second-highest traffic fatality rate in the state. Another thing to watch out for on this rural route is moose. Vermont motorists average almost 60 traffic accidents involving a moose each year. Here are a few tips to avoid a moose related mishap.
Moose-Related Risk Factors
- Moose are dark brown and can be hard to spot against pavement
- Don’t rely on ‘eye-shine’ as they are too tall to reflect light like a deer
- They are unafraid of headlights and will not run from an oncoming car
- Slow down or stop, if necessary, as moose may dart or lunge suddenly
- Most accidents occur at dusk or dawn between May and November
- The popular bumper sticker doesn’t lie: Brake for moose… it can save your life
#1 United States Route 7
Running along the western edge of the state from the Massachusetts border to the northern tip of Vermont is U.S. 7. Starting a mile east of the New York border, this roadway angles toward the historic Bennington War memorial visible to the west with the wilds of the Green Mountain National Forest rolling to the east. The northern portion hugs the shores of Lake Champlain, home of Champ the New England version of the Loch Ness monster, before coming to an unceremonious end of the road sign near the Canadian border.
- Two lane undivided highway with only wire guardrails
- Faded lane marking and inadequate signage for road hazards
- Limited use of plows and salt during winter weather
- Intermittent heavy fog and slick conditions near Lake Champlain year around
U.S. 7 is primarily an undivided two-lane rural route with little in the way of congestion. Wire guardrails chosen for their aesthetics provide less visibility in the twist and turns than the modern designs. Even with the icy winters and lake effect snowstorms, Vermont chooses to use plows and salt as little as possible for ecological reasons and expects drivers to adjust to the wintry conditions. With over 50 traffic fatalities over the last decade, it remains the most dangerous road in Vermont.
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With a healthy dose of caution and mindfulness, a Vermont road trip can be a very memorable event. Should the unforeseen occur and you are a loved one is injured in a car accident, through no fault of your own, it’s crucial to retain legal counsel right away. A professional who specializes in car accident litigation can make a real difference for you and your case.
Here at The Advocates our experienced staff of car accident attorneys will be there to assist you every step of the way. From dealing with insurance adjusters to handling hospital bills we take charge of the details leaving you to focus on recovery. We are ready to stand up for you and get the settlement you deserve. Call The Advocates today at 801-326-0809, or consult confidentially via our Live Chat here. While you focus on healing, The Advocates will take care of the rest.