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The 5 Worst Driving Roads in North Carolina 

North Carolina is known for its beautiful and diverse landscapes. You can go from rolling hills to gorgeous beaches in just a few hours, and it’s not a surprise that driving enthusiasts from around the country and the world flock to the Tar Heel State to experience all of the lovely routes that North Carolina has to offer.

While North Carolina has some of the best driving roads in the country, North Carolina’s roads are not without their flaws. Every state has its roads that’ll make you want to pull your hair out, but just how bad are the roads in North Carolina? Studies have shown that North Carolina roads are among the worst in the nation when it comes to rural crashes, and the highways aren’t that much better either. 

From traffic-jammed highways to dangerous exits, the following five roads are ones to avoid while driving in North Carolina.

1. I-95

I-95 is the main highway that stretches all up and down the East Coast of the U.S. If you’re making a north-to-south trip through any of the states along the East Coast, chances are you’ll be on 95 for at least some stretch of time. While 95 is useful, as it stretches all the way from South Florida to Northern Maine, it was also rated the most deadly highway in America back in 2022 with a staggering 379 fatalities in 2020. 

And it’s not just the danger that makes 95 miserable. The traffic on 95 near higher population areas can leave cars at a standstill for hours and hours on end. If you’re planning on driving through North Carolina vertically, maybe consider taking route 301 instead. While it may take a bit longer, it’s more scenic and less infuriating. 

2. The Tail of the Dragon (NC 28)

The Tail of the Dragon is a dangerous and legendary stretch of road located near the western part of North Carolina. Infamous for its tight turns, elevation changes, and stunning scenery, it packs a staggering 318 curves in just 11 miles of road through the Great Smoky Mountains. 

While driving enthusiasts from around the world come to test their skills on this adrenaline-pumping stretch of highway, it can come as a nasty surprise when you’re just making your way through the western part of the state. If you find yourself on The Tail of the Dragon, be sure to take extra care to navigate the twisting and turning curves of the road. 

3. I-77

I-77 is a stretch of highway that runs all the way from Columbia, SC, to Cleveland, OH. While it’s not a particularly dangerous stretch of road, I-77 can be a nightmare because of the tolls that are on it. Toll prices on 77 have been increasing every year, and the company that operates the toll systems reported a 260% increase in revenue from 2020-2022.

In 2023, the projected amount that someone could spend on a trip from Mooresville to Uptown Charlotte during rush hour was $23! That’s a mindblowing amount of money for a drive that should be a little over 30 minutes.

4. Rural Roads

Whether it’s the twisting mountain roads outside Asheville and Boone, the roads prone to flooding near Wilmington, or those notorious potholes on roads in the Piedmont, North Carolina has its fair share of rough rural roads.

North Carolina’s rural roads offer some of the best views in the whole country, but drivers have to be careful in the Tar Heel State. If you’re heading out into the country, be sure that your car is in tip-top shape and that you have everything you need for a minor repair like a blown tire. 

It might also be a good idea to research what auto shops are around the areas you’ll be traveling in. You might find yourself in need of a repair on short notice.

5. I-85 Between Exits 36 and 41 

The stretch of highway on I-85 between exits 36 and 41 has grown especially dangerous in the last few years. Over the past 20 years, there have been 39 crashes and 42 deaths on this particular section of the interstate. Since I-85 runs through Charlotte, urban congestion could be a contributing factor to the increased deadliness of the road. Besides the congestion, this stretch of I-85 could be more deadly due to speeding drivers who are in a rush to get wherever they’re going.

It’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and drive as cautiously as possible when on a more dangerous stretch of road. Be sure that you’re letting other drivers have some space if they seem to be more reckless, as you don’t want to have any type of accident due to someone else’s lack of care.

Stay Prepared for the Worst NC Roads with Chapel Hill Tire

If you’re prepping for a long drive on a sketchier stretch of road or have recently had an accident and live near Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, or the surrounding Triangle area, Chapel Hill Tire can help you out. One of our qualified mechanics would be happy to examine your car and provide any repairs it needs to run at its best. We also have a great set of coupons to take advantage of for any maintenance requirements you might have!

Learn more about our vehicle inspection and repair services today. When you’re ready to bring your car in, please make an appointment at one of our convenient locations in the Triangle Area.

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