In early January, two people were killed on Interstate 17 (I-17) in a five-vehicle crash about 70 miles north of Phoenix in Cordes Lakes, Arizona. Sadly, the accident once again brings to the forefront that this interstate highway - which runs from Phoenix to Flagstaff - may be one of the most dangerous in the country.
A research study released in November by California-based software firm TeleTrac Navman tracked the deadliest highways in the nation. The company analyzed accidents on U.S. highways during a five-year period from 2011 to 2015. Arizona's I-17 ranked as the fourth-deadliest.
Good Samaritans died in crash
During that time, 123 people were killed in accidents on the 146-mile freeway. A total of 49 of the fatalities - almost 40 percent - occurred inside the Phoenix city limits.
The fatal accident last month north of Phoenix involved three good Samaritan drivers who had pulled to the side of the highway to help a driver whose semi-truck jack-knifed on I-17 in heavy rain. A second truck on the highway didn't see the jack-knifed vehicle, collided with it and was forced into the direction of the three vehicles parked on the shoulder.
March deadliest month on I-17
In reviewing the I-17 fatalities for its recent study, TeleTrac Navman determined:
- March was the deadliest month.
- The deadliest day was the third day of the month.
- Saturday was the most common day for fatal accidents.
- Most of the fatal accidents occurred between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Safe driving tips
We hope that the following tips may help you avoid accidents on highways:
- Slow down: Follow the speed limit.
- Avoid in-car distractions such as talking on the cell phone or texting. This also brings to mind that you should be aware of inattentive drivers.
- Drive safely for conditions. It can rain in Arizona, making roads slick. It also snows near Flagstaff, which is along I-17.
- Be aware of aggressive drivers. This includes fast lane-changers.
- Do not tailgate.
- Be aware of blind spots.
- Be a defensive driver.
- Be courteous to other drivers.
We want you to remain safe on the roads and avoid any dangerous situations. Be vigilant and careful in order to keep the roads safe for everyone.