While Oklahoma City isn’t among the most dangerous cities for driving, anyone who’s spent time here knows getting to your destination isn’t always a piece of cake. On-ramps and off-ramps don’t always flow well, and popular areas cause traffic to jam.
Three of the country’s major highways–running both east-to-west and north-to-south, converge in OKC, bringing commuters into the same path as travelers from across the country and thousands of semi-trucks hauling freight. More than 140,000 Oklahomans commute for work in and out of Oklahoma County each day.
Using the information from 14 years of fatal vehicle crashes gathered from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), we’ve discovered these six stretches of road are the most dangerous highways in and around Oklahoma City. These are areas where you’ll want to make sure your mirrors are adjusted, the radio is not a distraction, and all passengers are securely buckled into their seats.
6. I-35 and Kilpatrick Turnpike (7 Fatal Accidents)
The Kilpatrick Turnpike creates the northwest section of the loop around OKC. At the west end, you’ll find I-40. However, the problem stretch of road is on the east end of the turnpike.
After running along the same stretch of land as Memorial Road in Edmond, the Kilpatrick Turnpike collides with I-35 in an area where many driving decisions are being made. Within a short distance from this junction, the Turner Turnpike and I-44 branch off toward Tulsa while I-35 continues north into Kansas.
Whether you are headed there for some of the popular communities along the Turnpike–Edmond, Piedmont, Deer Creek, Bethany, or Yukon–or you are just trying to avoid the inner-city traffic, when you come to this junction, make sure you’ve got your eyes on the road and the other cars with which you’re sharing it.
5. Lake Hefner Parkway and I-44 (8 Fatal Accidents)
You may mistake the lines on the map for a pile of spaghetti noodles when you look at this junction on a map. On this stretch of road, I-44 turns back south, splitting from Route 66 before it merges into one roadway with Lake Hefner Parkway.
If you travel through this intersection regularly, you know it is full of people going in different directions and not allowing adequate time for lane changes. No matter which direction you are headed, this can be a tricky interchange and one where–even if you are familiar with it–you’ll want to pay attention to the signs.
4. I-40 and I-235 (16 Fatal Accidents)
Cutting through the middle of downtown OKC and providing easy access for commuters coming from I-35 North, South OKC, and eastern Edmond, you’ll find I-235. Although, if you’re driving from the east or west sides of Oklahoma City, you’ll likely be on I-40, which cuts right through the heart of the city.
Whether you’re headed downtown for an OKC Thunder game or just driving to work, this highway intersection is one to approach with caution. People who visit Oklahoma City aren’t used to the junction and add to the confusion. It only takes seconds to wind up with a damaged car or worse. Be prepared to stop in heavy traffic, move cautiously between lanes when you’re changing directions, and anticipate your fellow drivers’ possible actions to avoid needing our services.
3. I-240 and I-35 (17 Fatal Accidents)
One of the most popular routes for commuters in Oklahoma City passes through this junction. The communities south of Oklahoma City, especially Moore and Norman, house more than 50,000 people who work in Oklahoma City.
Not only do you have to watch for commuters, but this is one of the routes traveled most often by large freight trucks, which can cause the deadliest kinds of collisions.
At this junction, there is little time for the oncoming cars to get out of the way of the cars trying to exit. Both slight hesitation and jumping the gun can get you into a serious accident, as it must be done at higher level speeds to avoid being smashed by oncoming traffic.
2. I-44 Between Lake Hefner Parkway and I-235 (24 Fatal Accidents)
Running through the northeast side of Oklahoma City, I-44 is a popular route to get to the Western Avenue District, Classen Curve, Penn Square Mall, and many office complexes. Unlike most highways in Oklahoma City, there are multiple left-exit off-ramps along this stretch of road.
In addition to commuter traffic, this area gets busy on weekends and holidays as people fill their leisure time at the businesses in these popular areas. Another aspect of traffic to consider in this area is the large trucks. The heaviest truck traffic in OKC is on I-44 between Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
1. I-240 Between I-44 and I-35 (30 Fatal Accidents)
If you loop around the south side of Oklahoma City on I-240, it pays to be especially careful. The most dangerous stretch of road in Oklahoma City is I-240 between I-44 and I-35. It seems this area is constantly under construction and it’s the main thoroughfare through the southern part of Oklahoma City.
This popular route helps commuters get from the southern side of the city to the west side of Oklahoma City while avoiding downtown traffic. You’ll find busy neighborhoods, popular restaurants, and thriving businesses along this route.
Be vigilant while driving through this area, staying aware of the road and drivers around you. Protect yourself and the ones you love by being prepared to slow down quickly and avoid reckless drivers.
We’re in Your Corner Following a Car Accident
In Oklahoma, we’re proud to be the center of America’s Heartland. While living in Oklahoma City, we learn to be passionate about being friendly, college sports, and taking care of our neighbors when disaster strikes.
In OKC, disasters often come from nature like the drought-induced wildfires or one of tornado alley’s monster F5 tornadoes, but these threats don’t make OKC residents immune to fatal vehicle crashes. When you’ve been affected by a serious car or truck crash, call us to help you get back on track. We’ve got the courtroom experience and we know what it means to be an Oklahoman.