South Carolina’s Most Dangerous Roads: I-526 and I-26

South Carolina’s Most Dangerous Roads: I-526 and I-26

Interstate Car Accident Injury Lawyers Serving South Carolina

Residents of South Carolina know that some roads have a reputation for being dangerous. However, what makes one road more dangerous than another? Are motorists really more likely to get into an accident on certain highways? If so, what factors go into the dangerousness of a road or highway? 

At the Steinberg Law Firm, we’ve been handling South Carolina car accident lawsuits on behalf of injured motorists for over 95 years. Over this time, we’ve developed our own opinions about which roads are the most dangerous in South Carolina. However, you don’t need to take our word for it, as the South Carolina Department of Public Safety tracks all accident data in the state and publishes a list of the most dangerous roads each year. Read on to learn more about South Carolina’s most dangerous roads and what makes them so deadly. 

What Makes Certain Roads More Dangerous?

South Carolina experiences a very high number of car and truck accidents. In fact, according to the most recent data from the South Carolina Department of Transportation, on average, there is one accident every four minutes and 18 seconds. Of course, not every accident results in serious injuries; however, many do. For example, someone is hurt in a South Carolina traffic accident every 11 minutes and someone loses their life every eight hours. 

While an accident can happen on any road, some are more dangerous than others. There are a variety of reasons why there may be more accidents on certain roads, including the following:

Dangerous Highway Design

One of the major contributing factors to the dangerousness of a road is how it is designed. This includes things such as the grade or slope of the roadway, the visibility around curves, signage, and lane markings. Roads with outdated or poorly placed road signs can lead to motorist confusion, which may cause a driver to slow down when others least expect it. Additionally, some roads were built decades ago when South Carolina’s population was a fraction of what it is today. These roads, while perhaps well-designed at the time, are often far too small to handle the amount of traffic they currently receive, which can lead to unexpected and dangerous traffic jams. 

Poor Road Maintenance

Roads improperly maintained can also increase the risk of an accident. For example, road maintenance includes ensuring road signs are present and accurate, the pavement is not pitted or full of potholes, and the surrounding foliage is trimmed to allow maximum driver visibility. Typically, the duty to maintain a road rests with the state or local government that built the road. For example, major highways such as I-26 and I-526 are maintained by the South Carolina Department of Transportation, while smaller roads are maintained by the city where they are located. 


Adverse weather conditions such as rain and fog can have an impact on most South Carolina roads and highways; however, certain roads put drivers at a higher risk for a weather-related accident. For example, rain makes roads slick, and fog limits drivers’ visibility—both of which can be incredibly dangerous. Of course, due to the surrounding geographic features, some roads tend to experience more fog than others. Otherwise, the roads that are the most dangerous during periods of bad weather are those that experience a lot of traffic and have high speed limits. This is because motorists who do not reduce their speed will have a much more difficult time assessing their surroundings and slowing down in the event of an unexpected hazard. 


No one likes driving in traffic. However, for many of us, sitting in traffic for an hour or more per day isn’t a choice. And while most drivers don’t let the stop-and-go of a traffic jam get to them, that isn’t the case for all motorists. Some drivers may become distracted while sitting in slow-moving traffic, and others may get frustrated, which can lead them to engage in aggressive driving behavior. Approximately 25 percent of all South Carolina traffic accidents occurred during the evening rush hour, which is between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. when roads are the most congested. And, not surprisingly, the most dangerous single hour to be on the road is between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Often, these four factors cause roads like I-26 and I-526 to be dangerous. Of course, driver-specific factors also play a role. For example, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that 45 percent of all fatal motor vehicle collisions in 2020 involved either drunk driving, speeding, or a motorist’s failure to wear a safety belt. Needless to say, whether you are a local resident or visitor of South Carolina, it’s important to stay alert on the road. If you are involved in a serious I-26 or I-526 car accident on your way to work, home, or another destination, contact our experienced interstate car accident attorneys today. 

What Are the Most Dangerous Roads in South Carolina?

Those familiar with South Carolina roads know that certain highways have a notorious reputation, and for good reason. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety tracks all motor vehicle accidents and compiles the data in an annual Fact Book. According to the most recent Fact Book published in 2020, the following are the most dangerous roads in South Carolina. 

Interstate 26

Interstate 26 starts in Charleston and crosses the state to the northeast, traveling through Columbia, Spartanburg, and then up into Western North Carolina. In 2020, there were 27 fatal accidents on I-26, claiming a total of 33 lives. Additionally, there were another 828 other accidents resulting in 1,173 motorists being injured.

Interstate 20

Interstate 20 runs laterally through South Carolina, traveling through Columbia. In 2020, there were 18 fatal accidents on I-20, claiming a total of 19 lives. Additionally, there were another 375 other accidents resulting in 561 motorists being injured. 

Interstate 85

Interstate 85 only crosses through the northwestern portion of South Carolina, spanning just over 100 miles. In 2020, there were 13 fatal accidents on I-85, claiming a total of 13 lives. Additionally, there were another 467 other accidents resulting in 691 motorists being injured. 

Interstate 95

Interstate 95 runs in a north-south direction and is one of the most highly traveled highways in the country. In 2020, there were 19 fatal accidents on I-95, claiming a total of 21 lives. Additionally, there were another 304 other accidents resulting in 481 motorists being injured. 

Interstate 526

Interstate 526 is an auxiliary route that serves as a partial beltway around Charleston. Although I-526 is only just over 19 miles long, it is still one of the most dangerous roads in South Carolina. In fact, a project manager for the South Carolina Department of Transportation commented that “[i]t’s definitely the worst corridor in the state, interstate-wise …The [I-26 and I-526] interchange is hands down the worst, but from a mainline segment, the worst segment is from North Rhett to Clements Ferry Road.” For example, in 2020, there were two fatal accidents on I-26, claiming a total of two lives. Additionally, there were another 148 other accidents resulting in 220 motorists being injured.

What to Do After an Interstate Car Accident

Regardless of where or when a car accident occurs, it is imperative that you take certain steps in the immediate aftermath. Doing so will ensure that you receive the appropriate medical treatment for your injuries and preserve your ability to bring a South Carolina car accident lawsuit against the at-fault party. 

  1. Report the accident by calling 911 or the Local Sheriff’s Department.
  2. Gather as much information as you can.
  3. Go to the emergency room, hospital, or your primary care provider.
  4. Be careful of what you say when talking with the insurance company.
  5. Save all records related to the accident.
  6. Reach out to an experienced Charleston personal injury attorney.

Even if you are unsure about who was at fault for the accident, it’s important to follow these steps, as there may be facts that, while unknown to you at the time, could form the basis of a strong claim to recovery. 

How a Personal Injury Law Firm Can Help Charleston Car Accident Victims

Working with an experienced South Carolina car accident law firm can not only make the recovery process much easier on you and your family, but it may also increase your chances of recovering full and fair compensation for everything you’ve been through. For example, it’s common for insurance companies to approach you shortly after an accident before you realize the full impact that the accident had on your life. They do this on purpose, hoping to settle the case for as little money as possible. By meeting with an attorney, you can get a better sense of what your actual damages are, who was at fault, and what you should expect from a settlement offer. This will give you the knowledge necessary to make the best decision for yourself and your family. 

In the event that an insurance company isn’t willing to make a fair settlement offer, your personal injury lawyer can file a lawsuit seeking to compel the company to fairly compensate you for all your accident-related expenses. While the damages in a South Carolina car accident lawsuit vary significantly between cases, they often provide money for the following:

  • Past and future medical expenses.
  • Lost wages. 
  • Reduced ability to earn an income in the future.
  • Property damage.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Decrease in quality of life.
  • Scarring and other disfigurements.
  • Damage to familial relationships.

At the Steinberg Law Firm, we can help you identify the full extent of your damages to ensure you don’t accept a lowball offer that doesn’t make you whole. 

Speak with an Experienced South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer to Learn More About Your Rights

If you’ve been injured in a South Carolina car accident, any other driver or government entity that contributed to the crash may be financially liable to you. However, navigating the recovery process is not always a straightforward process, especially when insurance companies get involved. At the Steinberg Law Firm, our dedicated Charleston personal injury attorneys have more than 95 years of experience helping accident victims recover money damages for all their accident-related expenses so they can begin the process of moving on with their lives. We offer free consultations to all accident victims, during which we will explain the process, outline your options, and explain what we can do to help. If you decide to bring a case with the Steinberg Law Firm, we will not charge you for any of our services unless we can recover compensation on your behalf. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation today, call 843-720-2800. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.

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