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The PCH: One of the Deadliest Roads in America?

By Renee Nordstrand on August 19, 2018

The scenic vistas that can be viewed from the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) are among the most beautiful anywhere in the world. Visitors flock from all over the country and from beyond our nation’s borders to see the view from the PCH. However, in poor conditions it can be among the most dangerous roads in California, including where it passes through Santa Barbara.

The Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway, or California State Route 1, is a state highway that runs north-south along the coastline. It stretches more than 650 miles, from Mendocino County in the north to Dana Point in Orange County in the south. The PCH runs through numerous counties and cities along its course, passing through Malibu, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz. It is a beautiful highway, offering incredible scenic views of the Pacific Ocean.

Dangers on the Road

Due to its views and how it travels up the state, the Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most traveled roads in the country. The population on the road, particularly the mix of commuter drivers, locals, beachgoers, and vacationers, creates many opportunities for collisions. Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the road is the lack of guardrails in many areas where it runs along the ocean, providing little protection to distracted drivers. The high speeds that many people drive at while on the PCH, combined with natural hazards like rain and mudslides, create the potential for serious and deadly accidents.

Staying Safe Behind the Wheel

The first thing people can do to increase their safety on the Pacific Coast Highway is to slow down and only travel at reasonable speeds for the conditions. Check local reports for road closures and weather alerts. Many accidents involve people traveling at 20 or 30 miles per hour over the speed limit, at which point it is virtually impossible to react to changing road conditions and vehicle control becomes more difficult.

No matter what you do to avoid accidents, you cannot avoid reckless drivers. Some people treat the PCH as if it is a personal roller coaster. If you or a loved one has been hit by another driver on the Pacific Coast Highway, call NordstrandBlack PC at (805) 962-2022 to speak to an experienced Southern California car accident attorney. In our free consultation, we’ll discuss your options for receiving compensation for your injuries and other damages.

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