Avoid the Danger Zones with SafeRoadMaps.org

Avoid the Danger Zones with SafeRoadMaps.org

Doyle Drive is the antiquated and dangerous southern approach to the Golden Gate Bridge. It's actually a steel-truss bridge and has been rated as the most dangerous span in California. Most in the SF Bay Area are aware of this. And although geared toward rural drivers, SafeRoadMaps.org, a project of the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS) aims to help educate drivers as to the safety of their roads.

CERS is itself a joint program between the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs State and Local Policy Program and the Center for Transportation Studies, and is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA).


The site integrates statistics from the federal government’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) with Google Maps to provide highlight specific crashes and fatalities. According to their press release:

Researchers in the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS) have mapped out every fatality in the nation with details on each death, so now you can see the "dead man's curve" on your commute or the "devil's triangle" in your backyard. "When drivers type in their most common routes, they're shocked how much blood is being shed on it," said Tom Horan, research director for CERS. "When it's the route you or your loved ones use, the need to buckle up, slow down and avoid distractions and drinking suddenly becomes much more personal and urgent." Enter your address at www.saferoadmaps.org and you will see a map or satellite image of all of the road fatalities that have occurred in the area. Plus, users have the ability to narrow down their search to see the age of the driver, whether speeding or drinking was a factor, and if the driver was wearing a seatbelt.
We were heartened by the fact that when we typed in our home address, we didn't find any fatalities within a 2 mile radius (the default). Expand it to 10 miles, however, and we got a lot of them. Click on a particular accident (marked with a !), and you'll get a small window with fatality information, but if you are morbidly curious you can drill down still further and get a great deal of information:
  • Occupants in the car
  • Deaths
  • Safety restraints for each occupant
  • Speeding or not
  • Drinking or not
  • Time
and still more. Interestingly, though the Google Maps integration, the site also uses both Microsoft Virtual Earth and Google Earth as well, in the detailed breakdown of each accident.


The site says it hopes to "raise awareness and change fundamental perceptions regarding the magnitude, risk factors, and impacts of motor vehicle crashes." Given that, it's particularly good to see them add the alcohol and speeding information into the details of any accident.
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I haven't read the article yet, but from the looks of the images it appears that the most common hazard is the presence of large yellow triangles in the middle of the road.

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