Traffic collisions are a serious public safety issue in our community. Approximately 15,000 injury-involved collisions occur here each year. The locations of these collisions are not spread evenly across the county’s roadways, however. To the contrary, a disproportionate number of accidents occur along certain routes. It is here – on the most dangerous roads in Orange County – that motorists and pedestrians are most likely to get hurt.

The vehicle accident lawyers at Neale & Fhima know the collision-prone areas of Orange County all too well. With decades of experience helping local injury victims, our firm has repeatedly handled cases involving the same streets and intersections. We encourage motorists to be cognizant of these danger spots and to drive with an added degree of caution. And if an accident does occur, we are ready to fight for you and your right to compensation.

Here is more information about Orange County’s most dangerous places to drive, ride a motorcycle, bike, or walk:

Canyon Roads

The largest population centers in Orange County are all located in the county’s central and northern flatland areas. In fact, it is possible to drive through Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irving, Huntington Beach, and Garden Grove without ever climbing more than 150 feet or so above sea level. The eastern and southern areas of the county are an entirely different matter. This region is dominated by the Santa Ana mountains, making canyon driving a common necessity.

Canyon driving presents unique hazards for motorists. Three of these hazards – improper passing, drunk driving, and animals on the roadway – are the primary cause of more than 1,100 injury accidents in Orange County each year, according to California Highway Patrol (CHP) records. The blind curves and steep grades on these roads only make matters worse. Dangerous canyon roads in Orange County include:

  • The Ortega Highway (State Route 74 heading east out of San Juan Capistrano toward Riverside County)
  • Laguna Canyon Road (State Route 133 leaving downtown Laguna Beach)
  • Santiago Canyon Road (11-mile stretch from the 241 to El Toro Road, bordering the east side of Limestone Canyon Regional Park)
  • Live Oak Canyon Road (County Route 19 from Cook’s Corner to the entrance of O’Neill Regional Park)
  • Trabuco Canyon Road (1.5-mile stretch from the north side of Rancho Santa Margarita to the entrance of O’Neill Regional Park)

Surface Streets

Most traffic accidents happen near home. So, if you live in Orange County, you are more likely to get hurt driving to 7-eleven than you are driving to Los Angeles or San Diego. Why is this? The most obvious reason is that people spend more time driving on surface streets close to home, so there are more opportunities to be involved in a wreck. But people’s mindset while driving on familiar roads also plays a role. Drivers tend to relax and pay less attention on streets they travel every day (pedestrians tend to do the same). Even if you always remain alert behind the wheel, you may get hit by one of your neighbors who does not.

Inattentive driving on surface streets leads to accidents caused by failure to yield, improper turning, unsafe starting, and failure to obey traffic signs and signals. The CHP reports that these four factors are the primary cause of more than 6,500 injury accidents per year in Orange County. Here are some of the streets where these accidents are taking place:

  • Jeffrey Road (east and west of the Santa Ana Freeway, in Irvine)
  • Bristol Street (near John Wayne Airport)
  • Jeronimo Road (from Alton Parkway in Lake Forest, to Marguerite Parkway in Mission Viejo)
  • Fairview Street (south of the Santa Ana River, in Santa Ana)
  • 17th Street (from N. Bristol Street to the Costa Mesa Freeway, in Santa Ana)
  • El Toro Road (in Lake Forest)
  • Chapman Avenue (in Garden Grove and Stanton)
  • Crown Valley Parkway (beginning at the Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point, through Laguna Niguel, to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo)
  • Avenida Pico (at and around the I-5 crossing, in San Clemente)
  • McFadden Avenue (in central Santa Ana)
  • Alicia Parkway (between Laguna Hills and Mission Viejo)
  • Newport Boulevard (from the Pacific Coast Highway to Costa Mesa)
  • Camino Capistrano (alongside I-5, between Stonehill Drive and San Juan Creek Road, in San Juan Capistrano)

The Freeways

Only in Southern California could a roadway be 20-plus lanes wide, with no intersections or traffic signals, and still have vehicles slowed to a crawl during rush hour. Bumper-to-bumper traffic jams may be the safest times to be on the freeway, however. High speed is the real danger.

Driving too fast is the No. 1 cause of traffic accidents in Orange County, according to the CHP. It is the primary factor in approximately 5,600 injury-related wrecks each year. Another 800 injury accidents each year are caused by following too close, impeding the flow of traffic, and unsafe lane changes – all of which are common freeway-driving behaviors.

Orange County has hundreds of miles of freeways, and a collision could happen anywhere along these routes. But the most dangerous sections are those with some other risk factor present, like confusing or dangerous on/off ramps, merging zones that require drivers to cross multiple lanes, poor lighting, or lack of an alternative route. Here are a few of the worst examples:

  • I-405 Freeway (from where the 605 ends in Seal Beach, to John Wayne Airport, running through the cities of Westminster, Fountain Valley, and Costa Mesa)
  • The El Toro Y (where the I-5 and the I-405 freeways come together, in Irvine)
  • Orange Crush Interchange (the I-5/SR-22/Orange Freeway interchange, where the cities of Santa Ana and Orange meet)

Representing Orange County Crash Victims

Did you know that attorneys Matt Neale and Aaron Fhima have collected tens of millions of dollars on behalf of accident victims? But unlike other successful personal injury lawyers, they still handle every case personally, spending the time necessary to get to know their clients. They have always practiced law this way, and it works. Car accident victims in Southern California can contact the law firm of Neale & Fhima by calling (888) 559-4904 or by submitting the form below.