Dead Man's Curve

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A section of the 1915 Ridge Route in Lebec, California, abandoned when US 99 (later upgraded to I-5) was constructed over the Tejon Pass in order to make travel straighter and safer.

A Dead Man's Curve is a crescent or horseshoe-shaped section of a road that has claimed lives because of numerous traffic crashes.[citation needed] The term is in common use in the United States, while the related term hairpin turn is more widely[where?] used in other parts of the world.

United States[edit]



An S-shape connector on the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, as seen on September 29, 2009, from the U.S. Coast Guard station on Yerba Buena Island


  • A sharp turn on eastbound Interstate 70 near Morrison that is preceded by a seven-mile (11 km) stretch of a 6.5% grade downslope, which has been the site of numerous fatal runaway truck accidents.[6][7]


  • A sharp turn at the end of Kapaa Quarry Road, which is a dimly lit utility road in Kailua. Honolulu County, that has claimed eight fatalities and is considered one of Oahu's haunted roads.[8][9]


  • In Towanda, Illinois, an almost 90-degree Dead Man's Curve on the original Old U.S. Route 66 was the site of many accidents; a number of which ended in fatalities. The roadbed was eventually turned into a park and walking trail.[10]


  • In Indianapolis, a curve on Interstate 70 westbound at mile marker 83.1[11] When opened, it had a negative camber on the right shoulder, and several truckers lost control and hit the a bridge abutment, losing their lives. The stretch was closed, re-engineered with a positive bank and with rain slots along the boundary and was reopened with a 40 mph speed limit.



  • In northern Bossier Parish, a sharp curve on Louisiana 157 (Hickory Drive), just inside the city limits of Plain Dealing, south of the town cemetery.[13]



  • In Milford, MI, Oakland County 42°33'37.4"N 83°35'50.0"W[citation needed]


New Mexico[edit]

New York[edit]


Dead Man's Curve in Cleveland, Ohio
Dead Man's Curve was constructed as part of the Innerbelt project in 1959.[24] At the time, Interstate 90 had been planned to continue westward on the Shoreway, connecting with its current location via the never-built Parma Freeway.[25] It soon became apparent that the curve was too sharp for travel at typical Interstate speeds, and in 1965, the state lowered the speed limit from 50 mph (80 km/h) to 35 mph (56 km/h).[citation needed] Four years later,[not in citation given] authorities completed the first set of safety retrofits, which included banking the curve and installing rumble strips and large signs.[26]
According to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the crash rate on the Innerbelt (which includes Dead Man's Curve) is two to three times the regional average for urban freeways, despite the reduced speed limits on the roadway. The department has investigated ways of enhancing safety on the stretch, including a complete realignment of the roadway to reduce the degree of the curve.[27][28] As of 2014 the proposed configuration of the curve as presented in the ODOT Innerbelt Plan[20] is still planned to be built but not until the mid-2020s.[29][30] According to a 2013 ODOT count, 64,720 vehicles travel on the curve every day.[31]



  • The northern terminus of Interstate 476 in Clarks Summit is a 180-degree turn, with an advisory speed limit of 20 mph, created in order to access a toll plaza before the interchange with Interstate 81.
  • On U.S. Route 22 in Easton, there are several dangerous sharp turns that go past a graveyard.[35] (This is most commonly known as "Cemetery Curve" for that reason.) Streetlights were installed to help cut down on nighttime crashes; the lightposts are themselves frequent victims of collisions.[36]


  • A sharp, sudden turn on U.S. Route 175 (C. F. Hawn Freeway) at the interchange with SH 310 southeast of downtown Dallas.[37] After a fatal truck accident in 2008, the state installed additional beacons and also flashing chevrons to further draw motorists' attention to the hazard. As of 2010, the department of highways is studying plans to eliminate this curve by extending the C. F. Hawn Freeway westward to Interstate 45.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Birmingham
  2. ^ Lee, Henry K.; Michael Cabanatuan & Jaxon Van Derbeken (November 10, 2009). "Changes coming to Bay Bridge after death plunge". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 11, 2009. 
  3. ^ Google Maps view of curve in San Diego County
  4. ^ page regarding the Los Angeles curve
  5. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Los Angeles (Sunset Blvd)
  6. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Colorado
  7. ^ Gathright, Alan (2007-07-12). "Stretch of I-70 has deadly legacy". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on 2007-07-14. Retrieved 2007-07-13. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "The Mother Road: Historic Route 66 - Dead Man's Curve". Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  11. ^ Google Maps view of I70 west at mile marker 83.1 in Indianapolis
  12. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Covington, Kentucky
  13. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Plain Dealing
  14. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Baltimore
  15. ^ Kulsea, Bill; Shawver, Tom (1980). Making Michigan Move: A History of Michigan Highways and the Michigan Department of Transportation. Lansing, MI: Michigan Department of Transportation. p. 10. 
  16. ^ "The Mother Road: Historic Route 66 - Turn by Turn Road Description - New Mexico". Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  17. ^ 2
  18. ^ "Google Maps". Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  19. ^ "New Mexicans move to make roads more wildlife-friendly". Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  20. ^ a b Chapter 4.0: Conceptual Alternatives – Innerbelt Curve, Cleveland Innerbelt: Conceptual Alternatives Study, Ohio Department of Transportation/Burgess & Niple/URS Corporation, 2006-08-11. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  21. ^ "Encyclopedia of Cleveland History — Innerbelt Freeway". Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  22. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Cleveland
  23. ^ Ohio Department of Transportation (2007-05-16). District 12 Speed Zones. p. 5.
  24. ^ Sweeney, James (2001-04-22). "Dead Man's Curve could be worse - in fact, it was". The Plain Dealer. 
  25. ^ Ohio Department of Highways. "1957-1958 Biennial Report excerpt". Retrieved 2012-07-22. 
  26. ^ Cabanatuan, Michael (2009-11-11). "Ideas offered to slow S-curve motorists". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  27. ^ Sweeney, James (2001-04-22). "Roadblock to improving safety; Inner Belt changes being studied, but Dead Man's Curve might be dead end". The Plain Dealer. 
  28. ^ Marshall, Aaron (2012-07-22). "Cleveland's Dead Man's Curve Not Going to Stop Tipping Trucks Anytime Soon". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2012-07-22. 
  29. ^ Contract Group 4, Innerbelt Plan
  30. ^ Grant, Alison (2014-08-12). "Traffic Congestion Easing across Northeast Ohio". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  31. ^ Cuyahoga County Annual Average Daily Traffic 2013 (Map). Ohio Department of Transportation. 2013. 
  32. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Cincinnati
  33. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Dayton
  34. ^ Google Maps view of curve in on the Mount Hood Scenic Byway
  35. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Easton
  36. ^ "Shine the lights on Cemetery Curve; Tuesday will be a great day for no-shows - Oct. 28 letters to the editor". Easton Express-Times. 2010-10-28. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  37. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Dallas
  38. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Zoomweg

External links[edit]