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.

Dead man's curve is a nickname for a curve in a roadway that has claimed lives because of numerous crashes.[1][2] The term is in common use in the United States.

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 curve on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles memorialized in the hit song "Dead Man's Curve" by Jan and Dean
    • Some say it is a nearly 90° right turn traveling west on Sunset Boulevard just past North Whittier Drive.[4][5]
    • Others say it is located near the Bel Air estates north of UCLA's Drake Stadium going eastbound (not westbound as in the song). While an accident involving voice actor Mel Blanc prompted safety improvement, the curve remains today.[6]
    • Others remember the location as the curve at Evans Road going westbound (as in the song),[7] a decreasing radius blind turn to the left with a downhill entry. Maximum speed in the first half of the turn is too fast for the last half of the turn, making it all too easy to lose control, run off the road and crash.
  • A temporary S-shape curve on that once existed on the former Eastern span of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (part of Interstate 80). After its installation on September 8, 2009, to divert traffic as part of a replacement project, 43 accidents took place, including one fatal crash.[8]
  • A sharp turn in the shape of a "U" on SR 76 in San Diego County, near Red Gate Road.[9] The curve has claimed the lives of many motorcyclists.[citation needed]


  • A sharp turn on eastbound Interstate 70 near Morrison that is preceded by a 7-mile (11 km) stretch of a 6.5% grade downslope, which has been the site of numerous fatal runaway truck accidents.[10][11]
  • A high-banked turn on eastbound US 50 just west of Cañon City that is preceded by an 8-mile (13 km) stretch of downslope, which has caused several vehicles to go over the banked edge and wreck.[12]


  • Seabreeze Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, a main thoroughfare also known as Highway A1A, is known locally as dead man’s curve. Many people have crashed into trees and either been injured or died. This area of the road just recently claimed 2 more lives.[13][14]


  • 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.[15][16]


  • In Towanda, Illinois, an almost 90° 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.[17]


  • In Indianapolis, a curve on Interstate 70 westbound at mile marker 83.1[18] 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 miles per hour (64 km/h) speed limit.






New Mexico[edit]

  • Near Mesita, a 180º bend in the road to the left on Historic U.S. Route 66 nicknamed "Dead Man's Curve"[25]
  • Between Albuquerque and Tijeras, State Road 333 (previously known as U.S. Route 66) makes a sudden curve near the I-40 overpass. This stretch of highway has earned its name because of the rocky cliffs on the south side of the highway, and frequent deer traffic contributes to its hazardousness[26][27][28]

New York[edit]

  • A 90º turn on New York State Route 17 in Binghamton, near the junction with Interstate 81 and Interstate 88, which also goes by the name Kamikaze Curve. The tight curve, which hugs Prospect Mountain along the Chenango River, is slated for improvements as part of NY 17's upgrade to Interstate 86.
  • Union Square in Manhattan had a long history of traffic congestion extending back to the 1890s, when trolley lines were first installed. Two parallel trolley lines made a double curve at the southwest corner of Broadway and Fourteenth Street. In spite of traffic wardens on duty, the trolleys regularly struck pedestrians crossing the tracks in the busy shopping district around the park. [29] By 1930, the Fourteenth Street Association, a retail business association headed by its president, H. Prescott Beach, had successfully lobbied the New York transit authority to remove the above-ground rails, and move routes underground. [30]

North Carolina[edit]

On northbound Interstate 77 in Charlotte, there is an S-shaped curve as it passes under the Brookshire Freeway (exit 11, signed as Interstate 277 east of the interchange, and North Carolina Highway 16 in both directions). The reason for this is because there are two left-hand exits and entrances: one ramp goes from northbound I-77 to northbound NC 16, and the other ramp goes from the end of I-277 to southbound I-77.[31]


Dead Man's Curve in Cleveland, Ohio
Dead Man's Curve was constructed as part of the Innerbelt project in 1959.[36] 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.[37] 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.[38]
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.[39][40] As of 2014 the proposed configuration of the curve as presented in the ODOT Innerbelt Plan[32] is still planned to be built but not until the mid-2020s.[41][42] According to a 2013 ODOT count, 64,720 vehicles travel on the curve every day.[43]


See also Terwilliger curves


  • The northern terminus of Interstate 476 in Clarks Summit is a 180° turn, with an advisory speed limit of 20 miles per hour (32 km/h), 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.[47] (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.[48]
  • The Conshohocken Curve is a point on the Schuylkill Expressway notable as a point of slowness because of the 90 degree turn. The point lies at about mile marker 331.

South Carolina[edit]


  • A sharp, sudden turn on U.S. Route 175 (C. F. Hawn Freeway) at the interchange with SH 310 southeast of downtown Dallas.[50] 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. ^ Allen, Irving Lewis (1995). The City in Slang: New York Life and Popular Speech. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509265-1 – via Google Books. A bend in any road that has a history of vehicular accidents always seems to be called Dead Man's Curve. 
  2. ^ Algar, Selim (October 8, 2012). "Police: 4 Killed in Gruesome Long Island Accident: Driver Only Had Learner's Permit". New York Post. Retrieved August 8, 2015. The site is so frequently the scene of horrific accidents, first responders call it 'Dead Man’s Curve'. 
  3. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Birmingham
  4. ^ "Dead Man's Curve". Urban Legends Reference Pages. May 23, 2007. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  5. ^ Google (August 25, 2015). "Curve in Los Angeles (Sunset Boulevard)" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  6. ^ Google (November 5, 2016). "Location of Mel Blanc's crash on Sunset Blvd at UCLA" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved November 5, 2016. 
  7. ^ Google (August 25, 2015). "Sunset Boulevard and Evans Road" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ Google (August 25, 2015). "SR 76 and Red Gate Road in San Diego County" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  10. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Colorado
  11. ^ Gathright, Alan (July 12, 2007). "Stretch of I-70 has deadly legacy". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on July 14, 2007. Retrieved July 13, 2007. 
  12. ^ Google Maps view
  13. ^ Local News Video of the September 5, 2018 accident
  14. ^ Google Maps View of the curve
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 24, 2012. Retrieved October 1, 2011. 
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ "The Mother Road: Historic Route 66 - Dead Man's Curve". Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  18. ^ Google Maps view of I70 west at mile marker 83.1 in Indianapolis
  19. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Covington, Kentucky
  20. ^ Google (July 17, 2018). "Curve in Plain Dealing" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved July 17, 2018. 
  21. ^ Google (July 17, 2018). "Dead Man's Curve near Mangham, LA" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved July 17, 2018. 
  22. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Baltimore
  23. ^ Kulsea, Bill; Shawver, Tom (1980). Making Michigan Move: A History of Michigan Highways and the Michigan Department of Transportation. Lansing: Michigan Department of Transportation. p. 10. 
  24. ^ Federal Highway Administration (1977). America's Highways, 1776–1976: A History of the Federal-Aid Program. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. p. 127. OCLC 3280344. 
  25. ^ "The Mother Road: Historic Route 66 - Turn by Turn Road Description - New Mexico". Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  26. ^ 2
  27. ^ "Google Maps". Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  28. ^ "New Mexicans move to make roads more wildlife-friendly". Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  29. ^ "UNION SQUARE AND THE DEMISE OF 'DEAD MAN'S CURVE'". Bowery Boys. Retrieved January 15, 2017. 
  30. ^ Connoly, Louise. "The New Woman." Harper's Weekly (June 7, 1913): 6.
  31. ^ Google (October 25, 2017). "I-77 north at Exit 11 in Charlotte" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved October 25, 2017. 
  32. ^ a b Chapter 4.0: Conceptual Alternatives – Innerbelt Curve, Cleveland Innerbelt: Conceptual Alternatives Study, Ohio Department of Transportation/Burgess & Niple/URS Corporation, August 11, 2006. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  33. ^ "Encyclopedia of Cleveland History — Innerbelt Freeway". Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  34. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Cleveland
  35. ^ Ohio Department of Transportation (May 16, 2007). District 12 Speed Zones. p. 5.
  36. ^ Sweeney, James (April 22, 2001). "Dead Man's Curve could be worse - in fact, it was". The Plain Dealer. 
  37. ^ Ohio Department of Highways. "1957-1958 Biennial Report excerpt". Retrieved July 22, 2012. 
  38. ^ Cabanatuan, Michael (November 11, 2009). "Ideas offered to slow S-curve motorists". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 11, 2009. 
  39. ^ Sweeney, James (April 22, 2001). "Roadblock to improving safety; Inner Belt changes being studied, but Dead Man's Curve might be dead end". The Plain Dealer. 
  40. ^ Marshall, Aaron (July 22, 2012). "Cleveland's Dead Man's Curve Not Going to Stop Tipping Trucks Anytime Soon". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved July 22, 2012. 
  41. ^ Contract Group 4, Innerbelt Plan
  42. ^ Grant, Alison (August 12, 2014). "Traffic Congestion Easing across Northeast Ohio". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  43. ^ Cuyahoga County Annual Average Daily Traffic 2013 (PDF) (Map). Ohio Department of Transportation. 2013. 
  44. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Cincinnati
  45. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Dayton
  46. ^ Google Maps view of curve in on the Mount Hood Scenic Byway
  47. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Easton
  48. ^ "Shine the lights on Cemetery Curve; Tuesday will be a great day for no-shows - Oct. 28 letters to the editor". Easton Express-Times. October 28, 2010. Retrieved December 15, 2010. 
  49. ^ Ritter, Jana. "Recent Fatal Crash Prompts Action To Fix "Deadman's Curve"". Retrieved May 18, 2016. 
  50. ^ Google Maps view of curve in Dallas

External links[edit]