Dangerous roads in the Upstate

SCDOT says they are working on improving the deadliest roads in South Carolina, a number of which are in the Upstate. (FOX Carolina/ February 13, 2019)

ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (FOX Carolina) - Narrow, winding roads with no guard rails; you'll find them in every county in the Upstate. Highway patrol said they're responsible for thousands of deaths, many of them head on collisions, which is now leading to improvements from SCDOT.

SCDOT went and looked at numbers to find the deadliest roads in South Carolina. Employees said the state already has the highest traffic fatality rate in the country with 60 percent of these fatal crashes happening in rural areas.

Twenty-four of the roads chosen are in the Upstate.

Cars whiz by paying no mind to the small cross standing on the side of a busy Anderson County road. Being there brings back every emotion for Greg and Brenda Wilson.

It's where their daughter, Sarah, was killed.

"Every time I come through here it's the same emotion it is now,” Greg said. “It's like it just happened all over again."

They go a different way now, avoiding it on their daily commutes but they say the pain never stops. Every morning she's the first thing they think about.

"Her laugh, her smile, her attitude, her fire, her thirst for life," Greg said.

It's a gut-wrenching feeling, shared by countless families who have lost loved ones on roads.

"It happened two years ago but it feels like yesterday,” said James Goodwin Jr. “Not only did I lose my brother, I lost my best friend."

Goodwin said his brother, Shane, was riding his motorcycle on his way home when he was hit by a car and killed. It happened late at night along Highway 29 in Anderson County, a frequented stop by highway patrol.

"If you don't look left, right, left before you pull out onto a highway or take a left hand turn, you know those things do happen,” said Trooper Joe Hovis. “Those things happen unfortunately on a daily basis."

FOX Carolina looked at the numbers from 2018 on three of the busiest roads on the list; combined there were more than 900 accidents. After looking into the crashes, SCDOT said enough is enough and they come up with a ten year plan.

"We identified three leading factors in those fatal crashes were vehicles leaving roadways, night time and the visibility factor and vehicles hitting fixed objects," said Brett Harrelson with SCDOT.

The state knew they could work to fix the problem.

"Our strategy is wider strips, wider shoulders, rumble strips on the center line and the edges,” Harrelson said. “We're going with wider pavement lines on our interstates which are six inches, we're going to brighter signs to help with the nighttime."

He said the prep work has already begun.

"They should be out here working in the next few weeks," He said.

Bringing some relief to families who know the dangers of the roads.

They said the project won't bring their loved ones back, but it could help save a life.

"We come once in a while to check if her cross is still there,” Greg said. “We don't really know why we come if we do, but it's really rare to go to the scene."

Click here for a full list of Upstate roads in the SCDOT's Ten Year Plan.

Copyright 2019 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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