In Horry County, SC and the Myrtle Beach area, we have more than our share of car wrecks, trucking accidents, and pedestrian deaths. But there are certain roads and intersections that rack up more crashes than others – what are the most dangerous intersections in Horry County?
Why are these areas more dangerous than others?
The SC Highway Patrol and Horry County Police Department blame it on negligent drivers. That’s obviously true, but does the government have some responsibility for making these intersections safer, considering the heavy traffic that passes through them?
What are the Most Dangerous Intersections in Horry County?
Myrtlebeachonline.com has compiled a list of the most dangerous intersections in Horry County, using data from the S.C. Office of Highway Safety and Justice Program.
What they found is that the most car wrecks in Horry County in 2018 were at intersections along Highway 501 – the only highway leading directly into Myrtle Beach from Conway that often turns into a traffic jam due to accidents.
Car Crashes at Intersections Along Highway 501
Highway 501 leading into Myrtle Beach is one of the most congested areas in the county. Combine this with unsafe traffic designs at intersections, and it is no surprise that the most dangerous intersections in Horry County are found on Highway 501.
What are those intersections?
Highway 501 and Highway 544 – 65 car wrecks in 2018.
Highway 501 is already a bottleneck that is the only practical route in and out of Myrtle Beach for millions of tourists and locals each year. Its intersection with Highway 544 is problematic – there is a stop light, turning lanes, and more than a dozen traffic lanes filled with traffic.
Highway 544 is:
- Adjacent to and the easiest way to access Coastal Carolina University;
- The only practical route to Surfside Beach, Garden City, or Murrell’s Inlet from Highway 501; and
- Usually filled with heavy traffic.
Highway 501 and Gardner Lacey Road – 54 car crashes in 2018.
Wrecks at this intersection are often the cause of slow-moving traffic coming into Myrtle Beach on Highway 501.
Highway 501 and Carolina Forest Boulevard – 53 car wrecks in 2018.
Carolina Forest Boulevard connects to a busy shopping center and restaurants before disappearing into a maze of neighborhoods. There are multiple turn lanes and heavy traffic as people navigate the area for shopping or just to get to and from their homes.
Highway 501 and Grissom Parkway – 44 car crashes in 2018.
In the heart of Myrtle Beach lies this deadly intersection with multiple turn lanes and a traffic light where, as myrtlebeachonline.com notes, “eight lanes converge and nobody seems to know who has the right of way.”
Highway 501 and Seaboard Street – 43 car wrecks in 2018.
This intersection in Myrtle Beach connects motorists on highway 501 with a busy shopping center, Walmart, Best Buy, strip clubs, and Myrtle Beach’s tattoo parlors.
Other Most Dangerous Intersections in Horry County
Although Highway 501 takes the gold for the most dangerous intersections in Horry County, there are other deadly intersections in the area, including:
- Highway 17 and Highway 544 – this intersection, near multiple housing developments, restaurants, businesses, campgrounds, and the main access points to Surfside Beach, ranked second-most-deadly in Horry County, with 63 car accidents in 2018;
- Highway 9 and Highway 57 – if you live or vacation near Little River, SC, you should be aware of this intersection that had 49 auto accidents in 2018;
- Highway 17 and Joe White Avenue – this intersection, near the boulevard, the Myrtle Beach Police Department and City Offices, strikes through the very center of downtown Myrtle Beach. In 2018, there were 47 car wrecks here;
- Highway 17 and Glenn’s Bay Road – if you made it down highway 501, highway 544, and through the intersection of 544 and 17, you may still need to turn down Glenn’s Bay Road as you enter Surfside Beach. In the midst of a construction project with lane shifts and barriers, there were 46 car wrecks in 2018; and
- Highway 17 and 29th North – there 44 auto accidents in 2018 at this intersection not far from Broadway at the Beach, Myrtle Beach Elementary School, and residential neighborhoods.
Why are They the Most Dangerous Intersections?
According to myrtlebeachonline.com, the SC Highway Patrol and Horry County Police Department named several reasons for the large number of crashes at these intersections, including:
- Traffic congestion – there is a huge amount of traffic moving through these intersections because they are the only access points to certain areas of the Grand Strand, they are adjacent to large neighborhoods, and they are near busy tourist attractions;
- Distracted driving – people are paying less attention to the road as they pick up their cell phones, send text messages, and use other electronics as they drive; and
- Traffic violations like driving too fast, following too close, and failure to yield.
All of this is true. Obviously, people committing traffic violations in heavy traffic at intersections causes auto accidents. But, is there another reason?
How Could We Reduce the Number of Crashes at These Intersections?
Knowing that these intersections are trouble-spots, that people will die, and that people will be injured every year at these locations, couldn’t our government take that information and design safer intersections?
Don’t these road conditions justify an overpass with on and off-ramps that would prevent left-turn accidents and do away with the stop light completely? What would that cost at each of these intersections?
Are a large number of the crashes at these intersections the result of left-hand turns? Why not replace the intersection with a diverging diamond that does away with left-hand turns completely? What would a diverging diamond design cost at each of these intersections?
Is the cost of an overpass or diverging diamond design worth a person’s life? How many people die at these intersections each year? Every ten years? Is the cost that we saved by not re-designing these intersections worth allowing those people to die?
If you were hurt in a car crash at a Myrtle Beach intersection, your Horry County auto accident attorney on the Axelrod team will meet with you, investigate the accident, help you to determine who was at fault, and help you to recover maximum damages whenever possible through a settlement or lawsuit.