11 Most Dangerous Roads in Tacoma

Car accidents happen on Tacoma’s roads every day. But are there some stretches of roads that are more dangerous than others? We decided to dig into the data and see if we could find out the most dangerous roads in Tacoma.

Using WSDOT’s Crash Data Portal, we evaluated serious injury and fatal car crashes in Tacoma between 2017 and 2021. In that five-year time period, there were a total of 496 crashes fitting that criteria. Of that number, 184 (or 37% happened in these trouble areas).

Here is a list of the 11 most dangerous roads in Tacoma.

I5 dangerous Tacoma area

#1: I5 Stretch from Fife to the 38th Street Exit

It should come as little surprise that I5 tops this list. This stretch of the highway typically has a lot going on between ongoing construction and several key exits, including Highway 16 and the Tacoma Dome/City Center. In the five-year period we looked at, there was a total of 36 serious injury or fatality crashes.

collisions take place on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma

#2: Pacific Avenue from E 34th – E 84th Streets

Pacific Avenue is a key road that connects Tacoma to Spanaway. When conducting our research, we noted that Pacific Avenue had two main “clusters” of crashes. The first is the long stretch just outside of downtown and headed towards Parkland. (The second we’ll address later in this post.)

72nd dangerous Tacoma road

#3: 72nd Street from Sheridan – Waller

A main exit point of I5, 72nd is another important stretch of road that can take you out towards Waller and Puyallup. A surprisingly high number of serious accidents happen on 72nd. While it is ranked third overall on our list, it had the most fatality crashes (5) of any other road highlighted on this post.

serious injury and fatality crashes on Portland Avenue East

#4: Portland Avenue from E 29th – 72nd

Portland is another primary exit off I5, running parallel to Pacific Avenue. Unfortunately, it’s also another hub of serious collisions in Tacoma.

South 56th Street in Tacoma

#5: 56th from South Tacoma Way – Waller

There was a total of 15 serious crashes on 56th between 2017 – 2022, making it a dangerous area for Tacoma drivers. This road takes you near the Tacoma Mall area and intersects with two other roads we’ve mentioned already, Pacific and Portland.

car accidents that happen on 38th Street in Tacoma

#6: 38th from South Tacoma Way – Pacific

Most Tacomans are familiar with 38th: it’s the exit you’d take to get to the Tacoma Mall. The road is also home to many businesses, strip malls, and restaurants. In terms of accidents, its numbers are very similar to 56th (#5, above).

Portland Avenue East car accidents

#7: Portland Avenue from E 26th – E 29th

A surprisingly large number of crashes happen in this few-block section of Portland Avenue. Consequently, we wanted to highlight it apart from the larger stretch of Portland Avenue. It’s located right near the I5 on- and off-ramps.

red light crashes happen on Frontage Road in Tacoma

#8: Frontage Road from Port of Tacoma – 54th

Also known as “taking the tide flats” to locals, this stretch of highway tends to attract speedsters. You also have a lot of large trucks in the area as it’s a main access point to the Port of Tacoma. There have been several instances of serious crashes occurring at the intersections along Frontage Road, sometimes by red-light runners.

Marine View Drive in Tacoma, WA

#9: Marine View Drive

If you continue taking Frontage Road towards Northeast Tacoma, it will turn into Marine View Drive. Marine View snakes along the hillside and provides some beautiful views of Tacoma. Unfortunately, it’s also a deceptively dangerous road. There have been 10 serious crashes in the last five years, two of which were fatal.

Downtown Pacific Avenue car accident Tacoma

#10: Pacific Avenue from S 26th – S 34th

In our research, we noticed a high concentration of crashes on this section of Pacific Avenue. It’s located at the outer end of downtown, headed towards I5.

Highway 16 Sprague car crashes Tacoma

#11: Highway 16 from Sprague – 6th Avenue

True, Highway 16 did make our list. However, note that other roads that ranked more dangerous than a 60mph freeway! This highlights why it’s important to drive defensively, whether you’re taking a freeway or city roads.

Have You Been in a Serious Car Accident?

If you’ve been the victim of a serious accident, remember that our Tacoma injury lawyers can always provide you with a free consultation. Even if you’re not sure that a lawyer can help, there’s no obligation to call us and explore your legal options.

Disclaimer: This post is being provided for general informational purposes only. While we’ve taken care in our research methods, our findings have not been verified by the WSDOT or any outside department or agency. Images captured from Google Earth. 

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