California State Route 17

Driving the hazardous California State Route 17

Located in the U.S. State of California, Highway 17 is one of the most dangerous roads in the country. Along the way, it presents drivers a big number of hazards – sharp turns, blind spots, narrow shoulders, changes in speed, and slick highway surfaces after rains or snows.

How long is California State Route 17?

State route 17 is a scenic road that runs through the Santa Cruz mountains. It links San Jose (the largest city in Northern California) and Santa Cruz (on the northern edge of Monterey Bay). State Route 17 (SR 17), commonly known as Highway 17, winds its way through ScottsValley in the south, all the way to Los Gatos and San Jose in the north. The paved road is 26.49 mi (42.63 km) long. 

Is California State Route 17 dangerous?

The road was built in the 1930’s. The narrow lanes and dangerously tight curves of the route have earned it ominous nicknames like “Killer 17” and “Blood Alley”. It’s particularly dangerous because of the number of sharp curves, blind curves, and sudden changes in speed along the road. As a result, drivers sometimes have difficulty negotiating unexpected sharp turns and careen off the median divider along the road. Numerous accidents have occurred on this route due to sharp turns, blind curves, heavy traffic, and occasional animals wandering around. In the winter months, because SR 17 crosses a high precipitation area in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the roadway can become slippery from rain, snow or ice, especially at the summit. Depending on the time of year, road conditions are made even more hazardous by rain, fog, and snow. As a result, when a car hits the median and spins out of control it often involves other cars resulting in multi-car serious accidents.
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