Taking a road trip can be an excellent way to get to know a brand new place or see a beloved spot through fresh eyes. Oklahoma is a state that’s rich with history and beautiful scenery. You can learn about cowboy culture, see an expansive stretch of Route 66, or bask in the tranquility of one of the state or national parks in the area. But if you’re traveling through Tulsa, you’ll want to keep a sharp eye on the roads — and avoid certain intersections at all costs.


You might think that Oklahoma City is more likely to be home to the more dangerous traffic spots, but Tulsa actually has a ton of perilous crossings. Tulsa’s sheer volume of traffic is partially to blame for its high accident rate. There were 1,647 accidents that occurred at the Tulsa’s 25 most dangerous intersections last year alone.


Highways and on-and-off ramps are common locations for crashes. For instance, Highway 169 has been cited for its treacherous junctions, especially those situated between 31st and 91st streets, where more than 50 accidents took place last year. Broken Arrow Expressway also has several dangerous spots — the Memorial, Sheridan Road, and Lewis Avenue exit ramps — where accidents frequently occur. The area where the BAE crosses Memorial saw 121 crashes in 2015 alone.


Although it’s better to avoid these highways altogether, they may be the most efficient way to get to your destination. If you do need to travel on these roadways, be prepared for a substantial amount of traffic. Be aware of cars around you, adhere to speed limits, signal early, and check your blind spots before lane changes. If you can, avoid taking these exit ramps; if you need to utilize them, proceed with caution and stay alert.


But street hazards are not limited to highways. Of Tulsa’s top 25 most dangerous intersections, the five most perilous are located on 71st Street. Although it’s not considered to be a highway, it’s still one of Tulsa’s busiest and most congested roadways. Don’t be fooled by its innocuous name; if you’re traveling down 71st Street, you need to be especially careful.


And of all the intersections on 71st Street, there’s one that stands out as the worst: 71st and Mingo. Police handled 94 different accidents at this intersection last year, and it’s gotten so bad that Tulsa now considers it to be a top priority in an upcoming city-wide road project.


The real problem is that while the surrounded area has been well-developed, the roadway itself has not followed suit. There are several commercial and residential offerings located in the general vicinity, including a popular mall, a large hospital, and a local high school, as well as other businesses and apartment complexes.


While it’s a great destination in theory, it’s a real problem in practice. As a result of having numerous attractions in one place, traffic on Mingo — a two-lane road — is usually bumper-to-bumper even during non-peak hours. Drivers often wait 20 minutes just to turn into their neighborhood or to get to a business on an errand. Some drivers simply stop in the middle of an intersection during a red light. Others dart out into oncoming traffic just to get where they need to go.


Due to the congestion and frustration, a substantial accident occurs there every day or two. While there are plans to widen the road to alleviate traffic, those changes won’t be made for some time.


Until then, try to stay clear of 71st Street — especially where it crosses Mingo — if at all possible. In planning your road trip ahead of time, take an alternate route to your destination. Even if you think it might be less direct, it may actually end up taking less time to bypass 71st. If nothing else, steering clear of this intersection will have a positive effect on your stress levels. If you do find yourself in the area, expect a wait. And while you may not think a risky driving decision can have serious consequences, in dangerous intersections like these, a snap judgment could have a big impact on your life.


Intersections are notorious spots for crashes. Most of the accidents that occur in intersections involve left-hand turns. If you’re making a left-hand turn, be sure to watch for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and other drivers. Use extreme caution if you attempt to go around a car making a left-hand turn; you may not be visible to oncoming traffic. Always use your directional signal when making a turn, and always follow traffic and speed laws when going through an intersection.


On the whole, a road trip should be a time for fun and relaxation. But if you feel you’re in an unsafe area, use your best judgment and try to stay calm. Exercise caution, pay attention, and refrain from distractions like texting. Plan ahead for your trip and make sure you feel comfortable behind the wheel.


If you’re able to bypass these intersections whenever possible and follow the rules of the road, you’ll be bound to be much safer on your Oklahoma road trip. And that’s enough for anyone to want to shout “Yippi-i!” Oklahoma, you’re OK.

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