In 2009, North Carolina State Police had a sobering message for NC drivers and commuters: A certain stretch of Interstate 77 could cost you your life.
In just one weekend, five people were killed in a three-car accident on I-77 in Surry County. The North Carolina car accident took place when a man driving a van carrying his family fell asleep at the wheel, crossed the I-77 median, and crashed into two vehicles. The man, his wife, and two of his five children died in the crash, as did a passenger in a pickup truck that was also involved in the fatal car wreck.
The dangerous stretch of I-77 occurs in Surry County, just after the busy Interstate straightens out and flattens out after winding through the nearby mountains. Even though the road seems safer than traversing a mountain pass, police believe that the straight, boring stretch of road makes driver distractions and driver fatigue extremely common, resulting in car accidents.
"You've got a lot of landscape and trees, and you get into a lull and there is not a lot to keep your attention on anything," said Surry County EMS responder Hope Lineberry.
There are many dangerous roads in North Carolina, like the Tail of the Dragon. However, local news reported 38 accidents happened on this small stretch of I-77 in 2008 - a section of road that covers just seven exits between Exit 100 and Exit 93. Authorities urged drivers going long distances to take advantage of the free Interstate rest areas and make sure to take a break every two hours or so to stay alert. Some studies suggest that driving while fatigued is just as dangerous as driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.