17 Places in the U.S. Where Even Truck Drivers Won’t Stop

Truck drivers tend to be hardy souls—well-seasoned travelers who aren’t often afraid to rest up or refuel in risky locations. However, there are certain U.S. locations that even the most road-weary trucker refuses to stop at for fear of criminal activity or natural dangers. Here are 17 such locations that even experienced truck drivers approach with trepidation (or not at all).

The Dalton Highway, Alaska

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Nicknamed the “Haul Road,” this 414-mile stretch of gravel and ice is one of the most northern roadways in the world. It connects Fairbanks to the Prudhoe Bay oil fields deep in the Alaskan wilderness. Temperatures frequently plummet below zero, while avalanches and blizzards are a constant threat. With no gas stations, food, or shelter for 240 miles, a breakdown here can mean death.

Compton, California

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According to City-data, the 2022 crime rate in Compton was “2.0 times greater than the U.S. average. It was higher than in 96.4% of U.S. cities.” Notorious for gang violence, drug trafficking, robberies, hijacking, and a general atmosphere of lawlessness, Compton is a place where most truckers feel their vehicles and cargo aren’t safe, even when heavily secured.

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota

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At 2.1 million acres, this reservation takes up over 4% of the entire state of South Dakota. Unfortunately, it is plagued by poverty, unemployment, and a debilitating drug problem and has consequently become a hive of criminal activity. Truckers passing through risk encountering roadblocks set up by gangs, with a high potential for violence and cargo theft.

The Badlands National Park, South Dakota

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Don’t let its stark beauty fool you—this landscape of eroded canyons and rocky spires is a harsh and unforgiving environment. Natural threats, like flash floods and extreme temps, exacerbate man-made problems, and the HCN says the crime rate has skyrocketed since the Bakken oil boom. Even locals carry ‘bear spray’ to protect against human threats.

Centralia, Pennsylvania

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This ghost town was abandoned due to a mine fire that began in 1962 and continues to this day. The ground is perpetually hot, and the air is constantly thick with fumes, making for a desolate and depressing scene of environmental disaster. Most drivers avoid the town whenever possible and choose to stop somewhere less hostile, with at least one gas station.

Needle Freeway, California

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Situated near the Arizona border, Dirt Wheels Mag claims that the I-40 highway “is considered one of the most dangerous highways passing from California.” It stretches from Barstow to Needles and is the fourth most dangerous highway in the entire state. Dangers include high winds, sandstorms, drunk drivers, and sandy, rock-laden roadways.

The Apache Trail, Arizona

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This scenic route is carved through the Superstition Mountains, but it’s a precipitous and often perilous roadway known for its narrow, winding roads, steep cliffs, and unpredictable weather. Sudden downpours can turn the road into a treacherous river, while the remote location makes it difficult to call for assistance if needed. Truck drivers stick to safer, major roads instead.

Gary, Indiana

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Gary appears on almost every ‘worst town’ list, and not without good reason. This former steel town has excessively high crime rates and gang activity and a significant number of abandoned buildings. Truck stops here often lack security measures, making truckers easy targets for theft and vandalism, and there are plenty of stories of drivers being robbed or even assaulted.

The Mojave Desert, California

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This vast expanse of arid land is challenging for drivers due to extreme heat, sandstorms, and flash floods. The National Park Service specifically warns drivers to come prepared with extra equipment and an escape strategy, as well as warns of hazards like sharp rocks and sandbanks, which can entrench trucks, tip them over, or destroy tires and undercarriages.

California-Oregon Border

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This entire stretch of highway has become a hotspot for illegal marijuana cultivation and associated criminal activity, particularly in the Klamath Basin region. Truckers are at risk of encountering roadblocks and being robbed at gunpoint and even of being the victims of non-theft-related violence from individuals involved in the illicit drug trade.

Camden, New Jersey

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This city consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous in the U.S., plagued by high crime rates, serious drug problems, and gang violence. Truck stops in and around Camden don’t have sufficient security measures to protect truckers and their cargo from robberies and assaults, and most experienced drivers choose alternative places to rest and refuel nearby.

The Everglades, Florida

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This vast swamp is full of dangers, such as sawgrass, alligators, and hidden ‘soft spots’, which are especially dangerous for heavy trucks laden with goods. Truckers tend to stick to the main highways and rarely venture off them. If they suffer a breakdown or get stuck in the mud, they’re in further danger of biting insects, dangerous wildlife, and excessive humidity.

East St. Louis, Illinois

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Located on the opposite bank of the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri, East St. Louis suffers from extreme poverty, gang violence, and a notoriously high crime rate. Truck stops in the area constantly report theft, vandalism, and violent attacks on drivers. Most truckers plan their routes so as to bypass the town and plan to rest and refuel somewhere safer.

The Alcan Highway, Alaska

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This 1,523-mile road stretches from Dawson Creek, Canada, to Fairbanks, Alaska, and suffers similarly challenging conditions to The Dalton Highway. Many of the mountain passes are steep and treacherous, even in summer. In winter, sub-zero temperatures, blizzards, slippery ice, high snowfall, and limited services make it a route best avoided.

South Side of Chicago, Illinois

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Chicago’s South Side has several neighborhoods known for gang violence, drug trafficking, and high crime rates. Truck drivers who stop here frequently find themselves the direct victims of theft and violent crimes like assault. They also run the risk of being accidentally caught up in gun-related crimes and gang activity just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Oakland, California

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The Oaklandside reports that, for four consecutive years (2019-23), over 30 people were killed on Oakland roads, with 33 dying in 2023 alone. This makes it one of the most dangerous cities for traffic collisions. This statistic alone can be off-putting for truckers, but the high crime rates and perpetual gang activity in the area also present added danger and risk.

The Pine Barrens, New Jersey

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This vast, densely forested region has been historically shrouded in mystery and legend for generations, but that alone isn’t enough to deter seasoned truck drivers. Due to its remote location and tricky terrain, law enforcement struggles to maintain order, and criminal activity is potentially high, with hijackers and thieves having plenty of places to hide and attack from.

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