If you're hitting the road the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a record 1.1 million travelers are predicted to be joining you in Massachusetts, according to AAA. They say they always see a spike in drunken, drowsy, distracted drivers over the holiday weekend and that means an increase in crashes. There are certain dangerous hot spots you should have on your radar.
According to MassDOT, through October 2019, there have been 2,917 crashes over the past five years on Route 24. Twenty of those crashes were fatal, like the one involving Cory Wasilewski.
"I tell him how much his mom misses him, his grandparents, everyone," said Thomas Wasilewski, Cory's father.
Cory died in Avon in February 2017. He was 20 years old. A cross stands in his memory not far from the crash scene.
"It's like a speedway. It's like a NASCAR trap. That's how everyone operates on this highway. If you're not driving 90 miles per hour, you're getting honked at and you're not keeping up with traffic," Wasilewski said.
Further east, another trouble hot spot is on Route 3. Through October, according to MassDOT, there have been 567 crashes. The stretch in Duxbury has seen the most, 122, followed by Plymouth (99) and Braintree (96).
Mary McGuire, Massachusetts spokesperson for AAA-Northeast, blames many of the crashes in the Commonwealth on the congestion on our roads. "That leads to drivers to become frustrated and impatient, and so they will often act out with aggressive driving," she said.
One of the most congested highways, according to Governor Baker's August 2019 Congestion Report, is Interstate 93. State numbers show the most dangerous stretch is the O'Neill Tunnel through Boston.
That area has 200 reported accidents so far this year.
Boston 25 News found other crash hots spots. The 72-mile stretch from Boston to Warren on the Massachusetts Turnpike had more than 1,100 crashes since January 1, 2019.
Five of those accidents were fatal. Newton has seen the most crashes, 173.
According to MassDOT, there have been 12 fatal crashes on I-495 since New Year's Day. The most dangerous stretch of the highway is in Haverhill where there have been 138 crashes so far in 2019.
On Route 128, MassDOT data shows there two worst stretches for crashes are Lexington with 144 and Burlington with 128.
But those numbers are not forever. The state has turned around one notoriously dangerous stretch of road.
"It was a pretty bad rotary back in the day. Lots of accidents used to happen," said Tarek Chehab.
Chehab owns a gas station in Chelmsford, just yards from the former Drum Hill Rotary, where four roads intersect, including Routes 3 and 4.
In 2002 there were 107 crashes, according to MassDOT. It was rebuilt a year later and replaced with a four-intersection square with traffic lights. In 2018 there were 24 crashes, according to the state. That's a 78% decline.
"Still accidents happen but not as bad as they used to be," Chehab said.
That's what Tom Wasilewski hopes to see, fewer crashes. He said that would be the best way to honor his son, Cory.
"He was a great kid, just a candle that blew out way too soon," Wasilewski said.
You can look up crash statistics on roads close to you, by using the links below: