Bloody 31: One of the Deadliest Highways is Located in East Texas
I grew up in East Texas, so I've heard pretty much all of the stories and legends that prevail there. Some, like bigfoot making his winter home in the woods just outside of Longview or that the hamburger was invented in Athens, are dubious at best. Others are 100% true, like the deadly legend of "Bloody 31."
"Bloody 31," Doesn't Refer to All of Highway 31, Just One Particular Stretch
"Bloody 31," is the nickname given to the stretch of Highway 31 that runs between Kilgore and Tyler. Unfortunately, that nickname is deadly accurate. Back when Tyler was totally dry, residents had to head for the county line to purchase their hooch.
Booze is One of the Main Contributors to the Accidents on "Bloody 31"
One of the closest places to do it was where Rusk and Smith county meet. In that spot, several bars, strip clubs, and liquor stores appeared out of thin air to meet the need of thirsty Tylerites. Lots and lots of traffic fatalities have resulted from impaired driving, but that's not the only danger this road presents.
Drunk Driving Isn't the Only Deadly Threat on "Bloody 31"
Because 31 is a relatively straight road that goes on for miles outside of town, it is also a favorite for street racers and speed demons looking to push their vehicles to the limit. What 31 lacks in curves it makes up for hills. Most notably is the hill on which the county line lays on top of. Once a reckless driver tops that hill at top speed, they have zero time to react to a stopped or turning car. This has resulted in many fatal accidents.
Year After Year, "Bloody 31" is One of the Deadliest Roads in Texas
According to the report from CBS19, there have been 8 fatal crashes on this stretch of 31 so far this year. The Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) records show that the rate of traffic fatalities on this highway in the past 10 years is more than six times that of the entire Lone Star State!