These are some of Horry County’s most dangerous intersections

Look both ways!

Especially if you are driving on U.S. Highway 17 and U.S. Highway 501 as the two stretches feature some of Myrtle Beach’s and Horry County’s most dangerous intersections.

The intersection between Highway 501 and S.C. Highway 544 ranked No. 1 in the county with the most wrecks in 2018.

It should come as no surprise that areas that mix tourists heading to the beach and locals create heavy congestion and mark some of the intersections with the most crashes.

South Carolina Highway Patrol Cpl. Sonny Collins said he wasn’t surprised with the intersections on the list because of the amount traffic moving through each.

The biggest reasons for wrecks at the intersections are driving too fast for road conditions, following too closely and failure to yield the right-of-way, Collins said.

Horry County Police Chief Joe Hill added another to the list — distracted driving. There is a bill in the state legislature to ban cell phones while driving, though Hill said someone currently can be cited if they are driving dangerously while using a cell phone. Hill said that those driving can easily spot numerous others using their cell phones while driving.

The majority of the wrecks, the fender-benders, are because of distracted driving, Hill said.

“It’s a positive for us because we can hang paper on someone to change behavior,” Hill said. “We don’t write tickets to generate revenue, we write tickets to change behaviors.”

The following were Horry County’s most dangerous intersections in 2018. The data comes from the S.C. Office of Highway Safety and Justice Program, which collects traffic reports from law enforcement across the state. Horry County also provided the data showing most crashes where a county ambulance responded to the scene.

U.S. Highway 501 and S.C. Highway 544

Mix lumber trucks, beach traffic and area residents in a congested area and you have the recipe for the most dangerous intersection in Horry County last year. The intersection near Coastal Carolina University features more than a dozen lanes of traffic converging on a single point. It had 65 wrecks in 2018.

U.S. Highway 17 and S.C. Highway 544

It’s an area of dense shopping and housing developments and one of the main thoroughfares near Surfside Beach. It’s also the second-most dangerous in Horry County with 63 wrecks last year.

U.S. Highway 501 and Gardner Lacy Road

Who doesn’t enjoy slow-moving traffic in and out of the Grand Strand on Highway 501? A wreck at this intersection might be one of the reasons why. The road is about halfway between S.C. Highway 31 and Conway and places third on the most dangerous list with 54 crashes.

It also ranked high on a list of intersections with the most wrecks where a Horry County Fire and Rescue ambulance was called with 21.

U.S. Highway 501 and Carolina Forest Boulevard

Notice a trend yet?

Intersections along Highway 501 take three of the top four spots on the most dangerous list. Just south of Gardner Lacy Road is the intersection with Carolina Forest Boulevard that had 53 crashes in 2018. This intersection features multiple left turn lanes and heavy traffic flow.

S.C. Highway 9 and S.C. Highway 57

This is another intersection with multiple turn lanes, thru-traffic and plenty of wrecks. This crossing had 49 collisions in 2018. It’s also the only intersection on the list that is not part of the Horry County “core” as it is near Little River. Of the nearly 50 wrecks, an Horry County Fire ambulance responded to the scene 14 times.

U.S. Highway 17 and Mr. Joe White Avenue

One road is the main route around Myrtle Beach, the other leads straight through the city’s center. Given that much traffic, it should be no surprise it ranked on the list with 47 wrecks in 2018.

U.S. Highway 17 and Glenns Bay Road

The long-lasting construction project likely didn’t help with the collision numbers at this intersection in 2018 — 46 wrecks. While getting a facelift, it had lane shifts, barriers and bumpy roads.

The good news is that the project is winding down and an elevated roadway takes drivers on U.S. Highway 17 over the top of the intersection.

U.S. Highway 501 and Robert Grissom Parkway

This is also an intersection where eight lanes converge and nobody seems to know who has the right-of-way when making a left turn. That leaves multiple cars trying to make a left turn against a red light or panicked motorists stuck in the middle of the intersection.

In 2018, there were 44 wrecks at the crossing. This intersection also had the most wrecks in which an ambulance was called with 31.

U.S. Highway 17 and 29th Avenue North

It’s near one of the area’s most popular attractions in Broadway at the Beach, so when you consider the traffic load — and a tourist or two — it makes sense it’s on the list. There were 44 crashes at the intersection in 2018.

U.S. Highway 501 and Seaboard Street

This intersection leads to some of the most popular chain-store shopping in Myrtle Beach with the likes of Walmart, Home Depot and Best Buy, and with it comes a great deal of traffic. It is also a road that leads from U.S. Highway 501 to the Coastal Grand Mall, which also adds a few more cars to the stretch.

There were 43 crashes at this intersection in 2018.

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Alex Lang is the True Crime reporter for The Sun News covering the legal system and how crime impacts local residents. He says letting residents know if they are safe is a vital role of a newspaper. Alex has covered crime in Detroit, Iowa, New York City, West Virginia and now Horry County.