Why is Sunrise Highway the Worst Road in Long Island?


Sunrise Highway, also known as Route 27, is a 120-mile-long roadway on Long Island that stretches from New York City (Brooklyn), through the Hamptons up to Montauk Point. It is a heavily traveled road, connecting many communities and unfortunately, known for having a high number of accidents.

Road Volume

Traffic on Sunrise Highway Long Island
Traffic on Sunrise Highway Long Island, near Massapequa

There are several factors that contribute to the high number of accidents on Sunrise Highway. One major factor is simply the volume of traffic. According to the New York State Department of Transportation, the average daily traffic volume on Sunrise Highway in 2019 was approximately 85,000 vehicles per day. This heavy volume of traffic can lead to congestion, aggressive driving, and accidents.

Road Design

Another factor is the layout of the road itself. Sunrise Highway is a divided highway with multiple lanes in each direction, and there are many points where drivers can enter or exit the road. This creates a lot of potential conflict points where vehicles may merge or change lanes, and if drivers are not paying attention, this can lead to accidents.

Additionally, there are many intersections and pedestrian crossings and some people, both in vehicles and those that try to beat the cars while jaywalking are the subsequent results of accidents, injuries and even deaths sometimes.  According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, in 2019 there were 734 accidents involving pedestrians in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, which are both located on Long Island. Many of these accidents occurred on busy roads like Sunrise Highway, where there are many opportunities for pedestrians to cross the street.

Look Where You’re Going!

Distracted driving is also a significant contributor to accidents on Sunrise Highway. In recent years, distracted driving has become an increasingly common cause of accidents across the country, and Sunrise Highway is no exception. Drivers who are texting, talking on the phone, or otherwise distracted are more likely to make mistakes or fail to react in time to avoid an accident.

Moving Violations

Finally, speeding is commonplace on this road. The speed limit on Sunrise Highway is 55 miles per hour, but try telling that to the many drivers who exceed this limit. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding was a factor in approximately 26% of fatal crashes in 2019. 

What Can Be Done

Arial view of Sunrise Highway
Photo: Wikimedia CC Antony-22

To address these issues on Sunrise Highway, there are several steps that can be taken. First, law enforcement can increase their presence on the road to deter speeding and aggressive driving. They can also crack down on distracted driving by enforcing laws against texting and driving and other forms of distraction

Second, road design changes can be made to reduce the number of conflict points on the road. This can include adding more median barriers to prevent head-on collisions, reconfiguring intersections to make them safer for pedestrians, and improving lighting and visibility to make it easier for drivers to see other vehicles and pedestrians.

Third, public education campaigns can be launched to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and other risky behaviors. These campaigns can target drivers of all ages and emphasize the importance of staying focused on the road, obeying traffic laws, and driving safely.

In Summary

The high number of accidents on Sunrise Highway can be attributed to a combination of factors, including heavy traffic volume, road layout, pedestrian crossings, distracted driving and speeding. Addressing these issues will require a multi-faceted approach that involves law enforcement, road design changes and public education campaigns. 


Scroll to Top