I spy with my little eye … an impossible hairpin followed by incoming traffic on the wrong side. Prepare yourself for a less pleasant journey that includes the most dangerous roads in the world. You’ll be a pedestrian once we finish with you!
If you thought that pulling a parallel parking from the first try makes you a pro, check out roads even a rally driver would pass. Oh, and yeah, we do have ramps and slopes that will get you to wonder if the guys designing this death traps are obsessed with roller coasters.
1. Zoji La Pass, India
The road that leads to Zoji La Pass is the last one you’d recommend to a Sunday driver.
At over 3,500 m above sea level, the pass connects two of India’s most remote regions – Ladakh and Kashmir.
Hundreds of people die on each side of Zoji Pass, and the place is literally a lottery. You never know when a mid-summer blizzard catches you with your summer tires or a heavy downpour puts a landslide in your path.
Even if you are lucky to escape the elements, the road might surprise you with other deadly feature. Cutting its way on a cliff face for most of the time, the route is excruciating narrow, which makes admiring the view impossible. Oh, and incoming traffic is your worst nightmare
Going backward for kilometers doesn’t sound fun when you barely mastered the courage to negotiate the tight turns. However, drivers prefer that to missing the abyss by a couple of millimeters of loose gravel.
And just when you thought things couldn’t go worse, you are stuck in rush hour traffic. A herd of goats takes advantage of the local road rules that grant them the priority.
Prepare for the next unbelievable road and the incredible danger attached to it!
2. Passage du Gois, France
Passage du Gois is the nightmare of any driver.
Found on the French coast of the Atlantic Ocean, the 4.2 km Passage du Gois connects the island of Noirmoutier with the mainland, setting up the perfect trap for tourists. Only locals know a dirty little secret – the road is flooded twice each day by the high tide.
Can you imagine experiencing an engine problem midway through the passage? You would have to sit and watch as the level rises until sea foam engulfs your prized vehicle.
Don’t worry! It would not mark the first time someone offered an involuntary tribute to Poseidon. The ocean road is notorious for having a high number of drivers that saw no option but to pull the handbrake and embrace a new life on the seven seas.
Even more frightening is that the road caused a couple of shipwrecks since its opening in 1577, and even an otherwise impossible collision between a car and a boat.
Check out another road that will make you say “Thank you, but I prefer to walk!”
3. Kolyma Highway, Russia
R504 Kolyma Highway has a nickname that will make you want to stay home – the Road of Bones.
Connecting the cities of Yakutsk and Magadan, Kolyma Highway is the eastern portion of a road network that crosses through all Siberia.
It is a bit far-fetched to call it a highway. The only stretch of tarmac on R504 is nothing when compared to the discouraging number of kilometers of hostile terrain that scare even the most hardcore enduro bikers.
Whatever you do, don’t go during the spring! Due to the generous rains, vast rivers reclaim section of the road, turning the rest into a mud Apocalypse.
Hell, you might even come across some bones of the forced laborers that built the Kolyma Highway during Communist times. If that doesn’t scare you, the prospect of crossing unstable bridges and having grizzly bears fooling you to lower the windows should do the trick.
On the next page, the palms of drivers get sweaty once again.
4. Guoliang Tunnel Road, China
Driving the Guoliang Tunnel Road is not a job for the faint of heart.
Not only do you have to drive most of the time on a route cut in the cliff face, but you also have to go through an agonizingly small tunnel. Forget about cutting lanes on a road that barely allows two normal-sized vehicles to pass without scraping each other’s paint off.
Located in the Taihang Mountains of the Henan Province, the treacherous and highly unusual mountain road has a pretty impressive back story. Forget about modern machinery drilling through the mountain in record time!
Built in the 1970s, the Guoliang Tunnel was carved in the purest Chinese fashion. Thirteen villagers sold their livestock to buy tools and began cutting the 1.2 km stretch of rock separating them from the outside world.
At a pace of 1 meter every three days, seeing those chisels to work would have transported you back to Prehistory.
Check out the next dangerous road and why it’s not a good idea to drive on the oceanfront.
5. Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway
Ignore the car manufacturers that shot tens of commercials with their vehicles enjoying the Atlantic Ocean Road.
This particular route is only for those that don’t fear to have salty waves the size of a 3-story house ramming into their cars. Even when the sea is calm, the moist on the tarmac makes the 8.3 km section particularly hard to navigate without your heart stopping for a beat of two.
If the idea of the Atlantic Ocean claiming your car is not demoralizing, maybe the eight terrifying bridges that surge at 8% slopes will do the trick. Norwegians engineers had to give in to the demands of the local Vikings that still wanted to access their beloved fjords after a good old plunder.
Norway recognizing the road as an official “Cultural Heritage Site” doesn’t make it less menacing. Whether it is about reckless drivers distracted by the iconic landscape or petrol heads desiring to recreate the last stunt they saw on “Top Gear,” the Atlantic Ocean Road continues to be one of the most dangerous roads in the world.
Adrenaline junkies will adore the next treacherous road. Make sure to write your will before you go!
6. North Yungas Road, Bolivia
North Yungas Road deserves to be crowned the Death Road.
Connecting Bolivia’s capital La Paz with the mining town of Coroico, this nightmarish path no wider than 3.2 meters makes you wish you had the road all to your own. Falling off the edge is by a comfortable margin the most common accident happening on the North Yungas, one that claims 300 people on a yearly basis.
Venturing on Bolivia’s very own Slaughter Alley became a must for thrill seekers visiting the country. While ascending to 4,650 m on the Altiplano, going through the jungle, and tasting the bustling La Paz all sound like fun, the tradeoffs are not mentioned in any travel guide.
Those who survived the North Yungas road described the hell. If all those hairpin twists and turns don’t make you throw up, then altitude sickness will most likely do the trick.
As for waterfalls cutting your way and fog making the right direction uncertain, closing your eyes will never make them go away.
Check out the next bone chilling road that might keep you parked at home for the rest of your life!
7. James Dalton Highway, Alaska
Many things can go wrong on the James Dalton Highway, Alaska’s deadliest road.
To begin with, this road passes through some isolated settlements (Coldfoot, Deadhorse) that should offer you a sneak peek of the dreaded delights the north can provide. The second warning sign should be the total length of the section – 666 km. Coincidence?
Dalton Highway was never meant for the casual folks wanting to see the real Alaska, the one outside the reach of tour operators. No, sir! The frosty tarmac was laid in 1974 to support the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.
If cold doesn’t get you, then our money goes on fuel shortage or collision with a trucker that fell asleep. The Dalton Highway is almost solely traveled by long haulers for whom the monotony of the arctic landscape serves as an irresistible nap temptation.
The next dangerous road tricked many with its unappealing lack of curves!
8. Eyre Highway, Australia
Australia’s Eyre Highway makes us aware of another aspect when it comes to road safety.
Stranded in the south of the continent, Eyre Highway travels through pretty much a barren desert landscape. What could go wrong on 1,600 kilometers of mostly straight line to grant it a place among the most dangerous roads in the world?
Just a hint – you will not experience a Mad Max road rage.
It is not about kangaroos posing as hitchhikers and hijacking your car either, but rather about the monotony of the ride and lack of visual landmarks. All drivers know that is tedious to drive non-stop for more than 10 hours.
When you have nothing to see, you’d better add a solid 2 hours of sleep from which you might eventually wake up on the wrong side of the road.
More unlucky motorists end up with their wrecked vehicles, hundreds of kilometers from civilization. Doing an aboriginal walkabout suddenly becomes the only mean of transportation available to you.
Shall we change it to Eerie Highway, mate?
Check out the next heart-stopping drive to add on your “nope” list!
9. Jalalabad–Kabul Road, Afghanistan
Contrary to what you expect, Afghanistan still has some roads left after the war.
However, they are not in the best of shapes, and one in particular ranks as extremely dangerous to drive. The national highway linking Jalalabad and Kabul has a 65 km stretch that is not for the inexperienced chauffeurs.
Not only does the route passes through some rough terrain, but it is also under constant threat from Taliban militias controlling the area. When a boulder falls right in front of you, you won’t know if to blame Mother Nature or the terrorist scaling the rock face like a mountain goat.
Reckless driving is the cause of most accidents, but the road itself is not a marvel of engineering. You would find plenty of twists and turns where the narrow path often renders one of your wheels outside the precipice.
Would you drive your car on the next “highway?”
10. Federal Highway 1, Mexic
Mexico’s Federal Highway 1 doesn’t look that promising?
A recent earthquake triggered a land slide that made a section of the artery pretty much useless. Don’t be fooled by those trucks! They will not attempt a daring jump over the missing tarmac and are there to provide the needed filling material.
That is only the beginning of your troubles. Most of the Federal Highway looks even more deplorable and turns into a pathetic dusty road for long stretches.
Nevertheless, the biggest cause of concern is the alarming number of gangs luring and attacking the vehicles passing their turf. Oh, and let’s not forget how the highway that follows the long Baja California Peninsula will one day abruptly end with a wall.
That’s right! Trump had yet to give up on his plan to fence the entire Mexican border.
Firmly grip that handbrake and control your guts! You’d need both for the next dangerous road.
11. Paso Internacional Los Libertadores, Chile
Scenic roads are often the deadliest and the route leading up to the Paso Internacional Los Libertadores falls into that exact category.
Reaching a maximum altitude of 3,207 m the road takes you from Chile to Argentina through a 3 km long tunnel that will seem endless. Drivers that enter it with their cars intact are rewarded with a view on Aconcagua, South America’s highest peak.
The Chilean side hosts a section named Los Caracoles (the snake) that lives up to its name. A total of 20 hairpin turns would make any novice driver completely lose any senses of direction.
The experience is made even more challenging by the many trucks transiting the Paso Internacional Los Libertadores. Just a reminder – don’t even think about surpassing a convoy when a neck-breaking curve waits ahead.
Chilean drivers are particularly brutal with the ones caught on the wrong side of the road!
The next road carnage will make you laugh at the dead man’s curve back home!
12. Highway 80, Iraq
There’s a pretty simple reason why Iraq’s Highway 80 looks like a Carmageddon just took place.
Let’s go back to the wonderful year of 1991 when our old friend Saddam Hussein thought it was a good idea to invade neighboring Kuwait. His foolish act of war attracted the fury of a coalition that needed only a couple of hours to make the most out of the retreating Iraqi military convoy.
Once the attack ended, Highway 80 ended up as the scene you are most likely to see following an Apocalypse. For kilometers, the Highway of Death became decorated with thousands of torched army and civilian (!) vehicles abandoned on the side of the road.
Although all traces of this unprecedented road rage are now gone, the thought that thousands perished on the same tarmac you are now driving is enough to make you put that second hand on the steering wheel.
Check out a sight that would make even atheist drivers say a Hail Mary!
13. Eshima Ohashi Bridge, Japan
The approaching Eshima Ohashi Bridge is scary enough to give even the most experienced driver some negative mental images.
Whether you envision the engine stalling midway through the climb, or a car descending towards you on the wrong side of the road, Japan’s most famous bridge is only for thrill seekers. Stretching 1.7 km with incredible 6% slope gradients, the Eshima Ohashi is the third largest rigid frame bridge in the world.
Who needs roller coasters when you can ride that baby all day long? Japan no longer requires road tolls from its drivers. Instead, it introduced fair tickets.
Check out the next road that replaced milestones with crosses and signals dangerous sections with car wrecks left to rust!
14. Karakoram Highway, Pakistan
The Karakoram Highway connects Pakistan with China, and even the casual knowledge of geography will immediately tell that such a road passes through a hair-raising mountainous region.
Driving the highest road on the planet (4,700 m) doesn’t come without a cost. When you are not passing segments that cut through the rock, hairpin turns remind you there is long and painful way down.
Traveling the Karakoram Highway is a bit more challenging than your daily commute to work. Let’s just say you need to pack nearly as many supplies as for a Himalayan adventure.
The road has a nasty reputation. 810 Pakistani and 82 Chinese workers lost their lives while building it.
As for the number who perished afterward, we will trust you to do the cross counting. Just don’t let that activity distract you from keeping an eye on the road!
The next dangerous road will give you serious trust issues.
15. Glitched Road, Google Earth
Let’s end the list with what some folks believed to be the most dangerous roads in the world.
Fortunately for the sanity of the drivers still venturing in the unknown without a GPS, such roads exist only in the poor renditions of Google Earth. Nevertheless, there is a growing league of engineers who think it would be fun to build such roller coasters of death.
Dropping hundreds of meters out of a sudden and showing no mercy towards brakes and common sense, the impossible bridges we can admire in various Google Earth pics are nightmare material to show to those attending driver school.
Look what happens when truckers don’t conform to the weight limit!