Going on a road trip gives anyone an experience that can be treasured for a lifetime. There are many places to visit, unchartered territories to explore, and picturesque sceneries to marvel upon. However, going to certain destinations does not come easy. Sometimes, one needs to have amazing driving skills and courage in order to reach some destinations. Why? Because at times, going to these places will require driving on some of the most dangerous roads in the world. Danger can present itself in the form of the difficulty of driving on a specific road (maybe because it is near a cliff and is filled with twists and turns). Many lives have been taken on some specific roads. Whatever the reason may be, the destination may be so worth it that many people brave driving on these dangerous highways.
On some cases, there is just no other road that can be taken to go from one place to another but these roads. Hence, travelers are left without a choice. Here are some of the most dangerous highways in the world. Brace yourself and make sure your seatbelt is tight because you are in for a rough ride.
15. Trans-Siberian Highway
Spanning about 7,000 miles from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok, the Trans-Siberian Highway is a network of federal highways covering Russia from the Baltic Sea of the Atlantic Ocean to the Japan Sea of the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the most dangerous highways in the whole world because driving on it presents the toughest environments and terrain to the driver. The super long highway has areas paved with bad roads. If the weather is excellent (meaning a little cold), passing can be easier. However, during warm, wet summers, parts of the Trans-Siberian Highway turn into an impassable quagmire. The highway crosses everything from forests to tundra to vast stretches of narcotizing nothingness.
14. Stelvio Pass
The Stelvio Pass is a mountain pass located in northern Italy. It is one of the most dangerous highways because of its elevation and road condition. The pass is at 9,045 feet above sea level. Apparently, it is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps. Although dangerous, Stelvio Pass offers a dramatic scenery to anyone driving on it. Due to its elevation, it has a stunning view that anyone can enjoy. If the elevation and sudden turns on the pass are not yet challenging enough for you, Stelvio Pass can get very busy especially during peak months. Hence, if you want to get the most out of your drive here, you should start driving on it early or you can be stuck in tourist traffic.
13. Pan American Highway
The Pan American Highway is considered as the longest “motorable” highway in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. However, it is not entirely motorable because of the 100-mile Darien Gap between Central and South America. When traveling at this point, you need to take one of the ferries that go from Panama to Colombia or Ecuador, from where they can reconnect with the Pan-American Highway.
In full, it is a network of highways stretching from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina. This covers a distance of approximately 30,000 miles. When driving on it, the road lets you move through all the major climate zones and many varied landscapes including arctic tundra, boreal forest, mountains, prairies, arid deserts, and tropical jungles.
12. A44 road
In an annual report by the Road Safety Foundation, they found that A44 road between Llangurig and Aberystwyth is the most dangerous route in Wales. Although it is just a 39-km stretch of road, they found it to be the highest risk road. On their record, they saw 27 fatal or serious crashes on this road with 40% of those being “run off” incidents, involving a single vehicle leaving the carriageway. 19% were head-on crashes. Due to this, authorities are planning measures to reduce accidents to show what can be achieved.
11. Sichuan-Tibet Highway
The Sichuan-Tibet Highway is a high-elevation road spanning from Chengdu of Sichuan on the east and ends at Lhasa in Tibet on the west. The long highway is approximately 2,142 km long. Although a dangerous highway, it is a typical truck route for this heading to the roof of the world. Dangers come with its bad driving surfaces and sharp mountain-side hairpins.
With its high elevation, driving on the Sichuan-Tibet Highway takes you through vast, open landscapes with majestic peaks vaulting skyward. Driving here provides an amazing view of changing scenery ranging from warm spring to cold and snowing winter. Some describe this change as “days in heaven, but years on the earth.” To cover the whole distance of the highway, it might take you 15 days.
The Patiopoulo-Perdikaki highway is another high-elevation road that is part of the most dangerous highways in the world list. The highway covers 23.5 km of mountain road in the northeastern part of Aetolia-Acarnania, Greece. It comes with steep climb and descent. Over the entire highway, the elevation changes to up to 500 m. The Patiopoulo-Perdikaki highway has many instant hairpins so driving on it should be done very carefully. Moreover, the road is also incredibly narrow and has a sheer drop on the edges with no rail to protect vehicles from plummeting off the edge. Driving on it during the day is already difficult while driving night is extra tough. The highway is prone to heavy mist and fog, which can be dangerous during these low visibility conditions.
The A726 highway in Scotland is named as one of the deadliest roads in the world. Due to this, there have been many calls for stricter speed restrictions on this highway. The A726 highway is ranked as one one of the worst roads by an events firm. The highway begins in Strathaven and passes through East Kilbride, the south side of Glasgow and Paisley before finishing at the Erskine Bridge. The danger on this highway is comparable to roads plagued by gun-toting bandits in Mexico and deadly drop, single track roads on clifftops in Pakistan. Aside from further limiting speed, locals want to introduce a vehicle-activated sign, improve signing and lining, put chevrons on sharp bends, and use anti-skid surfacing on this highway.
8. U.S. Route 431
U.S. Route 431 is commonly referred to as Alabama’s “Highway to Hell”. It is a 353-mile road running from the Alabama-Tennessee line down to Dothan, Alabama. On WHO’s “fear factor” scale, U.S. Route 431 was given a rating of 4 out of 10. The highway is literally littered with crosses in memory of all the lives lost on this deadly section of road. The highway was found hazardous due to poor visibility, sudden 2-4 lane changes, and speeding, all of which contribute to poor decision making and ultimately road fatalities.
Luxor-al-Hurghada is the deadly road that connects the old city of Luxor and Hurghada, the regional hub for several scuba diving resorts on the Red Sea. The highway is known as a death trap due to many head-on collisions happening on it. There are also many fatal accidents here caused by drivers not turning on their headlights. Most drivers don’t turn on their headlights because bandits and terrorists patrol the roads and shoot at drivers.
6. Way to Fairy Meadows
The Way to Fairy Meadows is dangerous and unpaved road on a high mountain in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. This deadly gravel highway is completely unmaintained and there are no guardrails to protect those who pass through it. The road is narrow that towards the end, you need to cover the ground by biking or walking. Driving here requires skills and a lot of being careful. It takes a huge risk because of the road conditions and there are no barriers to protect you from falling off the cliff. One wrong move and it is a very long drop. The reward if you survive driving on this road is a picturesque view 3,300 meters above sea level.
5. Skippers Canyon
The Skippers Canyon is a dangerous road in New Zealand. Although scenic, this very narrow road is scary to drive on and this makes it tough to maneuver your car. If you encounter a car driving the other way, one of you needs to back up and find a little room to let the other pass. The gravel road runs 16.5 miles. The Skippers Canyon was carved by miners in a span of 140 years. They made a cut in the middle of a sheer cliff face. Apparently, the road is considered so dangerous that insurance companies will not honor claims if you drive on it. This dangerous highway is mostly one-way, narrow and steep with sheer drops of several hundred meters.
4. Halsema Highway
Halsema Highway, located in the Philippines, is one of the most dangerous highways in the world. The road connects Baguio City to the amazing little town of Sagada in Mt. Province. Still, many tourists brave steep crags, narrow and sheer drop offs, some more than 1000 feet to see the beauty of Sagada. Although this highway has improved from before, it is still a deadly road that requires great caution, especially when driving in low light conditions. The hairpin turns on Halsema highway add to the difficulty and danger of driving on this road. Moreover, landslides are a hazard on this highway because big stones and debris can tumble from the peak. Also, the cloud forest creates a mist that can ruin visibility.
3. Taroko Gorge Road
The Taroko Gorge Road is a mountain route in Taiwan made by carving out rocks. Despite its name, the Central Cross, Island Highway is a narrow and winding mountain road. At present, only one bus can pass by at a time. The highway is an engineering masterpiece as it cuts through the mountains and joins the East and West Coast. Due to this, it is very appealing to tourists. It is also a mode of transportation of marble found abundantly in the Gorge. The Taroko Gorge Road is filled with blind curves, sharp turns, and narrow paths leading through cliffs and mountains. It gives a spectacular view for brave drivers.
2. Himalayan Road
The Himalayan Road, located in India and Tibet, is considered as one of the most dangerous and deadliest roads in the world. The road is built right into the face of one of the highest peaks in the world. Due to the sense of adventure that this road brings, many adrenaline junkies try to drive or bike their way through this treacherous road. One of the most popular trails is the road that connects Leh (or Ladakh) to Manali (or Himachal Pradesh) in the Indian part of the mountain range. This part is known among hardcore adventure bikers as “one of the world’s highest motorable roads.” The road is tough, which is why it is not recommended for beginners.
1. North Yungas Road
Known as the “Death Road”, the North Yungas Road has a solid rock on one side and a 2,000-foot abyss on the other side. The 12-foot wide road is regularly named as the world’s most dangerous road. Many parts of the North Yungas Road are unpaved and lack guardrails. Weather is also a problem on this dangerous road. Warm and humid winds from the Amazon can bring heavy rains and fog on this road, making it harder to drive. The road often has many mudslides and tumbling rocks, and small waterfalls occasionally rain down the cliff sides. Due to the harsh road condition, the North Yungas Road takes the lives of 200 to 300 people every year.
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