When we talk about roads, we normally associate them with long, repetitive highways. However, not all roads are like that. Some roads require a lot of skill just to pass through them and stay alive. This list is about them: the most dangerous roads in the world. Expect to see a lot of single cliff-top roads, roads without any barriers and the steepest turns you couldn’t even imagine. From the snowy mountains and icy roads of Alaska to the canyons of New Zealand, here are the most dangerous roads in the world!
Skippers Canyon Road, New Zealand
The Skippers Canyon Road in New Zealand is so dangerous that you need a special permit just to drive on it. That’s why there aren’t too many cars on this road but it gets really interesting if you actually come across a car coming from the opposite direction. In these situations, one of the drivers will have to go reverse for up to 3 miles to find a place with enough space for both vehicles.
James Dalton Highway, USA
Stretching from Fairbanks to the North of Alaska, James Dalton is one of the most dangerous roads in the world. The weather conditions on this road are horrible and the strong winds that scatter small rocks all over the place don’t make driving here any easier. Around 300 accidents happen on this road every year, which might not seem like a lot but you should also remember that not too many people attempt driving on it.
Federal Highway 1, Mexico
Winding roads, sheer drops into the sea, and crazy drivers who are always in a rush make this Mexican Highway a real nightmare. The road also has a lot of blind corners which contribute even more to the high number of accidents. The fact that six Mexican states don’t require any tests to get a driver’s license also doesn’t make things any easier.
Los Caracoles Pass, Chile
Los Caracoles Pass between the borders of Argentina and Chile features a lot of steep, dizzying bends combined with blind corners every few hundred meters. To make things even worse, the road has no safety barrier whatsoever and is located at an elevation of 3,176 meters. However, the road is still used by many locals and even tourists buses except for the winters when it’s completely covered in snow.
Death Road, Bolivia
Yungas Road is known worldwide as the most dangerous road in the world. The 40-mile stretch of single track road is filled with steep cliffs on every step and no barriers to protect the drivers from falling off the road. However, the danger surrounding this road turned it into a tourist attraction. Cycling the Yungas road in the world is one of the most popular activities among tourists in Bolivia.
This road wears the nickname Rodovia de Morte, meaning the Highway of Death. It’s by far the most dangerous road in Brazil because it’s poorly maintained and gangs and bandits are stationed along the way. Additionally, the highway has a winding design that looks amazing from above but it’s definitely not easy to drive on it. In fact, the BR-116 has the world’s highest concentration of big rigs on a road.
When looked from above, the Trollstigen Road looks like a child’s scribbles but it’s an actual road. The locals actually call it the Troll Ladder. The road has an abundance of sheer drops and hairpin bends and it’s even more dangerous in the winter when large parts of the road get frozen.
Le Passage du Gois, France
Le Passage du Gois is so dangerous that the authorities open it only for a few hours every day. For the rest of the day, this road is under water. Yes, you read that correctly. The passage connects the island Ille de Noirmoutier with the mainland and it doesn’t have any barriers to protect the drivers because the road is under water most of the time anyway.
Col de la Bonette, France
Located high in the French Alps, this mountain road is one of the most dangerous ones in France. While driving on this road, you’ll witness some of the sharpest and steepest turns in the world. The hundreds of car accidents that happen on this road every year make most people avoid this road and look for an alternative path.
The Pasubio Road, Italy
Pasubio is an ancient road that the Government has tried to shut down on several occasions. The locals, however, refuse to give up on it. This road is famous for some of the most incredible views of the Alps and the 52 hand-carved tunnels you’ll meet along the way. Needless to say, driving here requires a lot of caution and the careless motorbike riders don’t make things any easier. This road is certainly one of the sights you can see only in Italy.
Gotthard Pass, Switzerland
This Alpine Road features some of the most beautiful scenery in the world but it also deserves a place on this list. When you’re driving here, you mustn’t get too impressed with the beautiful view because the Gotthard Pass requires every second of your attention. The Pass is riddled with twists and turns and if you’re not careful you can easily drive off the road.
Transfagarasan Road, Romania
In the Carpathian Mountains in Romania, there’s an epic road that stretches up and down across the mountains. Transfagarasan reaches an altitude of up to 6,000 feet and once you reach here you need to be extremely careful. Not only is the air much more rare on this altitude but the road also drops so suddenly from the hill, it will make you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster. It gets really tricky since you also can’t hit the break because you never know if someone might be coming behind you.
Bakhchysarai Highway, Ukraine
This so-called road is nothing more than 77 km of spectacular hairpin bends and beautiful scenery. At first glance, it doesn’t look as scary as some other roads on this list but wait till you get to the peaks. The sudden drops make driving on this road a one-of-a-kind experience. Add snow and ice during the winter months to the mix, and you’ll get understand why Bakhchysarai is one of the most dangerous roads in the world.
Trans-Siberian Highway, Russia
Driving around Siberia is always a challenge and this list wouldn’t be complete without the Trans-Siberian Highway. Maintaining this long stretch of road is pretty much impossible to maintain and that’s why Russians don’t do it. Parts of the road look like a well-surfaced highway but most of it looks like a dirt track. When heavy rain strikes, only the most rugged 4×4 vehicles can go through this muddy beast. That’s why this road is actually safest in the winter when everything is frozen and there.
Enjoying this article? Then you’ll probably like my guide to planning the perfect Pacific Coast Highway vacation itinerary.
Kolyma Highway, Russia
This highway has the nickname ˜Death Road and for a good reason. All of the people that were building the road who died were buried around the road underneath. But this road didn’t get its nickname solely based on superstition. The Kolyma Highway is especially dangerous to drive on, especially when it’s raining. During heavy rain, the clay covering the road turns into thick mud capable of swallowing every vehicle on the way. The winter is also pretty tough too because you have to care about the freezing temperatures, ice, and decreased visibility.
The road from Jalalabad to Kabul, Afghanistan
The road from Jalalabad to Kabul is oftentimes dubbed as one of the most dangerous roads in the world and that’s not only because it crosses through Taliban territory. It’s because of the combination of narrow, winding passages and reckless Afghani drivers that try to complete impossible maneuvers. No wonder fatal crashes are a daily occurrence here.
Nanga Parbat Pass, Pakistan
The Nanga Parbat Pass in Pakistan carries the nickname Fairy Meadows Road but don’t be fooled by this innocent-sounding nickname. The unstable and narrow mountain passes combined with the treacherous high altitude makes this road a real nightmare. But it doesn’t end there. The Nanga Parbat Pass also features a 7-mile unpaved no-barrier road with hundreds of blind spots looking down from the western anchor of the Himalayas. At least the view from up there is absolutely stunning!
Zoji La, India
Zoji La is a high mountain pass in the Indian Himalayas, rising 3,000 meters above sea level. The roads here are dangerously narrow and either frozen or really muddy, depending on the season. To add on that, vehicles often get stuck between the flocks of sheep and goats that come on the road. When this happens, drivers often have to wait for hours for the road to get clear. Zoji La is closed throughout most of the year because of the difficult driving conditions but when it’s open you can read about vehicles tumbling down from the road.
Khardung La, India
When we talk about the most dangerous roads in the world, we simply can’t forget about Khardung La. This is the tallest motorway pass road in the world going up to 18,700 feet. Another problem that appears on this height is the lack of oxygen and the headaches you start experiencing along the way. That’s why no one dares to drive on this road, except for the most experienced locals.
Karnali Highway, Nepal
If you like to drive off the road, you should definitely check out the Karnali Highway (at your own risk, of course). This 150-mile long Himalayan road in west Nepal can easily compare with the Yungas Road in Bolivia. The Karnali Highway is basically a dirt road without any barriers and close-to-zero visibility. On top of that, the road also has a lot of steep climbs and is filled with potholes. It really doesn’t take a lot to make a mistake here and that’s why even cyclists avoid riding this road.
Guoliang Tunnel Road, China
This road is so remote the villagers had to make it on their own. They had to cut throughout the side of the mountain, creating really tight and unstable tunnels along the way. Cars that pass here must go through these improvised tunnels really slowly and avoid the steep drops and twists on the way. However, these improvised tunnels are the safest place on the road, and the only one that has some kind of barrier that keeps cars from falling down from the mountain. The Chinese name of this road literally translates to The Road that Tolerates no Mistake.
Tianmen Mountain Road, China
The Tianmen Mountain Road is marked by 99 sharp bends and it looks more like a specially designed racing track than a road. However, speeding is the last thing you want to do here. In only 6 miles, this road climbs over 3,000 feet up in the air.
Taroko Gorge Road, Taiwan
The Taroko Gorge Road in Taiwan has a lot of narrow passes, sudden drops, and a lot of blind spots. However, this road is a bit different than the other ones on this list. The heavy seismic activity and typhoons that oftentimes struck the road make Taroko Gorge by far, the deadliest road in Taiwan.
Halsema Highway, Philippines
Even though this road recently was recently reconstructed and got new asphalt it still deserves a place on this list. When driving on this circuitous path in the Cordillera Central mountain range, beware that landslides, mudslides, and falling rocks are common on the Halsema Highway. During the rainy season, it gets even worse because of the wet asphalt and the extremely foggy conditions. Finally, the careless bus drivers that always try to rush through the highway makes everything even worse.
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