As drivers, we often encounter unsafe road conditions at one time or another, whether it is inclement weather, t-bone collisions, or just a road that is not structurally sound. But for the most part, many of our day-to-day driving is done in relatively safe conditions. That is not the case for many of those who live in remote areas without proper infrastructure.
The following is a list of ten of the most dangerous roads in the world. These roads have high death rates and are extremely dangerous. The people who live around these areas depend on these roads for their daily transportation; so consider yourself lucky.
Without further ado, I present to you the list of ten of the world’s most dangerous roads:
1. North Yungas Road in Bolivia
Also known as “the Death Road,” the North Yungas Road is located in the Yungas region in Bolivia. It is about 40 miles long and stretches from La Paz to Corico. According to the Inter-American Development Bank, this is the “world’s most dangerous road.” There has been an estimation of 200 to 300 people that have died driving on this road.
This road is amongst the few that connect northern Bolivia to the Amazon rainforest region. The road consists of a single lane that is no more than 10 feet with no guard rails. There are extreme drop-offs that make the drive very dangerous, especially having no railings to stop you from falling. The weather contributes to making the drive very dangerous. Fog, dust and rain can reduce visibility. In 2006, construction was done to this road; bridges, drainage, rails, and multiple lanes with pavement have been put in to make it safer for drivers to travel.
2. Guoliang Tunnel Road in China
This road is located in the Taihang Mountains inside the Hunan Province of China. The small village of Guoliang sits on the mountaintop, far away from modern civilization. In the past the only way to reach this village was by walking through the valley surrounded by many steep cliffs. However, the Chinese government decided to invest money into making a drivable road into the region.
This mountain road was built by local villagers in 1972 and took 5 years to finish. On May 1, 1977 the tunnel was opened to traffic. This long tunnel is almost a mile long, 16 feet tall, and 13 feet wide. This tunnel has become a popular tourist attraction in China as it has many windows looking out over the valley. However, Guoliang tunnel is especially dangerous to drive on during the rainy seasons.
3. Halsema Highway in Philippines
This highway is the highest highway in the Philippines in terms of altitude. The Halsema Highway is 150 miles long and connects the Baguio and Benguet provinces to Northern Luzon. Landslides, mud slides, and falling rocks are common along this road. Bus drivers travel at high speeds on these narrow roads, making it very dangerous for smaller vehicles.
A majority of the roads are unpaved with many steep drop offs, some more than 1,000 feet. The lack of safety rails to protect drivers at high altitudes is one of the big reasons this highway is considered one of the most dangerous highways in the world. During the rainy seasons, it is almost impossible to drive along this highway because of the frequency of landslides.
4. Taroko Gorge Road in Taiwan
The word Taroko means “magnificent and splendid” in the Truku tribe’s language. This mountainous road is narrow with many winding turns. This road begins in Dongshi District in the city Taichung and connects up with the Suao-Hualien Highway, on the eastern coast of the country along the Pacific Ocean. This road is closed when there are earthquakes and typhoons because it is nearly impossible to drive along the road during these conditions.
5. Siberian Road to Yakutsk in Russia
This road is especially dangerous during winter months, which in Siberia and Yakutsk, is about ten months long. Winter conditions make the road very dangerous to drive on, with heavy snow, ice, and little visibility. But it is the only road to Yakutsk City, Russia.
Yakutsk has the coldest temperature ever recorded outside of Antarctica and January temperatures average -45 degrees Fahrenheit. It gets so cold that the road is sometimes frozen solid. So if you want to go into Yukatsk, you only have about two months out of the year to do so.
6. Trollstigen in Norway
Translated to “Troll’s Footpath” in English, this mountain road is located in Rauma, Norway. This road has sharp turns, steep inclines, and narrow roads. It is so dangerous that the government prohibits vehicles over 39 feet long to travel on this road. Nonetheless, this is a popular road during the busy tourist season; about 2,500 vehicles pass daily during the busy tourist months. However, this road is closed during winter and spring because of heavy snow. This mountainous road took 8 years to build and opened in 1936 by King Haakon VII. Trollstigen connects Andalsnes in Rauma and Valldal in Norhdal.
7. Sichuan-Tibet Highway in China
This road is between Chengdu and Tibet and is about 1,500 miles long – that’s more than the distance from Seattle, Washington to San Diego, California. This highway was built in April 1950 and was open to the public on December 25, 1954. Because of the distance traveled and the altitude changes, you will enjoy the beautiful changing scenery, from the warm spring to the cold and snowy winter.
But while the view may be breathtaking, many deaths are caused by car accidents due to landslides and rock avalanches. This highway extends across 14 high mountains and dozens of famous rivers such as Dadu River, Lantsang River and Jinsha River.
8. Stelvio Pass in Italy
This road is located in the Italian Alps. The road forms a zig zag path with 48 sharp turns. This road is approximately 9,045 feet high, making it the second highest paved pass in the Alps. The Stelvio Pass was built from 1820 to 1825. Above the pass is the “Three Languages Peak.” It is called this because it is where German, Italian and Romansh languages meet.
9. Zoji Pass in India
This dangerous road is located in India and is considered one of the most important mountain passes in the country as it provides a vital route to this remote and mountainous location. This road connects the Leh district in the west part of the Himalayas and Srinagar on the Indian National Highway.
The road on this pass is very narrow and dangerous. The weather also can affect how dangerous this road can be, sometimes experiencing heavy snowfall and violent winds. In addition, there have been over 60 landslides on this pass. The distance of this pass is approximately 5.6 miles and is positioned at a height of 11,575 feet. It is the highest pass in India, bar none. And that is one of the primary reasons Zoji Pass is considered one of the riskiest passes among the Himalayan Mountain Range.
10. Fairy Meadows Road in Pakistan
This road is at the base of Pakistan’s Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world at 26,660 feet. This is a marvelous destination for photographers and hikers who love scenic view of natures. However, getting to Fair Meadows is a big obstacle that prevents many from enjoying the view.
The most dangerous part of the road up to Fairy Meadow involves a narrow 6-mile ascend on an unpaved and uneven road. There are no barriers to prevent a vehicle from falling off the cliff and into the gorge. So going on this road is definitely not for the faint of heart. If you plan on going up, drive very slow and do not go up with anything bigger than a jeep; the road isn’t big enough.