Driving is a skill. These should be no doubt about this fact. However, it takes more than just skill to negotiate some of the most dangerous roads in the world. You need loads of luck as well.
What makes a road dangerous to drive on? It depends on various factors, natural as well as man-made. The natural factors include the difficult terrain such as mountains, cliffs, and valleys. The man-made factors are bad maintenance, reckless driving, and theft.
Every country has its share of good and bad roads. However, certain roads transgress all limits and enter the domain of the dangerous. We shall look at the top 10 most dangerous roads in the world. It can be quite a nightmare to drive on them. The trip should start and end with a prayer and thanksgiving respectively.
10. Jalalabad Kabul Road – Afghanistan
At No. 10 we have the road that connects Jalalabad with Kabul in Afghanistan. Now, Afghanistan is a mountainous country. Hence, you can find deep cliffs and treacherous mountain roads. There can be frequent landslides making it that much more difficult to travel. In addition, you have this 65-km long road passing through the heart of Taliban territory. You have to contend with the reckless driving of the Afghanistan drivers as well. All these factors make this road very dangerous.
09. Stelvio Pass – Italy
The Stelvio Pass in Italy occupies the No. 9 spot in this list. Located at a height of around 9045 feet above sea level, this road is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps. The most difficult part of traversing this road is the high number of hairpin bends. You have about 60 of them. The road literally climbs two kilometers with a low concrete barrier separating the road from the deep valleys. Now, this is a very steep gradient. A well-maintained road, you still need a lot of skill to drive down this pass. A little bit of extra speed can send you plummeting down the Alps.
08. Atlantic Ocean Road – Norway
The Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway comes at No. 8 in the list. This is a four lane highway that is around five miles long that links several islands. You have to contend with the Atlantic Ocean on both your sides. One stretch in the middle is extremely scary because you have to contend with winds at high speeds. You have the waves battering the road at times during turbulent weather conditions. This is a very scenic road. However, the person driving the vehicle rarely enjoys the scenery as he has to concentrate on negotiating the tough conditions. One wrong move and you could end up in a watery grave.
07. Skippers Canyon Road – New Zealand
New Zealand is a beautiful country with some of the best landscapes in the world. It is unimaginable that there could be an unpaved narrow road in this country. The Skippers Canyon road is one such road. Seventeen miles long, this narrow road has been carved out of a cliff face. You have to contend with frequent landslides. The road is such that only four-wheel drive vehicles use it. God forbid if you encounter a vehicle from the opposite direction. Either of you might just have to reverse several miles before you allow the other vehicle to pass through. This level of difficulty is the reason why this road is at the No. 7 position in this list.
06. Sichuan Tibet Highway – China
At No. 6, we have the Sichuan Highway connecting Chengdu and Tibet. This is a high altitude road frequented by landslides and avalanches. The poor driving conditions make it extremely difficult for drivers to negotiate this road. You have to contend with low visibility. These are the reasons for this road having a high fatality rate. In addition, you can have traffic snarls and jams stretching for miles. There is a danger of theft and kidnappings. These factors make the road very dangerous to drive.
05. The Highway of Death – BR 116 – Brazil
BR 116 is the second longest road in Brazil stretching for over 2800 miles. Most of the stretch is safe but the 300 mile stretch from Sao Paulo to Rio Negro is the most dangerous. This the busiest stretch as well. Poor maintenance coupled with overworked truck drivers are the reasons for a high number of fatal accidents. You have to contend with poor weather conditions, large number of potholes, and sudden twists and turns. In addition, the threat of theft is high. The lack of police patrolling encourages such activities. All these factors combine to make this Highway of Death the 5th most dangerous road in the world.
04. Guoliang Tunnel Road – China
The Guoliang Tunnel Road in China occupies the No. 4 spot on this list. Carved out of the sides of a steep mountain, this road is the only link for the villagers in the area to Guoliang town. This road has some breathtaking tunnels carved out on the mountain face. The traffic is very lean but the narrow stretch makes it one of the most dangerous roads in the world. You have some beautiful sights along the way. However, drivers would not be in a position to enjoy the scenic beauty.
03. Zoji Pass – India
The Himalayan roads in India are always tough to negotiate. The roads are quite narrow. You have to contend with frequent landslides along the way. The magnificent height of the Himalayan Mountains offers some of the best scenery. You require a special driving license to drive on some of these roads. One such road is the Zoji La Pass. This road connects Ladakh with Kashmir. It is at a tremendous height frequented by trucks, army vehicles, and livestock. The Khardung La Pass in the same area is the highest motor-able road in the world. This road is also equally dangerous. These Himalayan roads occupy the No. 3 spot in this list.
02. James Dalton Highway – Alaska
The James Dalton Highway in Alaska is a 414 mile stretch frequented by truckers who transport oil from the Prudhoe Oil Fields. Beginning at Elliott Highway, the road ends at Deadhorse, very near to the Arctic Ocean. You have extremely long stretches of straight road. This is an isolated road that experiences frequent snowfall. You have small rocks and pieces of ice flying towards you at high speeds. There are only three gas stations along the entire stretch of the highway. You need a special permit to drive on this road. It is better to have survival gear with you when you travel on this road. If lucky enough, you can encounter a Polar Bear on the way.
01. North Yungas Road – Bolivia
The most dangerous road in the world is the North Yungas Road in Bolivia. This road has a fatality rate of around 300 deaths in a year. Just 42 miles long, the road passes through some of the most treacherous rain forests. Poor maintenance coupled by the narrow width is the main reason for the high number of deaths due to accidents. In spite of driving left-hand drive vehicles, the rules stipulate you to drive on the left side of the road. This can cause great confusion among people not used to such driving skills. You have landslides and bad climate to contend with. A large number of buses and trucks use this road.
These are the ten most dangerous roads in the world. It is advisable for the drivers to pay more attention to the roads rather than the scenery. A wrong move can provide you with a one-way ticket to Heaven. Therefore, if you not in so much of a hurry to meet the Almighty, you should drive carefully on these roads. However, it should be a great experience anyway.