15 of The Most Dangerous Roads In The World
Ever been on a road that you thought could do with a bit more maintenance or had some sharp bend you weren't too comfortable with? Well, that was probably nothing compared to some of the roads out there were death and destruction are a regular occurrence.
Sometimes these roads are just not well kept, and other times it is because they have to go through perilous locations, but here we look at some of the world's most dangerous roads.
1. Shafer Canyon Road, Utah
Shafer Trail Road-Shafer Canyon Road is an expansive and breathtaking dirt track located in Moab, a city in Grand County, in eastern Utah. At 18 miles long, drivers have to be on full alert- especially in unfavorable weather conditions and at night.
Indeed, this road isn't for novices. Not only is it dangerous, it's also in dreadful condition and requires balls of steel to negotiate it without making a mistake. Of course, its fearsome reputation shouldn't put you off completely, and if death-defying roads are your thing, then go for it; Just don't say you haven't been warned.
UP NEXT Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana
2. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana
Going-to-the-Sun Road passes through the awe-inspiring wonders of the Glacier National Park, making it one of the most scenic roads in America. What's more, it is the only road of its kind to cross the Glacier National Park in Montana, USA. But don't be fooled: this road is as perilous as it is beautiful.
While the summer months are usually safe for drivers, the winter can see dangerous amounts of snow cover the roads, and this makes it one of the hardest roads in North America to snowplow and indeed, navigate. Most worryingly of all, the road is bendy and lacks protection, with one side bordered by cliffs while the other is unprotected by guardrails, with a drop of hundreds of meters awaiting any driver who makes a mistake.
3. James Dalton Highway, Alaska, USA
Seemingly serene, the Dalton Highway is a 667 km road in Alaska that runs through the icy wilderness in freezing cold temperatures that take their toll on the road surface. Filled with potholes, wildlife crossing without warning and prone to small flying rocks carried by fast winds smashing into your car accidents can and do happen.
The problem is then, there is no one around to help you if you do come off the road.
4. Fairy Meadows Road, Pakistan
Considered by many as the most dangerous road in the world, Fairy Meadows Road is perched on a high mountain track with a length of 16,2km in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. Famed for its nail-biting photos of vehicles passing each other just inches from the unprotected cliffs, many drivers have lost their lives on this road, which has little in the way of modern infrastructure and protection.
The gravel terrain also doesn't do drivers any favors, and the last leg of the journey is so narrow it requires drivers to leave their cars and make the rest of the journey by bike or foot.
5. Bayburt Of Yolu-D915, Turkey
Without question, D915 is one of the most challenging roads in existence. Located in the Trabzon province of Turkey, the road is characterized by its lack of guardrails and 100m+ drops. For vertigo sufferers, this road should be avoided at all costs.
In fact, only the most daring should put themselves through the near-death experience this road no doubt spawns. Just one mistake and you'll fall hundreds of meters to your death. That alone should be enough of a warning to never, ever, in a million years, drive down this road.
6. Tianmen Mountain Road, China
Just 6 miles in length this short but sweet road packs in a lot as it rises a breathtaking 1,100 meters to the Tianmen cave, a natural rock arch that towers above the world and is often referred to as the gate to heaven. However, with 99 hairpin bends in it, they make it one of the most dangerous roads in the world.
Not for the faint of heart or the casual driver.
7. Chapman's Peak Drive - South Africa
A five-and-a-half mile route skirting the side of its mountain namesake, this road takes in the glory of Chapman's peak as well as the Southern coastline of the country with its 114 curves and various plunging drops. Nail -biting, hair-raising but incredibly breathtaking, this route has stop-off points that overlook the ocean where you can break and do some whale watching.
It's a ride that will have you on the seat of your pants at all times but it is well worth it just for the things you'll see.
8. Quepos Bridge, Costa Rica
A rickety, single-track bridge with loose wooden slats that clank ominously as your roll over them. Hardly the most reassuring drive and it barely looks stable enough to hold a pedestrian's weight let alone a car but apparently, delivery trucks use the bridge regularly to save time when crossing from Jaco to Quepos on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast.
Crocodiles sunning themselves on the mud banks below are also visible from the bridge.
9. Karakoram Highway, China/Pakistan
Being well over 4000km in altitude, this is the highest road in the world and driving at such height has to be undertaken with great care and preparation. If you are able to do it you will be provided with delectable views of mountains and glaciers as you ride above the rest of the world on part of the world-famous Silk Road trade route.
Constructed over the course of 20 years it is 4,700km above sea level at its highest point.
10. Vitim River Bridge, Russia
An old rail bridge the crosses the Vitim river in Siberia, this single track, wooden bridge is more often than not frozen over and is especially perilous in the winter. In fact, crossing the bridge is considered such a high achievement that the 34 people (yes, only 34!) who have done it stay in contact via a Facebook page.
It has no railings either and is only 50 feet above the icy, cold waters running underneath.
11. The Zoji Pass, India
Located on the Indian National Highway 1D between Srinagar and Leh, this mountain pass runs at an elevation of approximately 3,528 meters and keeps the remote region of Ladakh in contact with the rest of the outside world but it is so perilous that it is often closed in winter as snow and rocks tumble from the mountains.
These landslides can crush passers-by, block the roads and cause major damage.
12. Guoliang Tunnel Road, China
The tiny village of Guoliang was separated from the rest of the world by the sheer cliffs that surrounded it and so villagers carved a route along the edge of the mountainside that is unsturdy, narrow and largely unmaintained. The area doesn't receive much traffic but the road is inherently dangerous due to the nature of its creation.
So high up, one slip and it is practically a guaranteed death after a sheer drop.
13. Strada delle 52 gallerie, Italy
A series of winding tunnels set amidst the stunning backdrop of the Italian countryside, Strada delle 52 gallerie dates back to World War I, having been constructed by the Italian military to shield itself away from the nearby Austro-Hungarian artillery fire. However, despite its pinnacles, deep canyons and sheer rock faces, may soldiers died there, hence its nickname, The Sacred Area of Italy. Today, the remarkable road is closed off to cars and has since been converted to a hiking trail, drawing in millions of trekkers and mountain bikers from around the world.
Despite the most dangerous sections being closed off, daring drivers still occasionally flaunt the rules as driving through provides a quicker way to access the guesthouses in the area. The tunnels themselves are incredible feats of engineering, with the longest thought to be 300 meters long.
14. Skippers Canyon, New Zealand
A very narrow cut in a sheer cliff, its exposure to the elements makes it a slippery track, add that to the fact there is no safety barrier and you are in for a jaw-clenching, white-knuckle ride of a drive.
It is so dangerous that you have to get a special permit to drive on the road and god help you if you meet someone coming the other way.
15. North Yungas Road, Bolivia
Known as 'the road of death', it is estimated that between 200 to 300 travelers are killed annually along the road as it is a regular occurrence for buses and trucks to go tumbling to the valley below, especially when they try passing each other.
Crosses and monuments to the dead often mark the spots where they have fallen which only serve as a further distraction to drivers and add more peril as more people insist on going up the mountain to mark the sites of the dead.