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21 Most Dangerous Roads in the World Travelers Need to Know21

World travel has been made more accessible to travellers across the globe thanks to public infrastructure such as railways and roads. But just like there are many dangerous cities in the world, there are also dangerous roads that will frighten you.

Any road can quickly turn into a nightmare under unfavourable conditions. But some roads will manage to terrify you even under the best weather. These dangerous roads are common around the world. Their unique and remote geographical locations make them some of the scariest and deadliest roads in the world.

1. Bayburt D915 (Turkey)

Image by Özgür Aslan from Facebook

This 179 km highway in Turkey is one of the most challenging roads in the world. With 29 hairpin bends and no barriers or railings to prevent cars from toppling over the edge, the only thing that will get you across this winding road safely is your driving skills.

The Bayburt D915 is so dangerous that parts of the road are closed in winter due to the elevated chances of avalanches, snow blizzards, and other treacherous weather conditions. However, despite the known dangers of this highway, many locals still drive along Bayburt D915 daily using almost every mode of transport.

2. Dalton Highway (Alaska)

Image by The Earth from Facebook

Spreading across a whopping 666 km, Dalton Highway or Dalton Pass is one of the most dangerous roads in the United States. Regularly used by truck drivers heading to or from the Prudhoe Bay Oil Fields, this icy road is only partially paved and prone to low visibility.

The Dalton Highway presents other dangers like cold strong winds and avalanches. This route is also relatively remote, with only three towns along the 666-km road. So make sure to bring tons of suppliers, as medical facilities, filling stations, and restaurants are far and few in between.

3. Fairy Meadows Road (Pakistan)

fairy-meadows-road-pakistan most dangerous roads in the world
Image by Tourism Pakistan from Facebook

While the Fairy Meadows Road in the Gilgit-Baltistan region may be shorter than most of the roads on this list, the drive is one of the most harrowing. Similar to other dangerous roads in the world, this 16.2-km highway has no guardrails or barriers.

The route is unpaved and unmaintained. To make things worse, the road is only as wide as a Jeep Wrangler and gets so narrow in the end that you’ll have to continue by walking or riding a bike. The road rapidly gains a 2.4-km elevation within a short distance, meaning you’ll have to drive over several steep sections without any grip from the tires.

4. Guoliang Tunnel Road (China)

Image by Amazing Places on Earth from Facebook

The Guoliang Tunnel Road is one of the most uniquely beautiful and dangerous roads in the world. Known as the “road of no mistakes”, this 1.2-km road is one of the shortest scenic drives and one of the most hidden landmarks in China.

Carved into a sheer cliff on one side of the Taihang Mountains, this picturesque road was built by villagers from 1972 to 1977, using plenty of explosives. The tunnel is only 5.4 metres high and 3.5 metres wide, meaning two cars can barely pass through the tunnel at the same time. Other dangers associated with this road include mudslides, rockfalls, extreme fog, and general slippery conditions.

5. Karakoram Highway (Pakistan & China)

Image by Goguide – Travel Guide of Pakistan from Facebook

Connecting India’s Punjabi Province to China’s Xinjiang Region, the Karakoram Highway is the highest paved road in the world, situated at about 4,714 metres above sea level. This brutally long road spans over 1,300 km and is beset with landslides, rock falls, avalanches and flooding.

Other factors like reckless driving and herds of animals crossing the road have also been blamed for causing fatal accidents along this road. There are also no barriers along the edge, and many drivers have complained about experiencing altitude sickness.

6. Killar to Pangi Road (India)

Image by Puneet Sood from Facebook

Spanning over 114 km through India’s Kishtwar Mountains, this dangerous road has had hundreds of deaths reported, and many others have gone unreported. With vertical cliffs dropping more than 2,500 metres and no railing or barriers along the edges, this is among the steepest of all dangerous roads in the world.

The Killar to Pangi Road is rocky throughout and full of overhanging cliffs that could fall anytime. Its structural integrity is highly compromised as the road was built by villagers hundreds of years ago and has had no repairs since. 

The route is unpaved, and only one vehicle can pass at a time. During winter, mudslides are a common occurrence; hence the road only opens in summer.

7. North Yungas Road (Bolivia)

Photo by Florian Delée on Unsplash

Nicknamed the “Road of Death”, this 80-km highway connecting Coroico and La Paz is not for the faint-hearted. This astonishingly winding and narrow road is only about 3.5 meters wide and doesn’t have barriers to keep cars from falling nearly 4,600 meters down to the Amazon valley below.

Fog, rain, and dust clouds reduce visibility along the North Yungas Road to almost 0%, while mudslides are also common. Over the years, about 200 to 300 hundred people would die annually on the North Yungas Road. But thankfully, these numbers have progressively decreased in recent years thanks to the installation of guardrails, paving, and extended width in some areas.

8. Siberian Road to Yakutsk (Russia)

Image by Volunteer Info from Facebook

Running about 1,132 km across Siberia to the Russian city of Yakutsk, this isolated and icy road is one of the most freezing places to drive. This is the only place other than Antarctica where the coldest temperatures were ever recorded in the world. And don’t wear steel or metal glasses, as they will freeze on your face.

If you think driving along the Siberian Road in winter is bad, summer brings another daring challenge. As the snow melts, the road turns to mud, waiting to trap your car. 

This route is regularly used, and plenty of people, unfortunately, fall victim to heavy snow storms, low visibility, and mud each year. Supply stores are also scarce along this road, so make sure to bring plenty of supplies if you choose to add this to your European bucket list. 

9. Skippers Canyon Road (New Zealand)

Image by Adventure Bike Rider from Facebook

Skippers Canyon Road is a 26.5-km unpaved, and unrailed highway built nearly 140 years ago. The road was carved by miners into parts of the mountainside using nothing but a handful of hand drills and gunpowder.

Today Skippers Canyon Road is a popular tourist attraction thanks to its mesmerizing views, but it is still quite dangerous to drive on. So dangerous that vehicle insurance will not pay out any claims taken out on accidents that happen on this road.

10. Zojila Pass (India)

Image by Carreteras Peligrosas from Facebook

Connecting Ladakh and Kashmir, this 9 km Himalayan highway runs through a mountainside nearly 3,528 metres above sea level. This dirt road has no railings or barriers keeping you from tumbling down the rocky cliff.

Due to rain, wind, snow, and regular landslides, the Zojila Pass is usually closed during winter months, closing off Ladakh from the rest of the world. The rocky terrain means only off-road vehicles can drive here. 

11. Atlantic Road (Norway)

Photo by Leonardo Venturoli on Unsplash

Norway is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. And much like the rest of the country, the Atlantic Road boasts stunning scenery. Spanning over 8.3 km, the deadliest portion of this road is when the bridge drastically rises at an odd angle about 300 metres above the ocean. 

But that’s not to say you won’t get splashed by ocean water. On top of the weird angle, during winter or stormy conditions, visibility is rapidly reduced, and the ocean often pummels this stretch of land. On a clear day, rollercoaster-like zig-zags, sharp turns, and curves are some thrills you can look forward to.

12. Sichuan-Tibet Highway (China & Tibet)

Image by wez528 from Pixabay

With the constant threat of rockfalls, avalanches, and mudslides, the Sichuan-Tibet Highway is inarguably one of the most dangerous roads in Asia. This 2,140 km highway has a maximum elevation of 4,700 metres and is laden with numerous switchbacks.

The Sichuan-Tibet Highway claims thousands of driver and pedestrian lives every year, and multiple instances of altitude sickness have been reported. Despite the treacherous terrain, this highway passes through several Buddhist monasteries, small alpine villages, and herds of yaks that keep the tourists coming.  

13. Taroko Gorge Road (Taiwan)

Image by Robert Pastryk from Pixabay

Similar to the Guoliang Tunnel Road in China, the Taroko Gorge Road is carved into and runs through a mountain. This 19-km highway is quite narrow, full of blind turns, and under the constant threat of rockfalls, earthquakes, and landslides.

The Taroko Gorge Road runs along a gorgeous mountainscape with verdant cliffs and rivers running below it. This makes for an incredibly scenic drive meaning the road is often flooded with tour buses, cyclists, and bikers all vying for a spot along the narrow route.

14. 99-Bend Road to Heaven (China)

Image by Legendary Travel and Tours from Facebook

Spanning over 11 km in China’s Tianmen Mountain National Park, the 99-Bend features a staggering 99 hairpin bends and sheer drops of about 1,175 meters. This isn’t a surprise since China also built the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge, one of the scariest and most famous bridges in the world. 

The 99-Bend’s twists, turns, and sheer cliffs with nothing to prevent cars from falling over the edge are some things that make this road dangerous. An even greater concern is the likelihood of earthquakes in this part of the world.

15. Stelvio Pass (Italy)

Photo by jean wimmerlin on Unsplash

Unlike many of the other dangerous roads on this list, the imminent danger the Stelvio Pass presents is being distracted by the stunning alpine views. 

Zig-zagging 48 hairpin bends down 46.8 km of road; the Stelvio Pass is one of the highest paved mountain passes in the Eastern Alps. Once voted the best road to drive on in 2008 by Top Gear, this winding road has cement barriers preventing motorists, bikers, and cyclists from falling over the edge. 

16. Cotahuasi Canyon Road (Southern Peru)

Image by Matt Edwards from Facebook

Running through the rugged landscape of Southern Peru, the Cotahuasi Canyon Road is unpaved beyond the town of Chuquibamba. This 35-km road is narrow, dusty, and only suitable for four-wheel drive vehicles.

The Cotahuasi Canyon Road runs through one of the world’s deepest canyons. For reference, it’s about twice the depth of the Grand Canyon. Thus, making it a relatively unknown tourist attraction lined with several camping spots and scenic overlooks. 

17. Pokhara to Jomsom to Muktinath Road (Nepal)

Image by Moti Lal Das from Facebook

Spanning over a whopping 155 km, this Himalayan highway runs through Kali Gandaki Gorge, one of the deepest in the world. The Pokhara to Jomsom to Muktinath Road sits about 1,340 to 3,800 metres above the Gandaki River, giving you stunning valley views.

Much like other roads built on a rugged mountainscape, the Pokhara to Jomsom to Muktinath Road is prone to mudslides, flooding, potholes, and unexpected rockfalls.

18. Canning Stock Route (Australia)

Image by Australia’s North West from Facebook

The Canning Stock Route is one of Australia’s most-loved cross-country routes. Without much to see in terms of scenery, this barren, isolated, and dusty road comes with its own challenges.

The route spans about 1,850 km through Western Australia. You’ll need about three weeks to complete this road from start to finish and lots of supplies. During hot summer days driving on this road is almost impossible.

19. Col du Chaussy (France)

Image by We Love Cycling from Facebook

Starting at the popular “Les Lacets de Montvernier”, this stunning 13.8-km mountain pass boasts sweeping views of the valley below. Often dotted with cyclists, this dizzying road is one of the least dangerous roads on this list, thanks to its cement barriers along the edge. 

20. Tizi-n-Test (Morocco)

Image by Seven Seas Travel from Facebook

Connecting Marrakech and Taroudant, Tizi-n-Test is a dreary mountain pass high in the Atlas Mountains. This nearly 180 km road lacks barriers along the edge, and local drivers are known to frequently zig-zag along the route at shocking speeds.

Driving at night should never be attempted due to the lack of lights and visibility. Bad weather also exasperates the danger of this road, with landslides and avalanches occurring almost daily in winter.

21. Pan American Highway (Alaska to Chile)

Image by Trip advans from Facebook

Strangely what makes the Pan American Highway (PAH) dangerous is not bad road conditions or even bad weather. The most unsafe thing you could encounter along the PAH is rebels in Panama and drug cartels in some places in Mexico and Central America.

Despite that, this extremely lengthy 48,000-km road is one of the most famous in the world, connecting the North and South American continents. It may be one of the scariest roads in the world.

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