- Portions of the Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway are dangerous due to high winds and waves washing out the roadway.
- Bayburt D915 is very challenging to drive on and has no barriers or guard rails.
- When traveling on a dangerous road be sure to carry a spare tire, emergency flashers, first aid supplies, and storm gear if you are driving in winter.
Hitting the open road on your way to a vacation or as a trip itself can be a lot of fun. But while most routes are fairly safe, some roads are much more dangerous than others. Many of the dangerous roads claim dozens or hundreds of lives a year. Others have the ability to claim your life with a single false move.
Take a closer look at the deadliest roads in the world and consider whether you would rather avoid them or enjoy the scenery and thrill.
1. Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway
A lot of Norway, including the Atlantic Ocean Road, gives you a breathtaking scene. While some of this road is perfectly safe to drive along, another part is incredibly dangerous. The deadliest portion of the road spans 5.2 miles or 8 kilometers. It goes from Utheim on Averøy and passes through an archipelago in Møre og Romsdal county on its way to the mainland.
The dangers of this road stem from both its angle and the ocean. The bridge rises nearly 300 meters at an odd angle. During the winter months, the bridge’s curves create a wind tunnel. On top of that, the ocean pummels this stretch of land. If you aren’t lucky and drive along the road in a storm, your life may be at risk. For reference, just during construction in 1983, that portion of the road had at least a dozen storms. So, the risk is far from minor.
2. Bayburt D915 in Turkey
This 66-mile road in Turkey has 29 hairpin bends along its route. None of those bends, nor any portion of the road, has barriers or railings. So, the only thing stopping you from accidentally driving off the edge is your own driving skills.
The road is so dangerous that portions of it close during the winter. It simply isn’t passable at times between treacherous weather and blizzards. Even if you drive carefully, heavy snowfall, avalanches, or landslides may kill you.
Despite being so dangerous, this road is in regular use. Locals use it daily on nearly every mode of transportation.
3. Dalton Highway in Alaska
The Dalton Highway or Dalton Pass spans 414 miles or 666 kilometers from Deadhorse to Elliot Highway. Despite the dangerous nature of the road, it is commonly used by truckers heading to or from Prudhoe Bay Oil Fields.
The dangers on this road are numerous. To start, the fact that it is in Alaska means it is exposed to the state’s potential avalanches and cold heavy winds. The route also has challenging terrain with poor visibility. It is also not fully paved.
Not only is this road dangerous, but a simple accident can easily turn deadly because it is so far from medical facilities or even restaurants or gas stations. You could easily starve to death if you got stranded without supplies. How long is the stretch without any stops or resources? 240 miles.
That’s why any truck traveling this route will likely have survival gear and supplies on hand. Even then, many seasoned ice truckers won’t consider driving along Dalton Highway in the middle of winter.
4. Fairy Meadows Road in Pakistan
One of the deadliest roads in Pakistan is the Fairy Meadows Road. This road spans 16.2 kilometers in the Gilgit-Baltistan region. The entire road of made of gravel not pavement, so you will never get a good grip.
On top of the instability of the gravel, the road has narrow turns and a very high altitude. Like many roads on this list, there aren’t any barriers or guardrails to prevent you from falling to your death.
5. Guoliang Tunnel Road in China
Building a road to reach a village that was previously virtually unreachable seems admirable. But the resulting Guoliang Tunnel Road to the village of Guoliang is also very dangerous. The construction itself was also dangerous, as it took five years and plenty of explosives to create the road.
Part of the danger of this road comes from its construction. No one is sure how structurally sound it is. That is concerning given that it is 600 meters at its tallest point and just 3.5 meters wide. It is also only 5.4 meters high. For some perspective, this means that two cars can barely pass each other. The road spans 0.75 miles or 1.2 kilometers.
On top of the questions about its structural soundness, the area is at risk of natural issues. There are no lights or guardrails. The area is prone to rockfalls and has plenty of trenches. This area is also prone to mudslides, extreme fog, and general slippery conditions.
6. Karakoram Highway in Pakistan and China
This highway connects China and Pakistan with each other. It spans 800 miles, and the biggest risk associated with the road is its landslides. That being said, it is also prone to flooding, heavy snow, and avalanches.
The road started off with a deadly reputation, with 1,000 workers dying during construction. Construction was in 1959, and deaths were from a combination of landslides and deaths. Deaths are still common, with causes ranging from landslides to falling into gorges.
Interestingly, this is still a very popular tourist route despite the risk and deadly nature of the path. Its appeal comes from its natural beauty.
7. Killar to Pangi Road in India
This road spans 70 miles or 113 kilometers through Kishtwar, a mountainous area of northern India. It has hundreds of deaths reported, and experts believe there are similar numbers that have gone unreported. Like many of the deadly roads on this list, there are plenty of factors at play contributing to this road’s danger.
To start, the cliffs are among the steepest of any dangerous roads. There are sharp drops of more than 2,500 meters. There are no barriers or guardrails to stop you from falling. On top of that, the terrain is unstable, and there are plenty of rocky overhangs.
Like the Guoliang Tunnel Road, one concern of this road is its structural integrity, as villagers made it. But even worse, it was built hundreds of years ago and has seen almost no repairs since then.
This road is unpaved and just wide enough for one vehicle at a time. In the winter, mudslides are a concern, as well as poor visibility. As such, the road is technically only open in the summer.
8. North Yungas Road in Bolivia
The North Yungas Road has earned the unofficial title of “most dangerous highway in the world.” This comes from a combination of its height, narrowness, and lack of guardrails. The route spans 50 miles or 80 kilometers, connecting Coroico and La Paz.
This road is part of the Cordillera Oriental Mountain Range. The highest point along the Bolivian road is 4,600 meters off the ground or 15,091 feet. Given the lack of guardrails and the fact that the road is just 3.5 meters across, this is incredibly dangerous.
The nickname of “the most dangerous highway in the world” is not the only unofficial title for the North Yungas Road. It is also called the “Road of Death.” Until about 2006, 200 to 300 people would die on the road every year. 2006, however, saw the addition of guardrails along with paving and extra width in some areas. While it isn’t quite as deadly as it used to be, driving on this road is certainly still dangerous.
9. Siberian Road to Yakutsk in Russia
The cold temperatures and isolation are the primary threats on the Siberian Road to Yakutsk. To give you an idea of how cold this road gets in the winter, this is the only place other than Antarctica where we’ve recorded the coldest temperatures. Or consider the fact that wearing glasses causes the metal to freeze onto your face.
While the ice in the winter months is bad enough, summer isn’t any better. In the summer, the ice becomes mud, waiting to trap you.
But this is the only road going to and from Yakutsk. As such, it is still commonly used. The fact that it is the only road also means you need to keep emergency supplies on hand. If you get stuck, chances are the same thing that trapped you will trap anyone trying to come to help you.
10. Skippers Canyon in New Zealand
Skippers Canyon is a unique road in New Zealand thanks to its numerous sections without pavement and its hills. The road was first constructed as the 19th century came to a close more than 140 years ago. It was made to help people reach the mountains in search of gold, and it was hand-carved by miners.
In addition to being unpaved, the road has sharp bends and is very narrow. This combination means that drivers must be highly skilled to navigate it. To give you an idea of how dangerous it is, most car insurance excludes any accidents that happen on this road. Despite this, it still attracts people who want to admire its amazing views.
Summary of the Top 10 Deadliest Roads
|1||Atlantic Ocean Road||Norway|
|4||Fairy Meadows Road||Pakistan|
|5||Guoliang Tunnel Road||China|
|6||Karakoram Highway in Pakistan||China|
|7||Kilar to Pangi Road||India|
|8||North Yungas Road||Bolivia|
|9||Siberian Road to Yakutsk||Russia|
|10||Skippers Canyon||New Zealand|
If you decide to travel along any of the above roads, take plenty of precautions. Make sure you have emergency supplies and an appropriate vehicle. And check the weather forecast. Better yet, just skip the above roads and travel somewhere else instead.
What is the Scariest Road To Drive on?
If you are looking to enjoy a great, jaw-dropping drive, look no further than The Tail of the Dragon which bends and switches back along the Tennessee and North Carolina border. This thrilling road starts in a small area called Deals Gap and has an astonishing three hundred eighteen curves. All of these gut-wrenching twists and turns happen within only eleven miles! Because the speed limit on The Tail of the Dragon is thirty miles per hour, it generally takes thirty minutes or so to make a full loop of the section of road.
The famous section of US 129 is highly coveted by motorcycle riders, sports car enthusiasts, and anyone who loves a fun drive, perhaps with the top down on their convertible. Just keep both hands on the wheel!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Perszing1982
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