Top 10 Most Dangerous Roads to be Driving on

Article by Christian A., on November 4, 2015

The major benefits of driving a car is that you get to cruise down the road, enjoy the scenery, and get to where you want to be. Unfortunately, it comes with the risk of being involved in an accident.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.24 million people in the world die annually on the road while 20 to 50 million suffer from non-fatal injuries.

While there are ways to minimize the risk of road accidents like improving one’s driving skills or enhancing the safety features of the car, there are still roads where one may need to have more than that. Here are roads that you should avoid driving in if you can help it.

1. James Dalton Highway, Alaska

The first on the list is in Alaska. James Dalton Highway has a length that measures 667 km which starts on Elliott Highway at the north of Fairbanks and stops at Deadhorse. While the road initially looks to be the start of a peaceful drive, it later gives the appearance of driving in the middle of nowhere. Aggravating the situation are the potholes on the road and the small rocks that fly here and there due to the winds.

2. Stelvio Pass, Italy

Next is in Italy known as the Stelvio Pass that is located 9,045 feet high. While some parts are in fact safe, the pass starts with a two-kilometer climb where the only thing that prevents you from falling down a very steep drop is a concrete barrier. Once you pass that particular hurdle, all you need to do is go through the 60 corners where you need to navigate 180 degrees.

3. Skippers Canyon Road, New Zeeland

Third is in the land of the Hobbits -- New Zealand. Skippers Canyon Road is sure to scare even the most daring of drivers as the road is just cut from the face of a cliff. The road is not just slippery but is dangerous especially when you meet someone coming from the opposite direction. In fact in order for you to even get the chance to drive you would need to get a special permit.

4. Zoji Pass, India

India is next with Zoji La. This mountain pass is an important road as it serves as the link between Kashmir and Ladakh. Located between Leh and Srinagar on India’s National Highway, it has an elevation of about 3,528 meters. The Indian government usually closes the road during winter. However, it continues to be used unless an alternate road is found for Ladakh.

5. Sichuan-Tibet Highway, China

From India we go all the way to China with two roads. The first is the Sichuan-Tibet Highway which connects Chendu with Tibet. Rock avalanches and landslides are common on this road. Coupled with poor weather, more than 7,500 deaths are said to occur for every 100,000 drivers. That translates to a death rate of around 7.5%.

6. Guolian Tunnel Road, China

The second is Guoliang Tunnel, which like Skippers Canyon Road, is merely cut through the side of the mountain but with a tunnel going through it. It was constructed by the townspeople of Guoliang who carved out part of the mountain. One of the reasons why the road was made in the first place is that Guoliang was originally cut off by the many cliffs that surround it. Though few people actually use it, it does not reduce the danger of driving it.

7. Karakoram Highway, Pakistan

Seventh on the list is in Pakistan -- the Karakoram Highway. Considered as the world’s highest paved road, it connects Pakistan with China. As such, it is called as the “Friendship Highway.” Elevated at 4,693 meters, it runs across the Khunjerab Pass and then goes through the Karakoram mountain range. Being located in the mountain, it experiences a number of landslides and the occasional flood. Making it more dangerous is that the part that enters Pakistan is actually not paved. The risk may be worth it as driving through it gives one the view of the old Silk Road. In fact, it is regarded as a tourist attraction.

8. Jalalabad Kabul Road, Afghanistan

Beside Pakistan is Afghanistan, which also has a road you should avoid as well. Measuring 65 kilometers, it traverses from Kabul to Jalalabad, and snakes through Taliban territory. However, while that may give the driver warning, it is not the threat of the Taliban that makes it dangerous. The roads are narrow and wind up 600 meters across the Kabul gorge. If that’s not enough, drivers will often try to overtake you with their heavy haulage trucks.

9. Los Caracoles Pass, Chile

Ninth on the list is in South America, particularly in Chile. The Los Caracoles Pass connects Chile with Argentina and goes through the Andes. With its sharp turns and steep slopes, there are no barriers that can at least give a small sense of security. Since the road is covered in snow the whole year, it requires expert driving skills and plenty of patience to navigate this road. Still, the government has continuing maintenance activities on the road, ensuring that accidents are reduced. Thus, even tourist buses can go through there daily.

10. North Yungas Road, Bolivia

Rounding off this list is Bolivia’s North Yungas Road which is none other than the “Road of Death.” Due to its reputation, the Inter-American Development Bank has named it as the “world’s most dangerous road”. Estimates say that an average of 200 to 300 travellers die on this road annually. Evidence of this is the various crosses that mark the spots where a number of vehicles fell. Most of the accidents involve trucks and buses who fall as they overtake the other.

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