What can be better than sitting behind the wheel and taking a drive along a scenic road? If you're living in the United States or Canada, road trips are the best way to explore magnificent landscapes that range from rainforests to mountainous terrains, from ocean stretches to snowy and even icy routes.
But, since there are countless miles of roads and highways stretching over the United States and Canada, it's undoubted that some of them are rather hazardous. Certain routes require more concentration than you think and they can baffle even an experienced driver. They run along steep cliffs and have a number of curves. They feature unpredictably changing the weather, from fogs to blizzards, and shifting terrain that makes you keep an eye on the road at all times. They lack safety measures, such as guardrails, dividers, or even gas stations along the way. Some of them are nothing but icy roads over frozen water bodies and some are even inhabited by ghosts and other paranormal phenomena.
All of the roads listed below require your undivided attention to stay safe along the way, so if you ever decide to take any of them, whether in the United States or in Canada and want to make it to your destination in one piece, be prepared.
25 USA: Saddle Road, Hawaii
Saddle Road is officially called Hawaii Route 200. Even though the state is going to great lengths to make the road safer, it still remains one of the most hazardous routes to take in the USA. The danger is due to single-lane bridges, rough terrain, and vision-obscuring fog that can confuse even an experienced driver and easily lead to a car accident. For this reason, a lot of car rental companies don't allow to drive their cars on Saddle Road. But think about it: do you really want to take this road, even driving your own car?
24 Canada: Sea-To-Sky Highway, British Columbia
Sea-To-Sky Highway is very beautiful. It has a fjordlike Howe Sound, features a natural amphitheater of glacially capped peaks, coastal rainforests, spectacular ocean views, and it also goes by a scenic Shannon Falls. However, if you drive there, don't look at all this beauty too much and keep your attention on the road, because it's certainly not the safest highway on Earth.
Due to the steep cliffs and absence of guardrails, the Sea-To-Sky Highway was even nicknamed "Drive-to-Die Highway". So if you really need to enjoy the scenery, better stop the car.
23 USA: Million Dollar Highway, Colorado
Million Dollar Highway, officially known as Highway 550, might suit you if you want to take a beautiful ride in Colorado and have exceptional driving skills. The latter is even more important than the former because you can actually see beautiful landscapes in many other places in the USA, where you won't have to be a super-duper-skilled driver.
What makes Million Dollar Highway so special? First of all, it's the elevation of 11,000 feet above sea level, which is high enough to give you altitude sickness. Secondly, it's the unpredictable weather. And thirdly, it's the absence of guardrails, due to which any mistake on the road can become fatal.
22 Canada: Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia
If you are visiting Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, you might want to take the legendary Cabot Trail. This road is incredibly scenic and the loop of Cabot Trail passes beautiful ocean views, alongside cultural heritage sites and numerous curves and steep grades.
But if you ever decide to drive along Cabot Trail, keep at least two things in mind. Firstly, you'll have to be very attentive and try not to let the beautiful scenery distract you from driving. And secondly, once you begin the ride, you're there till the end, meaning that the trail ends only by completing the loop or by coming back to where you started.
21 USA: Highway 1, Florida
Highway 1 is the overseas highway located in Florida. Even though it looks completely crazy and dangerous, it actually not as bad as you think. This highway was built in the 1930s for train traffic, so it doesn't have any sudden turns or twists. Taking this road, you can drive from Miami to Key West in four hours or less (unless you want to take a detour to the white sand beaches of Bahia Honda State Park). Prepare for seeing the unique scenery and, of course, remember to be extremely attentive along the way.
20 Canada: Ice Roads, Northwest Territories, Canada
Does the concept of creating a seasonal highway on the top of a frozen water body seem scary to you? Well, it means that you're not living in the Northwest Territories of Canada, where this kind of road is a more common thing than you can imagine. Even though the "road" (read - "ice") can crack at any moment, Canada's ice truckers drive on them and navigate their huge vehicles through snow storms. These guys have to do it, because they transport supplies across the Northwest Territories, but you don't have to and, well, shouldn't drive there.
19 USA: Farm-to-Market 170, Texas
Would you like to feel the scent of freshly baked fajitas and tortillas, while still being in the United States? Then take the so-called Farm-to-Market road that goes along the Rio Grande in Far West Texas and that is located very close to the Mexican border. Even if you don't get to smell their delicious food, you can at least listen to the Mexican radio stations that can be easily found there.
But in case you're afraid of taking the steepest paved grade in Texas and think that the beautiful, but lonesome landscape can distract you, think twice before taking the Farm-to-Market road.
18 Canada: Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road, Nunavut
But let's come back to Canada and its icy roads. Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road in Nunavut is considered one of the most nerve-wracking routes in the world, even though it doesn't have a lot of car accidents. Perhaps, it is because so few people are ready to take it?
About 85 percent of this road (which is about 400-600 kilometers, or 250-370 miles) lies over frozen lakes. Needless to say, the ice can break at any moment, so driving there is "a little bit" extreme. For this reason, this road is usually open only in February and March, when the ice is the thickest.
17 USA: Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, Louisiana
Another overseas highway in the Unites States is Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana. It's frequently listed among "world's scariest bridges", because it's really long and blood-chilling. Being 23.8 miles (38.442 kilometers) long, Lake Pontchartrain Causeway was listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the longest bridge over water. Would you dare to drive by it?
If you'd like to take a risk, keep in mind that you're to have a pulse-quickening half-hour drive that you'll never forget in your life. Or, perhaps, you want to pass?
16 Canada: Pacific Rim Highway, Vancouver Island
Pacific Rim Highway was once a road taken only by the most adventurous travelers, because it was extremely tortuous. Now, it's not so dangerous and it attracts a number of drivers, who decide to take a road trip along this highway and enjoy the beauties it offers. Indeed, Pacific Rim is a pure driving bliss highlighted by unbroken stretch of ocean and moss-laden landscape. Besides, you can engage into a number of activities, from whale watching to golfing, along the way.
But still, the road has a lot of steep grades, so be very careful, if you ever drive there.
15 USA: Road to Hana, Hawaii
No one can argue that the road to Hana in Hawaii is incredibly scenic. Lush greenery, beautiful mountains, and the ocean waves splashing on your side... Doesn't it all make you want to get into your car and take this road? Well, stop for a moment and think about another side of the coin.
Some parts of the road are located at 4,700 ft above sea level and some are so narrow that there no room for two lanes. In 62 miles of the road, you'll have to take 620 turns (if you're bad at math, it's 10 turns per mile). Besides, there're few guardrails, the traffic is heavy, and the road surface is poor. Do you still want to take this road?
14 USA: Highway 17, South Carolina
Highway 17 in South Carolina is very beautiful. Driving on it, you can see many pretty valleys and observe the peaks of Beaufort County. But you should still think about taking this road, if you don't like blind curves, sharp turns, and narrow lanes, which make this highway really dangerous. And also, do you mind seeing mountain lions along your way? Then try not to freak out, when they appear right on the road.
Or better, avoid Highway 17 altogether and take another scenic road along South Carolina.
12 USA: Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana
Going-to-the-Sun road stretches through 53 miles and spans Glacier National Park, which is one of the prettiest parks in the USA. Driving on this road, you can enjoy the scenery around you. Well, provided you're allowed to even begin your ride.
The thing is, Going-to-the-Sun road is only open for drivers for about half a year (usually it's from May to October), because the area gets so much snow in winter (the snow blanket can reach 80 feet) that it takes about 10 weeks to clear the road of it in spring.
11 Canada: Highway 63, Alberta
Since Highway 63 is the only all-weather highway you can take to drive out of Fort McMurray, it remains busy all year round. These days, it's being twinned (which means that the undivided highway is going to become a divided one), but it still hasn't become less dangerous for drivers. The main threats are low temperatures in the area and frequent snowstorms that cause a number of accidents.
Unfortunately, it's difficult to find an alternative to this road, so if you have to drive there, be prepared for anything.
10 USA: Apache Trail Scenic Drive, Arizona
Apache Trail in Arizona is one of the most beautiful drives in the Unites States. Its landscapes are breathtaking, the hills and narrow rivers around it are marvelous, and the ride itself might seem to be extremely pleasant. However, this beauty can be unforgiving, if you pay too much attention to it and become distracted from driving.
The narrow and curvy road that cuts through the Superstition Mountains requires a driver to take a turtle's pace and turn the greatest amount of attention they can. There are no guardrails, steep cliffs around, and a number of other drivers, whose attention wavers from driving to the pretty landscape.
9 USA: Interstate 4, Florida
Interstate 4 that runs 132 miles from Tampa to Daytona Beach in Florida is considered one of the most hazardous roads in the United States. You might think that it's linked with it being a long bridge, but going over a large water body isn't the only thing that makes it so dangerous.
Probably, the high number of car accidents on Interstate 4 is linked with the use of cell phone while driving, because Florida's laws aren't strict enough regarding that matter. So if you absolutely have to drive on this road, look around yourself often and make sure that no drivers you see are talking over the phone (and, of course, don't use yours while driving there, or anywhere else).
8 Canada: Icefields Parkway, Alberta
If you think that you have driven through scenic highways, it means that you have never took a ride along the Icefields Parkway in Alberta. Just think about it: this road goes through the Continental Divide, crosses the magnificent landscapes of the Canadian Rockies, traverses Jasper National Park and Banff National Park, and then it passes the Columbia Icefield.
Are you feeling excited? Then get into your car, but remember that about the unpredictable weather (you're in Alberta, after all) and watch for wildlife on the way.
7 USA: Pacific Coast Highway, California
One of the most scenic roads in the country, Pacific Coast Highway can also be called one of the most dangerous ones. There're several reasons for it. Firstly, this stretch has an unpredictably changing weather that can turn from sunny to foggy and extremely windy in a moment. Secondly, there are few gas stations and other basic services on the way. And thirdly, Pacific Coast Highway has a number of steep cliffs and tight curves that can frighten even an experienced driver.
Still, the highway attracts a lot of drivers, because it's gorgeous, after all.
6 USA: Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Annapolis, Maryland
Here's another bridge in our list, on which you should avoid to drive, especially if you have a fear of heights. Chesapeake Bay Bridge has been repeatedly called America's scariest bridge. And here's a fun fact: so many people are scared of driving over this huge and curvy bridge that they use the services of a hired driver. That's right, there's a special shuttle service that drives people over the bridge in their own cars for a small fee.
Now imagine a driver letting a stranger drive their car and sitting on a passenger's seat, covering their eyes from the road. It happens there every day.