Lewis Hamilton is perhaps one of the most crowned Formula One drivers of all time, risking it all week in and week out. However, there are just some risks he would not take…and by this method, neither should you. Read on to find out more about what I’m talking about.
The world is full of some amazing places and breathtaking landscapes. Unfortunately, some of these remarkable sights can only be accessed by car, and that means sometimes risking it for the perfect backdrop. From personal experience, driving on some windy and steep roads can be a very treacherous task and requires full concentration as to not veer off the side. However, with this great risk, comes great reward, and you will be speechless once you come to the end of the road (pun intended). If you’re lucky, the road might not even come to an end, meaning limitless time to take-in mother nature at her very best. Driving through the Swiss Alps, swerving up and around the Dolomites or passing on Route 66, there are many roads with incredible scenery.
It is not all glitz and glamor, though. Some roads are simply too dangerous to even attempt driving on. These are the ones where the risk far outweighs what is waiting for you at the end, and therefore should be avoided.
The following is a list of 15 dangerous roads no one would, or should attempt to tackle, and 10 of some of the most scenic routes in the world.
Let us begin with the most dangerous road in the world, and it’s on everyone’s list. If you are a Top Gear fan, you may recall when they risked it all on their Bolivia special and conquered the ‘Road of Death’, and there is a very good reason why it has been dubbed as such. The road is less than one lane in width, and with little to no railing, it is common to see large vehicles topple 3000m over the edge and into the Amazon, per Interesting Engineering.
One of the longest highways in the world, the Trans-Siberian Highway runs from Vladivostok to Saint Petersburg. List 25 says along the way, motorists will encounter dense forest, arid desert, intimidating mountains and wildlife running around the place. Oh, and I should probably mention that ¾ of it is dirt and mud so it isn’t the safest road to travel on. The highway is generally straight but has some very subtle sharp turns, so if for some reason, you do decide to try this road out, we thought we should just let you know in advance.
The geographical location of Italy means there are many spectacular mountains throughout the country. Over time, people have had to find ways of making it from point A to point B, so what better way to do this than shave a narrow pathway into the mountains to make it possible. List 25 points out that even-though Pasubio has breathtaking views, driving is difficult, given the rocky (pun intended) road, to a point where cars are not even allowed because it is so dangerous.
The Zojila Pass is a road atop 11,000 feet, and connects the cities of Srinagar and Leh, in the Western Himalayas. Wander Wisdom says the Zojila Pass is a full-dirt road, with no railing or signs, which is highly dangerous when drivers approach one of the many blind corners. To top it off, landslides are quite common, and in the winter, piles of snow up to 50 feet deep block the path, and therefore the road is closed during the winter time.
Interesting Engineering states that the Guoliang Tunnel Road in China is a result of village people from the town of Guoliang chipping away at the rocky mountains. They did this so that their village could be accessed by outsiders, however, the road to get there is an enormous risk. The Tunnel Road is…you guessed it…a road of tunnels through the mountains, but the build quality isn’t exactly A grade, as it is simply carved through the mountain rock, that’s it.
Br-116, or as Wanderlust puts it, ‘The Highway of Death’, is named due to its unfortunate reputation of people losing their lives while driving here. It is the second longest highway, and connects North and South Brazil, and claims thousands of life per year. Wanderlust goes on to say that the section prior to Sao Paolo is the most dangerous, as weather conditions and the windy roads bring drivers too close for comfort on the mountain edge. The Highway of Death is also responsible for many crimes, such as robberies, by gangs and thieves.
According to The Thrillist, the James Dalton Highway appears frequently on the TV show, Ice Road Truckers. The highway stretches for over 400 miles and connects the oil fields in the Arctic to the outside world. While there are signs and some barriers, the ice, flying rocks and constantly changing weather conditions make for a highly dangerous commute.
Built between 1950 and 1954 and covering almost 1,300 miles, the Sichuan-Tibet Highway in China connects the cities of Chengdu and Lhasa. Wander Wisdom suggests this highway is notorious for continuous avalanches and rogue falling rocks. The highest point comes in at over 19,500 feet and more often than not causing altitude sickness in travelers. It is also the scene where thousands of people per year lose their lives due to unforeseen occurrences.
The Thrillist offers some grim news for drivers wishing to try their luck on the Federal Highway 1 in Mexico, and there are several reasons why this highway is among the most dangerous. The road is carved into mountain rock, with a very narrow width and no barricades to prevent falling, it is known that some dangerous snakes have spooked drivers, ending in tragedy. What’s more, in 6 Mexican states, a driving test is not required, so for all you know, you could be sharing this already life-threatening road with someone who doesn’t know how to drive properly, or god forbid, at all!
Amid lush greenery and mountainous scenery, lies Trollstigen, Norway. Gap Year claims that the numerous hairpin bends and deceivingly steep inclines and declines heavily contribute to Norway’s yearly road death toll. Much like the Stelvio Pass in Italy, drivers must remain aware of every square millimeter of the road and do their best not to become distracted by the tranquil surroundings.
Who would have thought the French could have engineered something that failed? Well, perhaps it isn’t a failure, but as per Dangerous Roads, the Passage Du Gois, in the Vendee Region of France is flooded not once, but twice daily. At 2.5 mile, it is not a long stretch of road by any means, but timing is everything if you wish to drive across the road, otherwise, you may find yourself swimming across instead. At high tide, the waters can reach 4m, and sometimes people can be seen fishing, because why not?
Greek Reporter places the Patiopoulo-Perdikaki Road up with some of the most dangerous in the world. Packed-full of potholes, loose paving, and unsuspected drops, this road has not been tended to since its completion. There are also no rails or signs, and 0 lighting at night, as well as wildlife, roaming around aimlessly. Despite the risky nature of this road, some dare-devils try their hand at achieving such a feat, some live to tell the tale, some do not.
According to Gap Year, Skippers Canyon Road is so dangerous that it requires a permit to enter. It may not be at treacherous as say the North Yungas Road, however, it is a simple fact that the safety standards between New Zealand and Bolivia are on opposite ends of the scale. The road is full of loose gravel, making grip hard to come by, and it is so narrow that if two cars want to pass by going opposite ways, one driver must reverse up 3 kilometers to allow the other driver to pass.
The following 10 roads may be risky, but with surroundings so scenic and picturesque, they are worth every element of risk.
We begin in none other than The Sunshine State, with Highway One. The Culture Trip ranks this highway as one of the most scenic in Northern America, a big statement, right? This may be the case, however, anyone who has been fortunate enough to experience the drive, or even has just seen pictures, will be able to justify why. The highway begins in Los Angeles and stretches until Mendocino County in the North. It may seem like your average highway, but when you reach Monterey, this quickly changes, as you will pass-by clear waters crashing in to limestone cliff faces, lush green hills and Bixby Creek Bridge with its magnificent archway.
Norway features again, as Earth Porm points out this spectacular 5 mile road. What makes it so special is its unique engineering, it is almost like driving on the water. The cities of Vevang and Karvag are connected by this road, and also connects many islands in between, as well as making room for several viewing points which look out to, well, perfection, really. This road is not an easy one to take-on, but the rewards far outweigh the risks.
Stretching nearly 200 miles, the Great Alpine Road winds through Wangaratta, Northeast Victoria to the stunning Gippsland Lakes. Dangerous Roads says along the way, drivers can stop in at hundreds of vineyards, and treat themselves to some world-class gourmet food and wine. Though this road may seem arid and dusty, it is a perfect mix of the typical Australian desert, scattered with hidden gems every now and then, meaning there is no getting bored!
This stunning 5 mile stretch of coastal road will have you stunned at its surrounding beauty. The road is mainly flat, however being up against several mountains, give you the feeling of driving up a mountain, at the same time as having amazing sea views. According to Life Hack, the road has 114 curves, so it does require the driver to be concentrated, but the good news is that the road is wide enough for 2 lanes, and does have a railing. Nevertheless, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Set among the hills of the Amalfi Coast in Italy, Strada Statale 163 is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is home to, The Culture Trip claims, perhaps one of the most spectacular roads in all of Europe. The savvy driver will begin their journey of many twists and turns in Salerno and will travel west, encountering an intimidating, yet spectacular mountain face on one side, and the blue waters of the Mediterranean on the other. Along the way, you can stop in at some of the world’s most quaint towns, including Positano and Amalfi.
A thrilling drive, the Col de Turini is a mountain pass located in Eastern France. At an elevation of over 5,000 feet, Dangerous Roads warn this road comprises of 34 hairpin turns and unforeseen weather changes, which don’t make it the safest road, but one that is worth the risk if you feel up to the task. It is interesting to note that Col de Turini is a famous stage as part of the Monte Carlo Rally, so it, not an easy place to navigate, but one that is worth every mile.
According to Wander Wisdom, the Pan-American Highway stretches almost 30,000 miles from Alaska to Chile and covers almost every terrain you could think of. Crossing two continents by car aren’t for everyone and will take quite a while. In the process, you can expect to encounter thick jungle, rocky mountains, abandoned deserts, and large glaciers. With this many terrains, the drive may not feel so long, because you have to keep adjusting to the constantly changing environment.
Despite having stunning views of the Italian Alps, Interesting Engineering warns that Stelvio Pass is mainly known for its narrow, windy layout which lasts 2.7 kilometers. The road may not be the most intimidating, but it does require full concentration, which is hard when you are right in the middle of such panoramic beauty.
Making it a priority to visit a road while on holiday doesn’t seem like the perfect vacation plan, right? Well, Life Hack has said to put the A82 atop your list for things to see in Scotland. Scotland is famous for its dense green fields, lakes scattered everywhere you look and unique bridges. The A82 comprises all of these features in to on drive and boy, what an adventure. Winding in and out of the hillside, with lush forest on one side and pristine lakes on the other, there is nothing more serene and peaceful while driving.
According to Earth Porm, prior to completion, this windy road was known as the Beiyi Highway. Upon completion in 2006, it was then renamed the Chian Wei-Shui Memorial Freeway. It connects 3 major cities; Yilan, Taipei and Nee Taipei, as well as many small villages in between. Most freeways are somewhat straight in nature, however, this is certainly not the case for this particular one. 2 lanes in width, the freeway winds in and out of mountains, but is well-built so even-though the risk is still present through its layout, drivers can be at ease a bit more and take in the panoramic surroundings.
The Great Ocean Road seems to be coming up everywhere you search ‘most scenic roads in the world’, and it is no question why. Running across two states, Victoria and New South Wales, drivers will be treated to some of Mother Nature’s finest work. The road transitions between the famous Australian coastline and perhaps not as well-known rainforest, per Australia.com. Attractions such as the 12 Apostles, wildlife and even an ice-cream factory are just some of the many things to do along the way.
Hawaii is well-known for its natural beauty almost anywhere you look, but Hana Highway must be at the top of the list. Life Hack says that the highway is home to many different landscapes, from lush green grass to colorful trees, dense rainforest, and utopian waterfalls. While passing through, you will feel like you are in a magical fictitious movie scene, and not in the middle of a highway.