Who else remembers the elation they felt when they passed their driver’s test and got their license? The sweet sensation of a perfect three-point turn, the smooth slide into a parallel park, and the classy hand on the headrest as we looked behind and backed up 30 feet, we knew we aced that test before we even finished. We actually had to be asked to tone our smiles down a notch for our picture when we passed. The win was extra sweet for us since we were able to pass on our first go around. With our new license came our new freedom and we were ready to go out into the world. No distance was too far or too short, we were willing to do any errand that involved getting into the car. Our confidence was undiminished, and it seemed that nothing would be able to bring it down. Oh, to be 16 again. Now with insurance rates and gas prices, driving no longer holds the allure it once did. But, even with our years of experience, we still don’t think we’ll ever be ready to take on these 20 roads around the world. From sheer drops to staggering heights, here are 20 roads inexperienced drivers shouldn’t attempt.
20 Apache Trail Scenic Drive – US
The Apache Trail Scenic Drive is undoubtedly a gorgeous drive and its come a long way in the past few years. The roads have improved, and new railings have been put in place. However, it still takes a considerable amount of concentration and focus when navigating this road. The roads are extremely windy, and tons of tourists mill about the roads. It isn’t uncommon to come around a curve and suddenly have to stop because a tourist has pulled over to take a picture. The narrow roads face sheer drops and sharp turns, whatever you do, don’t look down!
19 Cotopaxi Volcano Road – Ecuador
To enter the Cotopaxi Volcan National Park, you have to drive through the Cotopaxi Volcano Road. Be warned, though. The 40-km road is lined with potholes and extremely slippery slopes. However, those aren’t the most dangerous parts of the trek. The most dangerous part of the Cotopaxi Volcano Road is a small stream that runs through it. No bridge allows you to cross the stream. It may seem unassuming, but the smallest rainstorm will turn the area into a flash flood. So aside from having to navigate through hundreds of holes in the ground, you also need to keep an eye out for sudden washes of water. Sounds like a soothing road trip...
18 Eshima Ohashi Bridge – Japan
Would you like to drive over a road that is nicknamed “Rollercoaster Bridge?” We certainly do not. The Eshima Ohashi Bridge is a ridiculously steep bridge that connects the cities of Sakaminato and Matsue. Staring at the bridge straight on is terrifying and makes it seem more precipitous than it actually is. It is a relief to know that the slope is more gradual in actuality. Still, we would be terrified driving up this bridge. Whatever you do, DO NOT LET GO OF THE GAS. We can’t even imagine what would happen if you simply took your foot off the pedal.
17 Guoliang Tunnel – China
When you first look at the image, it seems as if you are just staring at a sheer cliff wall. However, if you look closer, you’ll see the road that is carved into the side! This insane looking road is known as the Guoliang Tunnel. Even crazier is that this road was literally carved into the mountain by a handful of men. The village of Guoliang sent 13 of their strongest men to the mountain with nothing but hand tools to dig out a road. It took them five years to dig out a path a little less than a mile long. There are several unexpected twists in this road so traffic must move incredibly slowly. Due to this incredible (and terrifying) road, the village has become a tourist attraction.
16 Halsema Highway – Philippines
This highway had its lovely reputation due to its numerous mudslides, rockslides, and careless drivers. Makes you want to hop in the car right away, right? The highway goes through some of the most remote areas of the Philippines, and due to it, the roads in those areas are less regulated and more hazardous. Today, the way is in better condition and is quite a beautiful and scenic drive. There are still some dangers, though. The road is still narrow in some areas; drivers who are used to the road often speed down it carelessly, and the path becomes dangerous when it’s raining and foggy.
15 Khardungla Pass – India
Drivers all over the world are well aware of the obnoxious hiccups that happen when driving. A car accident, rush hour traffic, poor weather conditions and many other issues. Something that you don’t see every day, however, is traffic stopped up due to landslides. The Khardungla Pass’ highest altitude is 5,359 meters and a 39.7 km stretch. It may offer some fantastic views, but be prepared to encounter delays from collapsed cliffs, road repairs, and falling snow. Drivers need to be focused because the road is narrow and extremely windy. If you take this road, we hope you have a steady hand because you’ll be facing a sheer drop on one side and a rocky cliff wall on the other.
14 Luxor-al-Hurghada Road – Egypt
Who isn’t a fan of the dashing Robin Hood who stole from the rich and gave back to the poor? It may seem romantic and cute when the protagonist is a fluffy fox, but how would you feel if you were driving down a road and actually got held up by a gang of merry men? One thing is for sure, they won’t be as cheerful as the bandits in the movie. The Luxor-al-Hurghada Road is dangerous because drivers often speed down the road without turning on their headlights. This sounds completely idiotic, but they do it because they don’t want to announce their presence to potential bandits. Due to this, there are many head-on collisions and accidents on this road.
13 Manang Road – Nepal
Even if the world’s best driver was manning the car and we were just a passenger, we still wouldn’t consent to sit in the car for this road trip. This road in Nepal is steep, narrow, and lined with waterfalls. Oh, waterfalls sound like a scenic drive. NOT. After heavy rains, parts of the road are often washed out. Even worse, some of those pretty waterfalls go right over the road. So drivers actually have to drive through them to cross. During some of the areas of the drive, parts of your car wheels actually hang off the side of the cliff. It takes immense concentration to navigate this road. No thanks.
12 Patiopoulo-Perdikaki Road – Greece
Who thought it would be a good idea to create a road that goes alongside a cliff and not add guardrails? Well, in Greece, the Patiopoulo-Perdikaki Road is filled with trucks, buses, people, and livestock. So, not only do you need to concentrate on avoiding the other passengers on the road, but you also need to keep an eye out for the cliff drops. The road is unmarked, and there are no guardrails. It makes judging the distance between the road and empty air quite nerve-wracking. Not surprisingly, the road is even worse at night. The lack of markers means that several people have simply driven off the side of the cliff.
11 R504 Kolyma Highway – Russia
We really hope your car has a fantastic heating system when you attempt to undertake this highway. The road is unpaved and is treacherous during both the summer and winter seasons. The winter lasts 10 months, and the road is covered in snow and ice. In the summer, when the ice begins to melt a dangerous mud trap forms. Due to it being the only road that goes into Yakutsk City there is no choice but for drivers to take this route. After a rainstorm, cars can get stuck in up to 100-km long lineups. Talk about a traffic jam!
10 Sichuan-Tibet Highway – China
If you’re ever looking to travel to what is nicknamed the “Roof of the World” you’ll probably know what the Sichuan-Tibet Highway is. It’s a 2,142 km long highway that takes up to 15 days to travel. The elevation is so high up that oxygen is scarce. The road’s condition isn’t ideal. The surface is pitted with potholes, and landslides and avalanches are a common issue. Many sharp turns could cause inexperienced drivers to flip. Some of the areas are single lane, so drivers need to do some careful navigating when facing oncoming traffic. While the drive can be stunningly beautiful, just be aware of the dangers before you hop in your car.
9 Skippers Canyon Road – New Zealand
How do you feel about playing chicken with another driver on a tiny, narrow road with barely enough room to take a deep breath? Doesn’t sound appealing, right? The Skippers Canyon Road was built 140 years ago, and it seems like it hasn’t been touched since. If you come upon another car when you drive this road, you or the other driver will have to back up until you find an area with more room. Why are the most dangerous things also the most fun? This route offers jaw-dropping views that lure in tourists year after year. However, rental car agencies don’t honor car insurance for people traveling this route due to the high risks.
8 Stelvio Pass Road – Italy
If you’re unfamiliar with the term switchback, let us help. Regarding driving, switchbacks are roads that zigzag their way up and down a mountain. It is much easier to drive at a gradual slope up a mountain than to go straight up. The Stelvio Road can be a beautiful drive, but it is also famous for its wall of switchbacks. If you get back motion sickness, we do not recommend taking this road. The constant back and forth can have you ready to hurl in minutes. For driving enthusiasts, this road is a dream. The hairpin turns and stretches of highway make for an adrenaline-pumping drive. However, this is also why it is so dangerous. People become careless, and collisions will happen.
7 Taroko Gorge Road – Taiwan
One of the best attractions in Taiwan is the Taroko Gorge. It is a stunning canyon that people travel all over the world to see. There are caves and stretches of forest that you can explore and see. The way to get there is the aptly named Taroko Gorge Road. The road is dangerous because there are numerous pedestrians, buses, scooters, and cars all trying to fit on the narrow road. During the heavy rain in typhoon season, debris is dislodged and falls onto the road, and the walls are prone to crumble. It takes laser focus and a steady hand to navigate this road.
6 The Himalayan Roads – Himalayans
Oh, did our title confuse you? Did you think that there is one specific road called the Himalayan Road? Nope, we mean ALL the roads that lead up to the Himalayans. It isn’t an uncommon sight to drive up and see old overturned buses and cars laying abandoned on the side. The road is barely discernible from the mountain. The smallest pebble can cause an avalanche to start tumbling down. In the winter, the snow makes the road completely impassable. Even though it is a treacherous drive, people still make the journey because it truly is a gorgeous one. Just make sure you have nerves of steel as you stare over the side...
5 James Dalton Highway, Alaska
This road has been dubbed the “Loneliest Road on the Planet.” Just looking at the image of it gives credits to its nickname. If you plan on taking on this road, you’ll need to pack supplies and pray you don’t break down. There are only three villages along this 414-mile stretch. The way is icy, littered with potholes, and there is the constant danger of having a rock shatter your window. The land is so flat with high-speed winds that it isn’t uncommon for the wind to pick up and toss a rock. Also, the area is so remote and desolate that falling asleep and driving off the road is a major issue. We suggest you don’t take this trip alone.
4 The Way to Fairy Meadows – Pakistan
What a sweet sounding name. It can’t possibly be dangerous. Unfortunately, The Way to Fairy Meadows can also be The Way to an Early End. The road is made of gravel, no guardrails, and there is zero maintenance. At the end of the road, it becomes so narrow that you have to abandon the car and walk or bike that last trek. The way is only big enough for a single vehicle to travel upon. One false move and your car could tumble over the edge. The road is unpaved and uneven. It takes skill and courage to travel to the Fairy Meadows.
3 Yungas Road – Bolivia
This two-way, twelve-foot-wide path is also known as “Death Road.” Say no more, we’re staying away. Over 200 to 300 people lose their lives every year due to the poor conditions of this road. Due to heavy rains and fog, mudslides, falling rocks, and waterfalls, cascade down the mountain often. In Bolivia, people drive on the right side. However, on the Yungas Road, people drive on the left so that they can see the road better. When going down the path, descending vehicles must give way to other cars.
2 Commonwealth Avenue, Philippines
All of the roads that we’ve mentioned so far are in remote areas with dangerous conditions. The Commonwealth Avenue is the opposite of what we’ve seen so far. Instead of desolate roads and sheer cliff drops, we have traffic jams, congestions, and absolute chaos. If you’re visiting the Philippines, do NOT attempt to drive in the area. You will be better off taking a taxi or just straight up walking. There are no rules or regulations in place to control the millions of people traveling on the road. People are careless, there are no road signs, streetlights, or even designated lanes. It is a massive mess.
1 Johannesburg – South Africa
How do you feel about attaching a flamethrower to your car to ward off carjacking? No? You might have to when you travel along the roads in the Gauteng Province. When you’re traveling along the stunning coastline, you need to pay more attention to things around you rather than the view. Some people don’t even stop at the red lights because it provides an opportunity for thieves to raid the car. People have even been warned not to pull over if they see “accidents” or even blue lights because it may not actually be the police. Residents are allowed to attach flamethrowers to their car as added protection.