Though roads are a necessity for cars and other land-based vehicles to travel on, they’re not always safe. The reasons behind this can range from external conditions such as weather and being under construction to the road itself being poorly made. So depending on the severity of the conditions themselves, the driver will either decide to turn back and head down a different road to get to their desired destination or continue driving regardless of the perils that might lie ahead. Now why would a driver pick the latter at the cost of risking their own safety?
Well, it could be that they have no choice but to go down the perilous road due to external pressures such as getting to the destination on time out of personal obligation or for the sake of a job. Another possible reason is that they have enough confidence in themselves as a driver to think they can drive down the road safely enough despite the dangers they may face. But while some roads are passable even with unpredictable elements such as rockslides and snowstorms, these ones are notoriously dangerous. Therefore, only the drivers who know what they’re getting into may pass them. Yet there are some that might be worth taking the risk for the sake of their beauty no matter how twisty they may be.
30 Sichuan-Tibet Highway - Unforgiving Mountain Roads
As the name implies, this particular highway is located in the part of China that was once in the former country of Tibet. Weaving its way in a zigzag pattern up the side of a mountain (as shown above), it is one of China’s most notorious roads. This is largely in part due to the avalanches and rockslides that frequently happen here, according to etags. As a result, many car accidents have happened along this road which have apparently “Doubled in the past 20 years” as stated by dangerousroads. So while it may seem beautiful, it’s probably not worth risking.
29 Atlantic Road - Pretty but Dangerous
Along the coast of Norway, this road goes through the various archipelago islands that make up the Atlantic side of this county. For this reason, it’s “One of the most scenic routes in Europe” according to Thrillist. Yet like many of the others on this list, it’s not for the reckless driver to take. Apart from various twisty bridges like the one in the above image, the road has all kinds of sharp twists and turns that Reader’s Digest says is similar to that of “A rollercoaster ride”. Then there’s also constant waves that lap the sides of the road.
28 Old Yungas Road - It’s a Jungle Down There!
Located in Bolivia, which is a country in South America, this stretch of road weaves along the cliffs of a mountain pass overlooking a tropical canyon below. But because a lot of the turns are sharp, caution is advised when driving this road. In fact, it was labeled as “The Most Dangerous Road in the World” back in the 90s according to dangerousroads. The main reason for this, Thrillist says, is that, “More than 200 people a year” have lost their lives on this road. Fortunately, there is a safer alternative route available now for anyone heading out this way.
27 Apache Trail Scenic Drive - Brutal yet Beautiful
Skirting along the aptly named Superstition Mountains in the state of Arizona, this road is said to be “One of the most breathtakingly beautiful drives in all of the United States” as stated by etags and it’s easy to see why. From this picture alone, we see a gorgeous sunset over a bright orange road made of dirt with the glistening river on one side and red rocky slopes on the other. However, Apache Trail does have its dangers in the form of steep cliffs in certain areas as well as heavy traffic and there are no guardrails, etags says.
26 Luxor-al-Hurghada Pass - Cautious Driving Required
From the deceptive greenery of Brazil, we now move to the barren deserts of Egypt where this stretch of road resides. Much like BR-116, it too has its share of bandits who attack anyone that drives along the road pretty frequently. In fact, these attacks have occurred so many times that people who find themselves here tend to drive "Without their headlights on" at night according to etags. While that might seem reckless regardless of whether bandits were around or not, it isn’t helped by the fact that a lot of regular accidents occur along this road as well.
25 Skippers Canyon Road - All That Hard Work for Nothing
While this may seem like any other canyon in the world to an ordinary person, a movie buff might notice something familiar about it. That’s because this place has been used in several movies, though most famously The Lord of the Rings films as stated by Reader’s Digest. Located in New Zealand, this road has an interesting history apart from being a famous movie location. Dating back to the days of New Zealand’s Gold Rush period, it apparently took “20 years to complete” Reader’s Digest says. Yet because it’s unpaved, this particular road isn’t safe to drive on in general.
24 Nanga Parbat Pass - Nothing but Gravel
Also known as Fairy Meadows Road, Thrillist states, it’s clear from this picture alone that the name is pretty ironic all things considered. First, the entire road is made from gravel with no guardrails to speak of making it more treacherous than it already is. Second of all, it ascends at a steep incline that goes up to “10,000ft above sea level” according to Thrillist which is pretty high up. Then combined with the narrowness of the road itself, as seen in the picture above, it’s a living nightmare for truckers drivers or anyone who’s afraid of heights in general.
23 Eshima Ohashi Bridge - Great for Boats but Not Cars
Nicknamed the “roller coaster bridge” according to HuffPost Life, it’s easy to see why it’s called that. Located in Japan, this bridge serves two functions. First of all, it’s a convenient way to connect the two cities of Matsue, named after the famous Japanese castle, and Sakaiminato which lie across from each other with the Nakaumi Lake between them. Second, the reason this bridge is tall is so ships can easily pass beneath it and head out towards the nearby Miho Bay via a small channel connecting it to the lake though that doesn’t make the bridge any less scary.
22 Vitim River Bridge - Not a Soul On It
Located in the Siberian part of Russia, this rickety old bridge resides. Made of rotting wood and rusty metal that doesn’t include railing along the edges, it certainly doesn’t look safe. So one might assume it has led to many accidents and is thus avoided whenever possible. However, Thrillist claims there haven’t been any “Reported fatalities on the road”. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean no one hasn’t fallen off this bridge in the past but apparently there haven’t been enough accidents that are worth reporting. Though given what the bridge looks like, would anyone want to step on it?
21 Zojila Pass - Cold and Empty
Also spelled Zoji La, this mountainous road in India might not be nearly as dangerous compared to Khardung La but it’s still a risky road to take. For instance, the road is constantly occupied by livestock according to etags forcing the driver to “Share the road” with them. Then apart from unpredictable animals, there’s also severe weather conditions to consider such as rain and snow. These in turn have occasionally forced the road to close, thus making it impassable during these times as claimed by dangerousroads. So with all of this, drivers should be cautious when driving along this road.
20 Stelvio Pass - Crazy Corners with a Great View
Like the Sichuan-Tibet Highway, this road has also got some pretty sharp turns that when seen from a distance resembles that of a strand of thread being unraveled from an earthy blanket. Though in this case it’s in Italy instead of China. Also, Stelvio Pass is deliberately sought out by tourists due to its impressively scenic routes (as the above image shows). While the sharp turns certainly pose a problem, Thrillist states that the barriers along the road are low in terms of height and bad weather during the winter can make the road pretty slick to drive on.
19 Commonwealth Avenue - Look Both Ways
In Quezon City, which is in the Philippines, there is one stretch of highway that is ironically called Commonwealth Avenue despite having “Up to 18 lanes” according to Thrillist. Though that seems like a ridiculously high number, the amount of traffic in the above picture certainly makes the statement seem valid. It is primarily for this reason that the highway-in-question has gained notoriety since multiple accidents involving pedestrians and two-wheeled vehicles such as bikes and motorcycles have occurred here. This isn’t helped further by an improper drainage system, leading to "Heavy flooding during storms" as Thrillist says.
18 A537 - The Widow Maker
Also known as Cat and Fiddle among those who live along this stretch of road, dangerousroads says, it stretches across the English countryside for many miles with sharp bends every now and then. For this reason, the road has also come to be called “The Widow Maker” due to the significant number of accidents that have occurred along this road. This was particularly severe from 2006 to 2008, according to etags, where the number of critical accidents racked up to 34 in total. Then from 2007 to 2011, there were 44 crashes that were serious injury-wise according to dangerousroads.
17 Guoliang Tunnel Road - No Mistakes!
Named after a nearby mountain village of the same name, this road has come to be known in China as the “Road that tolerates no mistakes” according to Thrillist. The reason for this association has to do with the origin of the road itself which, if the picture above doesn’t make obvious, was extremely difficult to build since it rests inside and along an actual mountain. Though many lives were lost during its construction, it was nevertheless completed. Today, it’s not only regarded as “One of the steepest roads in the world,” Thrillist says, but it’s also a tourist attraction.
16 Kabul-Jalalabad Highway - Incendiary Central
Within Afghanistan is a river gorge with this road snaking along it. Because it’s an important trade route within the country itself, lots of trucks are often seen driving along it (as the picture above clearly shows) with little or no room to get around them. But since parts of the road are no longer functional due to being reduced to gravel according to dangerousroads, this makes the drive more difficult and tedious. On top of that, the area the road is in just so happens to be occupied by the country’s insurgents though the steep environment is more problematic.
15 BR-116 - Bandit Territory
Winding its way along the coast of Brazil, this busy highway’s got a lot of trucks driving up and down it due to its importance in the country trade-wise dangerousroads states. Yet this highway more than any other in Brazil is fraught with a lot of dangers. These range from unpredictable weather, which makes the road tricky to navigate, to steep cliffs in certain parts that have caused many an accident according to Thrillist. On top of those, the road also goes through rough areas that are said to be occupied by local bandits who frequently attack the road.
14 Patiopoulo-Perdikaki Road - Lack of Safety
Named after the two villages it connects, this mountainous road in Greece might seem thrilling based on the above picture but it lacks the proper safety measures that a road should have. For starters, a majority of the road is made of gravel according to dangerousroads (despite what the above picture may make one think) so it tends to be used by sheep herders and farmers most of the time instead of driven on by cars. On top of that, there aren’t many guardrails along the sides of the road as claimed by etags making the road’s curves dangerous in turn.
13 Le Passage du Gois - Watch Out for Those Waves!
On an island called Noirmoutier off the coast of France facing the Atlantic Ocean, there is a passage connecting it to the mainland that is officially called the Le Passage de Gois ou Gôa. While the passage itself is naturally made, this road is paved onto it. However, it’s not the safest road to drive on given that the road tends to get flooded by incoming waves. Of course, this all depends on the level of the tides. But even on low tide, there’s still the possibility of getting hit by “A rogue wave,” etags claims, which can appear anytime.
12 James Dalton Highway - (Not) a Winter Wonderland
Named after the man who supervised the construction of this road, dangerousroads states, it stretches across icy tundras leading all the way to the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field which lies in the northern part of Alaska along the coast of the Arctic Sea. So as one might imagine, judging by the above picture alone, that the road itself is cold and empty. For truckers who drive along this stretch of road, this is the case because “High winds and icy conditions” make the journey more difficult according to Thrillist which also includes the possibility of avalanches along the mountainous parts.
11 Trans-Siberian Highway - Unpaved Trade Route
Considered to be “One of the longest highways in the world” as stated by etags, it stretches from the city of Saint Petersburg in Russia all the way to Russia’s Pacific coastline city of Vladivostok. But while parts of it are paved, as the above image shows, some parts aren’t. Also, the road as a whole is poorly maintained due to its enormous length according to dangerousroads. This isn't helped further by various environmental hazards such as rain and snow which are pretty heavy during certain times of the year making this road all the more problematic in the process.
10 Karakoram Highway - Ill-Planned
Resting between Pakistan and China, Reader’s Digest states, this road is considerably the “Highest paved road in the world” due to its high elevation. Like the Guoliang Tunnel Road, many construction workers lost their lives when this road was constructed. Because the road makes its way through several canyons and mountain ranges, there is the natural risk of landslides which are a frequent issue in the region according to Reader’s Digest. It also doesn’t help that parts of the road aren’t built with barriers (which is noticeable in the above picture) while the elevation leads to altitude sickness and accidents.
9 Caucasus Pass - Windingly Narrow
To the north of the small country of Georgia lies Russia, though between the two countries' borders lie the Caucasus Mountains. Like the Rocky Mountains, they are renowned worldwide for their beauty. But just because they’re beautiful doesn’t mean they’re safe to travel on. Such is the case with this little-known road that has been dubbed “Caucasus Road” on various online sources. According to Infyworld, it connects the city of Sochi in Russia to Lake Ritsa in Georgia via the mountains. However, this road is extremely narrow and winding making it particularly unsafe “During snow or rain” etags says.
8 Federal Highway 1 - Amateurs and Cliffs
Stretching across the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico, this road is used by truck drivers to transport goods to “Remote towns and villages” in this part of the country according to Thrillist. While the stretch of road shown in this picture doesn’t look so bad, there are parts of this highway that are mountainous requiring the driver to skirt their way along steep cliffs. But the biggest concern of all is the high probability of running into reckless amateur drivers, which Thrillist claims is because in Mexico "Drivers don’t need to pass a driving test" to get a driver's license.
7 US Route 431 - Life in the Fast Lane
Running through the states of Kentucky and Alabama, this particular highway seems like any other in the United States at a glance. However, there has been a large number of accidents that have occurred along this road. This has been largely caused by the highway’s narrow lanes, despite converting from a two-lane highway into a four-lane one in recent years, and people driving pretty fast down this road in general forcing the driver to make quick decisions on their part. For this reason, this highway has come to be known as the “Highway to Hell” according to etags.
6 Karnali Highway - Too Much Dirt
In the western part of Nepal, there is a place called Jumla Airport. Located in the mountains, the only way to access it is this titular road, dangerousroads claims, which winds alongside the river it’s named after. However, this road has gained a lot of notoriety over the years due to how dangerous it is. As the picture above clearly shows, the whole thing is made of dirt. So as one might imagine, it gets pretty muddy during the rainy seasons making it a very difficult road to travel on. According to Thrillist, there are about 50 casualties each year.
5 A44 - Deceptively Clear
Like the A537, this one is also located in Britain. Running between two cities along the rolling hills and countryside, A44 appears to be nothing more than an average road as seen in the picture above. Yet at some point along this particular road, the side which the driver is supposed to be driving on changes according to etags. Then combined with being altered over the years, the unfamiliar driver is likely to be very confused when going down this road. In fact, the confusing nature of this road in general has led to many an accident as a result.
4 Khardung La Pass - On Top of the World
In the northern part of India that rests along the borders of Pakistan and China, there is a particular mountain road that has several different name pronunciations including “Khardong La” and “Khardzong La”. But more commonly, it’s known as Khardung La and is considered to be one of the highest passes that motorized vehicles can go on according to dangerousroads. With that said, it’s not exactly the safest. For instance, rockslides are a frequent problem as stated by etags. Plus, the road’s height is an issue too since dangerousroads says it goes past the level where Acute Mountain Sickness happens.
3 Canning Stock Route - Lots of Dust
While the James Dalton Highway was frigid and barren, this road is dry and barren. Located in the western desert regions of Australia, it’s considered to be “The world’s most remote road” according to Reader’s Digest. While it doesn’t take a genius to see why, based on the above picture, there are other factors that contribute to this road’s remoteness. One such example is the heat, which is especially bad during the summer. Then there is also the lack of frequent repairs to the road, given that it’s basically made of dirt, making it tempting for any would-be explorer.
2 Tizi-n-Test - Zipping Along
Between the plains of Morocco reside the Atlas Mountains, which are renowned for their beauty. So naturally, a tourist would be inclined to take this road as it’s one of the more scenic routes through these mountains. Yet apparently “Local drivers are known to whiz along it at frightening speeds” according to Reader’s Digest making the road potentially dangerous if one were to run into these types of drivers. Apart from that, the road has environmental hazards such as cliffs that are very steep along with possible "Landslides and avalanches" which tend to occur during the wintertime Reader’s Digest states.
1 Hana - Between the Earth and the Sea
From the Moroccan deserts, we now find ourselves on the coast of one of Hawaii’s lush green islands. In particular, Maui Island which has this designated area called Hana. As the picture shows, Hana is known for having a scenic route that curves along Maui’s coastline resting along the slopes of trees while not too far below the waves of the ocean lap the coast. For this reason, tourists like to come here despite the possibility of landslides which according to etags can “Happen at any moment”. So once again, caution is strongly advised despite the beauty of this road.
Resources: thrillist.com, rd.com, etags.com, dangerousroads.org, infyworld.com, huffpost.com