Hairpins, sheer drops, tiny lanes and potholes…these are just some of the elements that make for a dangerous road. In some cases, all these are present along with the added risks of landslides, animals crossing the area and extremely poor visibility. But people still use it because sometimes, it is the only way through. Here is a list of the top 10 most dangerous roads in the world.
10. Rohtang Pass, India
Rohtang Pass in India is one of the highest roads in the world at four kilometers in altitude. This high mountain road on the eastern section of the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys in Himachal, Pradesh. The road is twisting and features steep drops and barren canyons. The road is unforgiving and motorists have to navigate through the curves slowly and carefully. The area features the ancient Ki-Gompa Monastery, which is the home for up to 250 monks.
9. Transfagarasanul Road, Romania
The Transfagarasanul Road in Romania is the second highest road in the entire European continent at an altitude of 2,040 meters. It stands out from other roads because it goes through the Carpathian Mountains, one of the highest, widest and rockiest, if not most impressive, mountain range in Eastern Europe. The area has several castles connected to vampire lore, though some were also used as prisons during the time when the communists still ruled the country.
8. Fairy Meadows Road, Pakistan
Fairy Meadows Road in Pakistan was built by locals in the area with not much support from the national government, so the structural integrity and engineering soundness may be somewhat questionable. It has a length of 10 kilometers and it leads to one of the highest peaks in the world, the Nanga Parbat. The road goes across the Indus River through the Raikot Bridge. As the road gets higher, the views may get better but the danger also increases. Rocks fall all the time and the single lane road does not have any shoulder for a motorist to park momentarily.
7. Los Caracoles, Chile and Argentina
Los Caracoles is a mountain pass between Chile and Argentina that goes through the Andes Mountains. It is very steep and features several tight switchbacks. The road has no barriers to protect the motorist from a fall. To add to the danger, ice and snow are constantly present throughout the year, making the road extremely slippery. Cargo trucks and buses frequently pass through here. To its credit, however, Los Caracoles has decent accident and death records, probably because it has been well maintained through the years.
6. Stelvio Pass Road, Italy
Stelvio Pass Road in Italy is located in the Italian Alps and connects Valtellina with Merano and the upper Adige Valley. This mountain pass is near Bormio and Sulden, just around 75 kilometers from Bolzano near Italy’s border with Switzerland. At an altitude of 2,757 meters, it is considered to be the second highest paved mountain pass in the Alps after the Col de I’lseran, which stands at 2,770 meters. It is the highest if only the Eastern Alps are considered. The road features 48 hairpins, making it one of the finest continuous hairpin routes in the area. It is much more dangerous if one is coming from the Prato side instead of the Bormio side. It is considered an engineering marvel because of its serpentine sections. It features spectacular views of the Ortier at the summit, as well as the glaciers of Trafoi and the peaks of the Zillertal in the main chain of the Alpines.
5. Halsema Highway, Philippines
Also known as the Baguio-Bontoc Road, Halsema Highway in the Philippines runs the Central Cordillera Valley. It starts off nicely enough with some slightly paved roads, but it quickly becomes a dirt road just a few kilometers in. Rock and mud slides are common in the area and the situation is exacerbated by dangerous bus drivers that rush through the narrow pass. Accidents and deaths occur regularly and evidenced by the sight of overturned buses along the route. Most of the highways lack any guard rail, which is dangerous considering that there are 1,000-feet dropoffs from its sheer cliffs. The highway is closed during the rainy season.
4. Tibet to Nepal Friendship Highway, China and Nepal
The Friendship Highway in China and Nepal is actually pretty manageable most of the time. it does feature several twists and drops, however. Measuring a thousand kilometers, the road has seven passes with heights of at least 3,500 meters, including one that goes up to 5,000 meters.
3. Guoliang Tunnel Road, China
The locals in the area built the Guoliang Tunnel Road in China. It is only 1,200 meters long, four meters wide and five meters high. Inaugurated in 1977, the road features tunnel walls with 30 windows of different shapes that serve as attractions. The valley below is not the only danger to the road, but also the rocks falling off the cliff up above.
2. Yakutsk Road, Russia
Yakutsk Road in Russia is the only road leading to the town of the same name. Major problems occur once rain starts because the road will turn into a mud blanket that is impassable even for the biggest trucks. The road’s mud can swallow up even tractors. Traffic can extend up to 100 kilometers as a result. In the most extreme of situations, the national government has taken to airlifting food and other necessities to Yakutsk as waiting for the road to clear up would take forever.
1. North Yungas Road, Bolivia
North Yungas Road in Bolivia is the most dangerous road for motorists. It covers 70 kilometers from the capital of La Paz to Coroico. It travels along the Bolivian Andes and features several hairpin curves.
Accidents are recorded at least once every two weeks. Up to 200 people die annually in fatal accidents along the road.
Visibility is limited because of the fog. The road itself is slippery especially when it rains. It is the only route in the area, so people travel on it regardless of the weather.