So you drifted your Scion FRS on a couple of mountain backroads and you think you’re a daredevil? Well, strap in. Because I’m going to tell you about 8 of the world’s most dangerous roads that would make Evel Knievel wet his pants.
One of these mean streets is blasted through the side of a Chinese mountain, and another one gets covered by up to 50 feet of snow! These roads are not for the faint of heart. So, get comfortable, because these are the most crazy dangerous roads on the planet!
North Yungas Road, Bolivia
So to start off our list, we have to go with what’s widely regarded as the most dangerous road in the world! Literally, it’s been nicknamed “The Death Road“. And if that’s not enough to make you steer clear of this Bolivian death-bringer, you should know that more than 200 people slide to their deaths on this road every single year. You’d think after a while they’d just shut the whole thing down, but no. More people drive on the North Yungas from La Paz to Coroico, and more people die.
So what makes this road so dangerous? Well, it’s 50-mile stretch with only one lane for starters. Not to mention there’s over 200 hairpin turns. You slip up on one of those turns, and you’re looking at a 3,000-foot drop straight into the Amazonian rainforest.
So you’d think people would drive pretty cautiously on the North Yungas, right? Wrong. Buses and trucks alike fly down this road with reckless abandon, and shrug off any Toyota Hilux’s they send flying over the edge. So unless you have a serious deathwish, it’s probably better to steer clear of the North Yungas.
Dalton Highway, USA
If you’ve ever seen the History Channel show Ice Road Truckers, you probably know it’s best to swipe left when it comes to driving in Alaska. But the absolute worst road in the whole frozen state, is Dalton Highway. This road was built to support the Prudhoe Bay oil fields in the northern slopes of Alaska,and for repairs to the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline.
Dalton Highway is a long, barren stretch of nothing but ice and snow for 414 miles, with three tiny towns and not a single medical facility along the way. And with how slick the pavement gets with all that snowfall, truckers making the trip up to the oil fields are advised to bring plenty of survival gear.
The bright side is that if you’re an owner-operator of a freight truck in Alaska, you could be earning up to $200,000 a year, ut with all that risk involved, I’m just not sure it’s worth it. What I’m basically saying is… those guys on Ice Road Truckers are out of their minds.
Guoliang Tunnel Road, China
We get it, sometimes you’ve got to take matters into your own hands, But having 13 villagers with zero road-building experience blast a tunnel through the side of a mountain is just pure insanity. Basically, when the Chinese government refused to build a road to access a village of just 300 people, the villagers stacked up on dynamite and started blasting holes through the Taihang Mountains. And it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that several of these villagers unfortunately lost their lives in the process.
Today, this road is one of the most dangerous in the world due to the windows that they cut out of the mountainside. And while these windows offer stunning views of the landscape, they also make it extremely easy to slide off the side of a cliff. Whoever named this treacherous tunnel knew it, too, since guoliang literally means “road that tolerates no mistakes” in English.
The tunnel itself is only 15 feet high and 12 feet wide, which is barely big enough for two cars to pass through. Apparently, though, that hasn’t discouraged tourists who need that perfect Insta pic, because people flock to the Guoliang Tunnel every year for those beautiful mountain views. But if you’re planning to go to this remote corner of China, probably better to do the tunnel on foot.
Commonwealth Avenue, Philippines
No, this road isn’t high up in the mountains, it isn’t littered with hairpin turns, and it isn’t guarded by fire-breathing dragons. Nothing like that. What makes Commonwealth Avenue so dangerous is people. Southeast Asia in general has a reputation for crazy drivers, but this road in particular is the worst of the worst.
High volume traffic and unbelievably reckless driving on this 18-laner leads to thousands of deaths every year on Commonwealth Ave. You got big tour buses unable to see the hordes of motorcyclists around them. You got pedestrians walking right through the middle of traffic trying to sell stuff to drivers. You name it. Oh, and with the poor drainage, Commonwealth Ave looks like an extended swimming pool during the Philippines’s rainy season.
Overall, this road is just a recipe for disaster. And yeah, renting a motorbike in the Philippines is crazy cheap, but if you end up driving on Commonwealth Ave, the real price might be your life.
Fairy Meadows Road, Pakistan
The name of Nanga Parbat Road in Pakistan translates in English to Fairy Meadows, that’s about as misleading as the name Guinea Pig or Koala Bear. Koalas aren’t bears and guinea pigs aren’t pigs. Mind blown. But seriously, “Fairy Meadows” sounds like a place where children hold hands and sing nursery rhymes, not where cars slip off 8,000-foot-high cliffs into jagged rocks.
Fairy Meadows Road is only 10 miles long, but those 10 miles are truly fear-inspiring. The road itself is probably the width of a single Jeep Wrangler, and that’s one of the only vehicles I’d consider taking on this road, because it is horribly maintained. I’m not talking a few potholes, this death-trap is 100% gravel. And there isn’t one single guardrail keeping you from toppling over the edge.
Everything about this road is straight-up terrifying, but if you do manage to make it to the other side, you’re going to see some incredible views that actually do justice to the name “Fairy Meadows” in a non-ironic way.
Kabul-Jalalabad Highway, Afghanistan
This highway stretches between the cities of, you guessed it, Kabul and Jalalabad in Afghanistan. It’s one of the most important strategic routes in the country for trade, humanitarian aid, and transporting Afghan refugees. So, unfortunately, there’s a whole lot of people driving this road every day. And drivers on this highway are up against more than just the narrow mountain passes and speeding freight trucks, this is an area frequently patrolled by members of the Taliban.
Nicknamed the “Valley of Death”, attacks in this region are very common. But there’s no time to look over your shoulder for attackers if you’re driving this highway, not slamming into reckless Afghan drivers with F1 aspirations is hard enough. Not to mention the multi-ton haulage trucks that get stuck on the road’s steep hills and sometimes even roll backwards.
I doubt that many of you reading this article are planning a vacation to Afghanistan, but if by chance you are, try to avoid this dangerous drive.
Atlantic Road, Norway
If you’ve seen that new movie Looks That Kill, then you basically understand what Atlantic Road is all about. This is one of the most scenic drives in all of Europe, but that beauty comes at a price. The five-mile highway stretches through the islands of Kristiansund and Molde (yes, I know Molde is a terrible name for a beautiful island), and there are 8 different bridges that can be seriously deadly if you drive them on the wrong day.
If you get caught on one of these bridges in the middle of a storm, you’re going to experience some intense winds, and you might even get a giant wave smacking into the side of your car. Doesn’t sound like much fun.
The area surrounding Atlantic Road is absolutely gorgeous, but I’d definitely recommend keeping your eyes on the road ahead of you. Because aside from the dangerous bridges, there are numerous sharp curves, and apparently sometimes you’ll get a few fisherman walking down the middle of the highway. I don’t know, must be a Norweigan thing.
Zoji La Pass, India
Anytime you build a road through the world’s largest mountain range, you really can’t expect it to be all that safe. And India’s Zoji La Pass, which stretches right through the cliffs of the Himalayas, is certainly not safe by any stretch of the imagination. Originally built for military vehicles back in 1947, it seems like this road has since been pretty much abandoned by the Indian government.
It’s entirely made of dirt, with zero guardrails, no traffic signs, and the howling winds of the Himalayas threatening to blow you over the edge at any moment. But at the very least, they’re responsible enough to close this road down in the winter, when 50-foot snowdrifts cover the road to the neck.
So, if driving through the Himalayas is on your bucket list, definitely better to wait for the summer months.