Are you ready for a road trip? How often do you get in the car, buckle your seatbelt and set off on your daily commute, to run an errand or leave for vacation without thinking twice about the road ahead? Chances are most of your drives fall on the safe side only requiring you to dodge a pothole here or there. But what if you had to travel more dangerous roads or navigate risky terrain?
Many countries like the United States and Canada have excellent roads and driving standards where most drivers only have to worry about weather conditions and other people on the road. This isn’t always the case, however, as some corners of the world are faced with extremely dangerous roads filled with crater-sized potholes and steep drop offs in addition to mudslides, blizzards and flash flooding that leave drivers gripping the steering wheel and holding on for dear life!
Out of the millions of roads in the world, which are the most dangerous and where are they located? Join us on an epic trip around the globe as we take a look at the 25 most dangerous roads in the world and uncover what makes them so scary! Are you ready for the ride of your life? Let’s hit the road!
#25 – A726 (Scotland)
Traveling to the beautiful country of Scotland for the first stop on our list, the A726 is one of Scotland’s busiest and most dangerous roads as it stretches from Strathaven through Glasglow before stopping at the Erskine Bridge. While parts of the road are considered safe, the A726’s deadliest section extends from Strathaven to Renfrewshire where accidents pile up in a matter of seconds as a result of blind turns and oversized vehicles that tend to drift across both lanes.
While local community councils have teamed up with Scotland’s transportation department to reduce the speed limit on sections of the twisting road, accidents continue to happen because of the road’s incredible disrepair. Marked by potholes, uneven lanes and no room for errors, the transportation department hasn’t found a safe way to close sections of the road to make repairs while giving drivers enough notice to slow down or turn around. And, with conditions like rain, snow and ice, the road’s risk factor only goes up.
#24 – U.S. Route 431 (United States)
Nicknamed Alabama’s “Highway to Hell,” the first of two stops in the United States is on the U.S. Route 431 that stretches from the Alabama-Tennessee line down the eastern side of the state all the way to Dothan, Alabama. While the road is in good condition compared to so many others on the list, its fear factor is through the roof as a result of poor visibility and blind curves, quick lane changes and speeding that plague thousands of drivers traveling on any section of its 353 miles.
One of the biggest distractions on the Highway to Hell as well as a constant reminder of its danger level is the hundreds of crosses that litter the sides of the road. Standing in all sizes and colors with everything from flowers, streamers and American flags around them, the crosses serve as memorials to all those who lost their lives on the highway. Facing the harsh reality and working diligently over the past decade to make the highway safer, the state of Alabama has increased police presence on the route but even that has only had a minimal impact.
#23 – Patiopoulo-Perdikaki Road (Greece)
Definitely not for the faint of heart, the only entrant on the list from Greece is also the country’s most dangerous – the Patiopoulo-Perdikaki Road, which we’ll call PPR for short. Located in the northeastern region of the village of Aetolia-Acarnania, the mountainous PPR begins at 2,300 feet above sea level and climbs to an altitude of over 3,800 feet in an extremely short 14.6 miles. With no markings to distinguish the narrow lanes, it’s no wonder why it takes nerves of steel for anyone to drive this stretch of road.
Despite offering beautiful views of the countryside, it’s nearly impossible to take in the scenery as drivers must pay close attention as they share the road with pedestrians, livestock, buses and other vehicles. To make matters worse, upkeep on the PPR is nonexistent but potholes prove to be the least of anyone’s concern. With no guardrails to protect drivers from the road’s steep drops or lights to mark the way at night, the driving conditions are nerve-wracking, to say the least, as the road offers little grip rain or shine.
#22 – Trans Siberian Highway (Russia)
Though we may be cheating here by listing the Trans-Siberian Highway, its seven roads stretching across Russia between the Baltic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean are some of the most notoriously dangerous in the country. Considered one of the longest roads in the world at nearly 7,000 miles, the highway was constructed by prison inmates with the majority of it being easy to navigate. The section between Chita and Khabarovsk is an entirely different matter, however, as it wasn’t finished until 2004 and has earned a reputation as the deadliest.
Typically covered in ice during Russia’s bitterly harsh winters and impassible mud in the rain-filled summers, the Trans-Siberian Highway is in terrible condition with many sections of the road left unpaved. Travelers are warned to only use the road between June and September and to never drive alone as the highway passes through some of the toughest environments from dense forests to long stretches of open land that offer no safe havens for those stranded or in need of rest, gasoline or food.
#21 – Vitim River Bridge (Russia)
Staying in Russia for the next dangerous road on our list, The Vitim River Bridge is much, much shorter than the nearly 7,000-mile-long Trans-Siberian Highway at only 1,870 feet. Built in the 1980s and once used by trains to cross the vast Vitim River, the bridge was opened to automobile traffic to give the small village of Kuanda easier access to neighboring towns. At only six feet wide, there are far safer routes for villagers to use today as surviving the bridge crossing has become quite the feat.
Constructed of wood planks and typically covered in ice due to Siberia’s harsh winters, the Vitim River Bridge is a slippery test of bravery. Lacking guardrails and barely wide enough for one car, there is no room for error as one wrong move can leave travelers on a 50-foot free fall into the murky waters of the river below. The stakes are high on this short stretch of road, which is exactly why 34 travelers who successfully navigated it are proud to share their stories of crossing one of the most spectacular bridges in the world.
#20 – Tianmen Mountain Road (China)
Looking like a dragon climbing the mountain from above, the Tianmen Winding Mountain Road is the first of two of the most dangerous roads in China and takes up nearly seven miles of the breathtaking Tianmen Mountain National Park. Construction on the road began in 1998 and was completed eight years later with 99 turns, 999 stairs and only a few feet between the road’s narrow edge and a deadly plunge down the dense mountainside.
Climbing 3,600 feet in a matter of miles, a section of the winding road also features a natural hole that takes drivers straight through the mountain itself. Though guardrails are strategically placed for added protection in all weather and road conditions, drivers are encouraged to keep their eyes on the road and make the climb slow in order to reach the beautiful natural rock arch known as “Heaven’s Gate” at the top. Those looking for a safer route to the top can hop on a cable car in the city where they can sit back, relax and enjoy the view.
#19 – Commonwealth Avenue (Philippines)
If it doesn’t climb any mountains, pass through harsh terrain or offer dozens of blinding turns, what exactly makes Commonwealth Avenue the most dangerous road in the Philippines? Nicknamed by locals as the “Killer Highway,” the avenue is the widest road in the country that extends from six to 18 lanes across 7.7 miles in the heart of the bustling and chaotic Quezon City whose population is bursting at the seams with nearly 2.8 million residents.
Despite being in good physical condition, Commonwealth Avenue sees a high volume of traffic with absolutely no laws or regulations that lead to hundreds of accidents each year. With no traffic signals or any semblance of order, cyclists and pedestrians take matters into their own hands as they have no other option but to jump in front of moving traffic. Because of this, the short stretch of road sees around five serious accidents per day with public transportation vehicles as one of the primary causes due to careless driving at notoriously dangerous speeds.
#18 – Cotopaxi Volcano Road (Ecuador)
Known as being home to some of the worst roads in the world, Ecuador doesn’t disappoint with the deadly Cotopaxi Volcano Road that is nestled among one of the highest active volcanoes on the planet. Seeing dozens of eruptions over the last 250 years from the Cotopaxi, the winding dirt road leads to the Cotopaxi National Park and requires adventurous travelers to dodge deceptively deep potholes and navigate bridgeless streams without ever taking their eyes off the road.
Surrounded by hundreds of valleys formed by the volcano, the road itself is 25 miles long and requires every driver’s complete concentration as any amount of rain causes nearby streams and potholes to flood making the road impassible and even deadly. While natives to the area are well aware of the dangers, tourists brave enough to venture to the region are most susceptible to accidents as they naively misjudge the road all for the chance of getting a better view of the terrifying and intimidating Cotopaxi Volcano.
#17 – North Yungas Road (Bolivia)
Officially named La Carretera de los Yungas, Bolivia’s North Yungas Road has long earned the nicknames of “Death Road” and “The Road of Fate” thanks to its tragic and devastating history. Stretching across 35 miles of dense jungle from La Paz to Corioco through massive hills and winding turns, the North Yungas Road was once known as the “World’s Most Dangerous Road” as it caught many unprepared travelers off guard and claimed as many as 300 lives per year.
While the rest of Bolivia drives on the right side of the road, the one-lane North Yungas Road requires drivers to hug the left corner in order to get better views of the daunting edges of the cliffs. The fall and winter seasons are the worst for traveling the 35-mile stretch as rain and fog create limited visibility with no guardrails to protect cars from veering over the edge. To make the situation worse, the jungle’s frequent downpours cause mudslides and falling rock that make an already treacherous road even more dangerous.
#16 – BR-116 (Brazil)
Brazil’s own version of the “Highway to Hell” and the “Highway of Death,” the BR-116 federal highway is over 2,700 miles long and runs the coast of the country from Fortaleza to Jaguarao. Considered one of Brazil’s most important and longest highways, the BR-116 is like many other roads on our list and has its fair share of winding sections and anxiety-inducing obstacles. So what makes it one of the most dangerous highways in the country?
The BR-116 is one of the busiest highways and major thoroughfares for truckers traveling through Brazil. Usually tired and ready to make their next stop to get home, truckers typically speed on the winding road as the turf drastically changes from paved to unpaved sections with steep cliffs, no guardrails and blind corners. As a result, semi-trucks have caused some of the most devastating head-on collisions all because of fatigue, careless driving and poor road conditions.
#15 – Federal Highway 1 (Mexico)
If you’ve ever traveled to sunny California, then you surely know about the congested, chaotic and dangerous Interstate 5. However, things get even scarier when Interstate 5 makes the jump into Tijuana, Mexico and becomes Federal Highway 1. Officially known as the Transpeninsular Highway and running over 1,000 miles from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas, the mostly two-lane road is a breeding ground for accidents as twists and turns through mountains offer stunning views of the coast while travelers narrowly escape potholes and other obstacles.
With absolutely no road signs, shoulders and even some areas missing lane markers, the Federal Highway 1 is a perfect recipe for disaster. Drivers speeding along the open road often get distracted as they round blind curves only to see another car approaching head-on. The mountainous sections offer little relief as the road narrows leaving truck drivers and larger vehicles to take up more room than usual. Just seeing the hundreds of guardrails split open as a result of accidents is enough to make anyone slow down and take caution.
About 1.3 million people die in traffic accidents every year. The World Health Organization has declared 2011-2021, "A decade of action for road safety."
But while many of those deaths could be prevented by better driving, there are some roads that test the skill, and courage, of any driver. Whether it's hairpin bends, sheer mountain drops or roads through war zones, here are some of the world's most dangerous roads.
Death rating: 1/10
Some roads look a lot more dangerous than they really are. But that doesn't mean it's OK to admire the alpine scenery instead of the route ahead.
With more hairpins than Helena Bonham Carter, the Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps looks like a child's scribble over the hills. Don't be fooled.
The road climbs almost two kilometers and, with just a low concrete barrier between you and the steep mountain drop, it's best not to look down. A bit too much speed on one of the road's 60 180-degree corners could spell disaster.
Death rating: 2/10
These steep, dizzying bends slalom through the Andes between Uspallata in Argentina and Los Andes in Chile. The remote location, its elevation of 3,176 meters and the procession of articulated lorries make the drive even more frightening.
There's no safety barrier either.
Nonetheless, even tourist coaches use the road, at least when it's not cut off by snow in winter. An easier option is to go by air or take the Transandine Railway -- if it's ever brought back into service.
Death rating: 5/10
In a country that experiences an average of 11,650 traffic accidents a year, it's no wonder that Croatia also makes it onto the Association for Safe International Road Travel's list of some of the world's most dangerous roads.
Congestion and speeding are a problem along the Adriatic coastal roads, which are infamous in the region for their blind corners, sharp bends that cling to the cliff face as well as a frequent lack of safety barriers.
Death rating: 6/10
This scenic country road through England's Peak District was named by the Road Safety Foundation in 2010 as the United Kingdom's most dangerous road, with 34 fatal or serious accidents from 2006 to 2008.
Many of the casualties are motorcyclists, who come to enjoy the wide open space and bucolic scenes.
However, the road's treacherous bends, edged by steep embankments and stone walls, make it far more dangerous than it looks, leading to its grim local nickname, the "widow-maker."
Death rating: 6/10
The Guoliang Tunnel road in China's Henan province is scary enough for today's drivers, but for the Chinese villagers who hacked this 1.2-kilometer tunnel along the edge of the Taihang mountains in 1972, it proved deadly.
Some of them perished during construction, which was done mainly with hand tools. Four meters wide and five meters high, the tunnel also has some open edges over a rocky precipice so its nickname, "the road that does not tolerate mistakes," is pretty apt.
Death rating: 7/10
The Zoji La is a mountain road between Kashmir and Ladakh and it looks like little more than a dusty pathway through the western Himalayas.
But it's a lifeline that keeps the people of Ladakh in touch with the rest of the world, although it's often cut off by heavy snow in winter.
The nine-kilometer stretch of road meanders over the mountain at 3,528 meters, with no barrier on one side and just the hard rock face on the other. Definitely not for anyone suffering from vertigo or a fear of landslides.
Death rating: 7.5/10
The Karakoram highway links China and Pakistan at the Khunjerab Pass, at an altitude of 4,693 meters. It's prone to landslides and floods and to make matters worse, the road is unpaved in Pakistan.
But it is still a tourist attraction, passing through some spectacular gorges along the old Silk Road.
It has been named the "Friendship Highway" by the governments who built it, despite 810 Pakistani and 82 Chinese workers losing their lives during construction, mostly in landslides.
Death rating: 8/10
Most Iraqi roads are dangerous at the moment, but Highway 80, from Kuwait City to Basra in Iraq, went down in history as the "Highway of Death" in the first Gulf War when a retreating column of Iraqi tanks and trucks was bombed by U.S. aircraft in February 1991, destroying 2,700 vehicles.
The death toll has never been accurately established and estimates vary from 300 to 10,000. The end of the war came just days after images of burnt-out vehicles and charred bodies were broadcast around the world.
Death rating: 8.5/10
Once declared by the Inter-American Development Bank as the most dangerous road in the world, the route from La Paz to Coroico drops (3.5 kilometers over 65 kilometers) steeply enough to give even Charlie Sheen cause to pause and rethink his next move.
While it's become a playground for adventure cyclists, the dangers are real. Local trucks and overcrowded buses still ply, and quite often fly off, the route, with 200-300 fatalities a year.
Death rating: 9.5/10
Many roads have been dubbed "most dangerous," but the 65-kilometer stretch of highway from Jalalabad to Kabul has more claim than most, snaking through Taliban territory.
But it's not the threat of insurgency that makes Highway 1 so dangerous -- it's a combination of the narrow, winding lanes that climb up to 600 meters through the Kabul gorge and the reckless Afghan drivers trying to overtake the heavily-burdened haulage trucks.
Fatal crashes are a daily occurrence