Roads are just like life. There are roads going up and some going down. There are blind curves and slippery turns. There are forks in road just like life. One must decide which way to choose, roads may lead to disasters and others lead to one’s destination. Our language is full of road-related metaphors. Speed bumps lead to setbacks on our way to success. Essentially roads are the instruments of entry and escape. They are signs of progress or the signs of the end.
All roads lead to somewhere. Just like in life, we must pay attention to the roads we are traveling. Some roads are built well others are rough. There are some roads built in the middle of cities and others built on some dangerous locations.
Here are 15 of the world’s most dangerous, hair-raising and not for the weak-hearted drivers roads.
The Leh-Manali Highway is literally carved in the mountains. This highway has its highest point at a dizzying 17,480 feet. Littered with numerous damaged stretches, the Leh-Manali Highway in Northern India is considered to be one of the most dangerous highways in the world. But there are good sides of the highway too. Funny and unusual road signs are strewn at the side of the highway can lessen the stress of weary drivers. Also, the highway offers the stunning views of snow-capped mountains and breath-taking drops.
This vertigo-inducing highway separates South Africa from Lesotho. Sani Pass will surely humble adventurous drivers that dared to travel in its roads with its winding gravel surface. The Pass starts at seemingly usual 5065 feet but it rises to 9435 feet at its summit. Full of dramatic turns and slopes, drivers and travelers alike can see the many remains of vehicles that failed to conquer the Pass.
Guoliang Tunnel was carved by 13 villagers from Guoliang. With sheer determination to break their isolation, these 13 succeeded in carving out a picturesque 1.2 kilometer tunnel out of the rocky Taihang Mountains. The tunnel provides access to the village and it has become a major tourist attraction which helped boost the economy of the village. Still, drivers and travelers are advised to be very vigilant in navigating the tunnel because it is full of sharp turns that can lead to a straight free fall down to their deaths.
Yungas claims 200 to 300 lives every year. Aptly named the “Death Road,” the road lacks guardrails to keep vehicles from the 600-meter drop. Rockfalls and narrow single lane also adds to the danger of this road. The 96-kilometer road connects the Amazon rainforest region to the country’s capital, La Paz. Yungas rises to 4,650 meters before sharply descending to 1,200 meters.
Rodovia da Morte
BR-116 is the second longest highway (4,610.21 km) in Brazil. Connecting Frotaleza to Jaguarao. The section that runs trough Sao Paulo is aptly named as the “Rodovia da Morte.” This is because this stretch leads the nation in road accidents and deaths. Dangerously clinging from the side of a mountain, the road is a challenge to traverse. With inclement of weather and slippery road surface, many vehicles fail to navigate this stretch. If drivers can successfully navigate this road, they also have to be careful about bandit attacks.
Nanga Parbat Pass
Nanga Parbat is the 9th highest mountain in the world reaching 26,600 feet. Built on the side of this mountain is the Nanga Parbat Pass. The path offers beautiful views but the path is also very deadly. Sections of the Pass are very dangerous that travelers are advised or forced to pass it on foot. The unpaved and uneven road very treacherous but still travelers flock to this Pass to get a glimpse of the Indus River skirting the base of the mountain and see the majestic Nanga Parbat as it rises and disappear in the clouds.
The Trans-Siberian Highway
The Trans-Siberian Highway will take travelers from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok (6,800 miles). The Highway is surrounded by lush forests, upward spiraling mountains, arid deserts and frozen tundra. One of the most scenic roads in world also offers many dangers. Drivers will pass through a number of inhospitable climates with extreme temperatures. Large potholes and unpaved sections also litters the longest highway in the world. Accidents and deaths are common on this highway.
Tianmen Mountain Road
The 7-mile Tianmen Mountain Road will take travelers to the top of the Tianmen Mountain. On the top, visitors can visit a natural rock hole named “Heaven’s Gate” that is said to be the link between the gods and the mortal world. Successful drivers will also be treated with the beautiful view of the Chinese landscape. But the way to the top is filled with hairpin turns and dangerous upward spirals. Many drivers have failed to navigate this road leading to their deaths.
Karakoram Highway snakes across the Karakoram mountain range at 15,397 feet to connect China with Pakistan. It is the highest paved international highway in the world. Over a thousand of both Chinese and Pakistani workers lost their lives in making the highway. Stuck between the mountain and a deadly fall, drivers are advised to drive slowly and carefully when navigating this treacherous highway.
Dades Gorges runs between the Atlas Mountains and Anti-Atlas mountain range. Offering the spectacular views of stunning vistas of Kasbahs nestled in desert settings amid the towering snow-capped peaks. The road runs 100 miles from Ouarzazate to Tineghir and the Todra Gorge. Many travelers are lulled to their death due to the roads unearthly silence. This outwordly pass offers a spectacular experience of the African lunarscape and its Martian rock formations. Making drivers think that they are driving in another planet or in another dimension.
Amalfi Coast Road
Transfăgărășan. Now say it more clearly, “Transfăgărășan!” The road’s difficult spelling and pronunciation is a preview of what motorists can expect from their drive there. The winding road is full of steep hairpin turns, long S-curves, and sharp descents. If that isn’t enough to scare drivers, the Poenari Fortress is also along the road. The eerie fortress is where Vlad The Impaler or more famously known Count Dracula terrified the Turkish invaders.
Trollstigen mountain road is the best way to view the majestic Nordic landscape. Rent a car and drive through the Trollstigen, that is if you dare challenge the dangerous road. With 9% steep incline and hairpin bends, this road is more akin to a roller-coaster ride than a sightseeing drive. It’s narrowness and its positioning, looking down the wide valley, can induce vertigo. Green drivers are not advised to challenge this road.
Running parallel to the Andes Mountains, Ruta 40 in western Argentina starts at sea level at Rios Gallegos. The RN40 eventually rises up to 16,404 feet in Abra del Acay, Salta. There are no cliffs to make this road dangerous but some stretches are unpaved which brings plenty of dangers for motorists. Every motorists planning to drive through the long stretch of RN40 are advised to make proper preparations because no help or aid can reach them if ever they meet an accident there. However the route provides plenty of sights, passing through 20 national parks, 18 major rivers and 27 passes on the Andes.
Another contender for the greatest driving road in the world before Top Gear declared Transfăgărăşan as the one was Stelvio Pass. The highest paved mountain pass in Eastern Alps, the Stelvio is also the second highest in the Alps. The Pass is located at 9045 feet in Italy. This road was build in 1820 to link the Austrian Empire’s Lombardia province to the rest of the country. The pass seventy-five turns give motorists a serious challenge. In fact, all major accidents (which is frequent) are all attributed to the Pass’ deadly curves.