The most deadly highways in the world have been revealed in an interactive map by Driving Experiences. The map is based on the World Health Organisation’s global status report on world safety for 2013.
The always cited North Yungas Road in Bolivia is included in the list, tellingly often referred to as the Death Road, and perhaps more surprising so has Scotland’s A726. All the roads have been given a rigorously monitored fear factor score out of 10 to rank them. The list includes cliff top single track roads, some laden with bandits and others with deadly drops. Memorise this list, and avoid, or proceed, depending on your disposition.
Bruce Highway, Queensland, Oz – 4/10
In your average year the Bruce Highway accounts for 17% of the national highway deaths in Australia. Although you do have to bear in mind that the road is more than 1,500km long. The main danger is illegal and dangerous overtaking, so watch yourself. You might not see anyone for a while, be lured into a false sense of security and boom, you weren’t looking. And do remember, in Australia it’s illegal to drive with any of your body parts out of the car.
US Route 431, Alabama, USA – 4/10
Thanks to the poor visibility, speeding and sudden lane changes, the ‘Highway to Hell’ is flanked with crosses to commemorate the many victims of the stretch.. More than 33,800 people die in the States every year on the roads – making it the fourth riskiest country for you to get in a car.
A726, Scotland – 4/10
Just 7km of road renowned for head-on collisions and more than 40 fatalities – most involving pedestrians or cyclists. The twisty roads combined with the amount of people leaving and joining make it a risky spot.
Trollstigen, Norway – 5/10
Sometimes called the ‘troll ladder’ Norway’s Trollstigen Road comprises many hairpin bends and sheer drops that are particularly treacherous in icy conditions. Mad inclines, 11 hairpin bends and narrow passes contribute to the nation’s 208 annual road deaths.
Pan-American Highway, USA / South America – 6/10
High temperatures, landslides, livestock on the road and sections that are impassable in wet weather have got this road its spot on the list. The road passes through 10 countries and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest motorable road in the world at 30,000 miles.
Commonwealth Avenue, Philippines – 6/10
Known in the Philippines as the ‘Killer Highway’, this road in Quezon City has extremely heavy traffic which casues 100s of accidents among cyclists, pedestrians and cars every year. There are more than 6,941 road deaths in the Philippines annually. Beware.
Patiopoulo-Perdikaki Road – 6/10
Super steep with huge potholes, loose gravel and sheer drops with no guards, the Patiopoulo-Perdikaki Road is an adrenaline junkies dream. You’d think a road like this would be best avoided, but oh no, pedestrians, livestock, cars and motorbikes are all over the place. If you really want to risk your life for no apparent reason – ride it at night, there are no lights to guide your way at all.
N2, South Africa – 6/10
Also known as the Settlers Freeway, the N2 in South Africa is the most dangerous stretch of road in the country. The main danger is the crazy ass drivers not giving enough care and attention to navigate the road correctly. Drivers here care not for the rules of the road, contributing to 13,768 deaths annually.
Federal Highway 1, Mexico – 6/10
Featuring sheer drops into the sea, winding roads and drivers with dangerous overtaking manoeuvres this wild snake of a highway is an unpredictable nightmare for the many freight trucks, buses and cars that pass it every day. Watch out for the other drivers – in 6 Mexican states you don’t need to pass a test to drive a car. Good luck.
Bakhchysarai Highway, Ukraine – 6/10
With snow and ice to contend with in the winter months, those steep drops along the route do not seem as fun as the average adrenaline junkie may have at first thought. The road is 77km of 50 spectacular hairpin bends and stunning scenery. Even if you start out thinking it’s a pussy of a route, wait till you get to the peaks and then let’s watch you freeze your ass off. And watch out for those dodgy policemen after a bribe too.
Nairobi-Nakuru Highway, Kenya – 7/10
The Nakuru Road stretch is notorious as a top spot for drink drivers, and combined with speeding, poor overtaking skills, and pedestrians wandering into the road this is one dangerous place to be. In one year 320 people were killed on the highway alone.
James Dalton Highway, USA – 7/10
Also known as Haul Road, the James Dalton Highway is known for the high winds that blast in carrying small rocks to the isolated location. This is the third most dangerous highway in the world stretching 414 miles from Fairbanks to the North Slope of Alaska. A helicopter now patrols the road to try and stop it contributing to the 2,889 USA road deaths per year.
Guoliang Tunnel Road, China – 7/10
It wasn’t a good start for this road – several villagers died during construction and the deaths haven’t stopped since. The villagers cut the throughway out of the side of the mountain and now cars must pass slowly to avoid the steep drops, tunnel twists, turns and dips. The road name’s literal translation reads: ‘Road that tolerates no mistakes’. If that’s not a stark warning I don’t know what is.
Taroko Gorge Road, Taiwan – 7/10
With blind bends, narrow roads, mountain drops and every type of transport possible vying for space, the Taroko Gorge Road is one of the most dangerous in Taiwan. Heavy typhoons and seismic activity only add to the danger that contributes to 96,611 road deaths in Taiwan every year. Not as ‘Magnificient and Splendid’ as the translated name suggests.
The Pasubio Road, Italy – 7/10
An ancient road that the government have tried to shut down to save the residents from themselves. The stretch is famous for its incredible views, and the 52 hand carved tunnels and crazy driving conditions. Definitely not helped by motorists rubbernecking at the beautiful scenery.
Skippers Canyon Road, New Zealand – 7/10
You’ll need a permit to drive this badass mountain road, it’s that scary. The narrow road means that if two cars need to pass the driver may have to reverse up to 3km to create enough space for both vehicles. New Zealand only has 375 annual road deaths, so comparatively is a safe place to drive around, although that’s 375 too many in my eyes.
Trans Siberian Highway, Russia – 8/10
Maintaining such a huge stretch of road is pretty much impossible, and so they don’t. The Trans-Siberian Highway conditions vary greatly from well-surfaced highway to a dirt track. You’ll definitely need a good selection of survival supplies if you fancy adding this road to your travel repertoire as heavy rain and severe winters make it even more difficult to navigate. There are more than 26,567 annual road deaths in Russia – the fifth most dangerous place for motorists in the world.
Zoji La, India – 8/10
A high mountain pass located on the Indian National Highway in the Himalayas, 3,258 metres above sea level. There are dangerously narrow and muddy or icy (or both) laden roads littered with cars and overturned buses. The road helps to contribute to more than 105,725 road deaths a year.
Ruta 5 – Chile – 8/10
The Atacama Desert is one of the driest in the world, and the national highway Ruta 5 travels right through it. Strong winds, no petrol stations, boredom and huge gusts of wind are the biggest killers here. If that’s not enough, a heavy fog can suddenly appear, blinding drivers and causing them to literally fall off the road.
BR-116, Brazil – 8/10
This is a very poorly maintained stretch of road known as the Rodovia de Morte,or ‘Highway of Death’. Thousands die on it every year and there are gangs and bandits stationed along the way. There are more than 37,594 annual road deaths in Brazil and according to Brazilian law, if someone is killed in a car accident, they still need to be breathalysed. Definitely wouldn’t fancy that job.
Nanga Parbat Pass, Pakistan – 9/10
Treacherous high altitude with unstable and narrow mountain roads mean the translated name of ‘Fairy Meadows Road’ does not suit this risky bypass. Drive this one and you’ll need to ascend a 6-mile unpaved and uneven road, without barriers. You’ll get some great photos though, beautiful spot!
Death Road, Bolivia – 10/10
Over 40 miles of single track road that meanders around cliffs with no barriers to protect the drivers going in different ways from the deadly drops. Cycling the so-called ‘world’s most dangerous road’ is now one of the most popular activities for backpackers in Bolivia. Crazy fools.