From dangerous hairpin turns to avalanches, ice and extreme roadrage, we count the 10 most dangerous roads in the world.
10. The Paso Internacional Los Libertadores, Chile
Known locally as Los Caracoles or Snails Pass, The Paso Internacional Los Libertadores, is a very dangerous road. It connects the Chilean capital Santiago with Mendoza city in Argentina and winds precariously through the Andes mountain range. The road is notoriously slow at peak times due to heavy congestion and the difficult hairpin turns. Ice and snow makes the road slippery and there is constant threat of rockfall.
9. Guoliang Road, China
The Guoliang Road in the Henan Province of China is carved through the outer edge of the Taihang Mountains. The construction of this perilous road began in 1972 in an effort to create access to the isolated village of Guoliang. Using only hammers and chisels, 13 villagers slowly etched their way through the steep cliff face, sometimes taking 3 days just to carve out 1 metre (3.28 feet). Originally built to accommodate the locals, the road now sees heavy traffic as the town has become a popular tourist attraction. Large busses share the narrow road with cars and pedestrians alike. If a bus failed to break in time is could plough through hundreds of holidaymakers and plummet into the ravine below.
8. Karakoram Highway, Pakistan
Karakoram Highway in Pakistan is one of the highest paved roads in the world. It is often referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World because it was so difficult and dangerous to construct. The highway, which links Pakistan to China is known for its uneven and slippery surface. In 2010, the highway was closed after a massive landslide destroyed part of the road and dammed off a section of the surrounding land. Monsoon rains quickly filled the area with water, creating a lake 22 kilometres in length and 100 metres in depth in less than 1 week. The water eventually overflowed, destroying parts of several nearby villages.
7. James Dalton Highway, Alaska
The James Dalton Highway was built in 1974 as a supply road to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. Featured on the television series Ice Road Truckers this is truly one of the world’s most dangerous roads. Fuel stops are scarce and there are only 3 towns along the route with less than 30 residents in each. Truckers are advised to carry their own medical supplies and survival gear as a breakdown in this sparsely populated area could be disastrous. Drivers are even warned to be on alert for hungry polar bears that have been known to attack humans whilst wandering along the highway.
6. North Yungas Road, Bolivia
Also known as the Road of Death, the North Yungas Road in Bolivia is one of the most dangerous roads in the world. It is estimated that it claims the lives of as many as 300 travellers every year. The road, which winds its way around some of the most treacherous mountains in the Yungas region of Bolivia, is mostly single lane and has very few guard rails. Make one false move and you risk tumbling down cliffs that are up to 600 metres high. Extreme weather conditions make the road even more dangerous as heavy rain, fog and dust severely affect visibility.
Local rules dictate that the downhill driver never has right of way and must move to the outer edge of the road to allow oncoming traffic to pass. Because the road is so narrow traffic must drive on the left-hand side, the opposite side to the rest of Bolivia, so the driver can see how close the wheels of their vehicle are to the edge of the cliff.
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