The 10 most dangerous roads in the world

Published on May 09, 2022 at 10:55 AM (UTC+4)
by Patrick Jackson

Last updated on May 17, 2022 at 3:25 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Kate Bain

The 10 most dangerous roads in the world

While the streets most of us drive on every day are smooth and straight, some roads out there in the world are so dangerous you need nerves of steel to drive them.

From blind corners on remote stretches to vertical drop-offs with no safety barriers, here are the top 10 most dangerous roads in the world.

You don’t want to risk driving any of these on your next holiday!

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10. Amalfi Coast, Italy

Italy’s beautiful Amalfi Coast is a top holiday destination, but its narrow, winding coastal roads are super sketchy for drivers who don’t know the area.

Handing over the keys and opting to go by coach is not much better.

Buses come across each other and are unable to pass – as you can see in the video above.

Fortunately, these drivers are usually skilled enough to reverse back to suitable overtaking spots, but it’ll have you glad you aren’t the one behind the steering wheel.

The route is known for its hairpin turns and zigzags with stomach-churning drops from its clifftops.

9. Passage du Gois, France

Passage du Gois looks innocent at first, with no sketchy corners or big drops.

But there’s a very real risk you could drown if you cross this road at the wrong time of day.

The causeway, which links the French town of Beauvoir-sur-Mer to the island of Noirmoutier, is flooded twice a day at high tide as the road runs across the Atlantic Ocean.

It stretches across 4.2 kilometres (2.6 miles), and can only be driven one and half hours after and before low tide.

The road is famous for being part of the 1999 and 2011 Tour de France.

8. James W. Dalton Highway, Alaska, USA

Anyone who’s watched shows like Ice Road Truckers will know how dangerous conditions can be when it’s cold.

In Alaska, even national highways like the Dalton Highway (Route 11) can be treacherous.

Built as a supply route to Alaska’s crude oil pipeline system, just three tiny towns line the 414-mile road.

Regular snowstorms could see you stranded out here with no sign of help.

Truck drivers hauling supplies can easily break through the ice.

7. Rohtang Pass, India

Although on foot, Rohtang Pass isn’t the most challenging Himalayan route, the road’s reputation for unpredictable blizzards are super dangerous.

Regularly used as a military route for equipment and supplies, huge traffic jams are common as big trucks struggle to get around tight switchbacks.

This only compounds the problems the weather creates.

Just look at the videos to see how much snow can drop. The blizzards create blindspots, and snow can cave in on drivers beneath it.

The route is so dangerous – and has environmental impacts, too – that a bypass tunnel was built in 2020.

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6. Karakoram Highway, Pakistan

Part of the Silk Road and considered the highest-altitude sealed road in the world, the Karakoram Highway is an important link between Pakistan’s capital and China.

At that altitude, anything can go wrong.

Just days ago a key bridge was completely washed away after a glacial lake melted and sent huge amounts of water downstream.

The road has many other dangers.

Landslides are common and with giant mountains dropping boulders onto cars below.

The highway is about 1300km (more than 800 miles) and is up to 4693 meters (about 15,000 feet) in altitude.

Landslide on the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan
Image: Zimbres (CC BY-SA 3.0)

It took just shy of 20 years to complete between 1959 and 1978, and weaves “through some of the most rugged and inaccessible terrain in Asia”, according to Britannica.

In October 2018, a bus rolled down a gorge while taking one of its treacherous turns, killing 17 people, Insider reported.

A month before that, a woman died when a landslide wiped out her van.

But numerous fatalities have been happening along the passage since it was constructed.

5. Guoliang Tunnel, China

The “road of death” is hand-carved into the side of a mountain.

Guoliang Tunnel connects the village of Guoliang to the greater Xinxiang prefecture.

One lane wide, it was carved by villagers in the 1970s without the use of any power tools, reportedly working only with hammers and chisels.

Measuring 1.2km long (0.7 miles), progress to complete it was as slow as one foot per day.

With no guard rails along the side, the sheer cliff drop off the side would make even the bravest driver panic.

The passage is so infamous that it has earned the nickname: “The road that tolerates no mistakes.”

4. Skippers Road, New Zealand

This scenic gorge north of Queenstown, New Zealand was once a busy gold mining area, and like many mining areas was accessed by a particularly sketchy road.

Unsealed, narrow, steep, one lane wide and flanked by sheer cliff drops, it’s no wonder rental car insurance isn’t honored when driving on Skippers Road.

It was built between 1883 and 1890, during which workers on ropes had to dangle over the Shotover River.

“One three-kilometre stretch of the road involved hand drilling and blasting solid rock to create a platform 183 metres (600 feet) above the Shotover River,” New Zealand’s tourism website says.

In fact it is so dangerous that rental car insurance will not cover drivers if they choose to make the trip along the road, the New Zealand Herald reported.

3. Zoji La, India

Avalanches are a constant threat on the infamous Zoji La. There are no barriers to stop you sliding down the steep cliffs around it, and the surface is loose.

The snow is so heavy it can be more than 20m deep at times

That’s why part of India’s National Highway 1 is only open during the warmer months as snowfall completely blocks access in winter.

However, the warmer months don’t make the road any easier.

The road is littered with overturned buses and trucks, livestock, and surrounded by cliff edges that are 11,500ft above sea level.

In 2012, 11 tourists died when their vehicle skidded off the road and into a gorge.

Like with Rohtang Pass, a tunnel has been commissioned to cut the journey from three hours to a mere 15 minutes, and to make the important route accessible during winter.

2. Bayburt D.915, Turkey

The best way Turkey’s route D.915 can be described is as all the most dangerous things from this list, plus some thick fog so you can’t see.

A truly deadly road, it’s unsealed, narrow, bumpy, and surrounded by vertical drops.

One wrong move here can genuinely be life or death.

It’s 106 kilometres (65 miles) long and has 29 steep hairpins, with no railings.

The weather is severe, if it’s not raining and muddy it can be snow-covered or hit by blasts of fierce winds. It’s for experienced drivers only.

However, there’s one road even more deadly than this crazy Turkish route…

1. Carretera a los Yungas, Bolivia

Known as the ‘Road of Death’, Yungas Road has become infamous for its incredibly high fatality rate.

Fatality markers and makeshift memorials line every corner of the road.

About 300 people a year die on this stretch, making it the world’s most dangerous road.

To drive along here, you’ll really need to have no fear at all.

According to the BBC, it has “a sharp 3,500m (about 11,500ft) descent”, with sections of the road measuring only 2.7m (9 feet) wide.

Imagine trying to pass a bus heading right at you with that much space!

The edge of narrow sections wash away in the rain, leaving dozens of cars and buses to plummet down the edge of cliffs that can be nearly 1km tall (3000 feet).

It’s known around the world as the “Road of death”.


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Patrick Jackson

A car zealot from a young age, Patrick has put his childhood spent obsessing over motoring magazines and TV shows to good use over the past six years as a journalist. Fuelled by premium octane coffee, he’s contributed to Finder, DriveTribe, WhichCar, Vehicle History and Drive Section.