You might think you are a great driver, but what would you do on those terrifying roads and highways with hairpin turns and steep drops? From winding, winding roads carved into the side of a mountain to unprotected and avalanche-prone passes over rough terrain, these white-knuckle roads will make everyone choose to walk instead. This list includes some of the most dangerous roads in the world.
1. Killar to Pangi Road, via Kishtwar
- Location: India
- Length: 70.8 miles (114 kilometers)
- Maximum Elevation: 8,280 feet (2,524 meters)
- Dangers: Steep cliffs, no guardrails, unpaved, mud, isolation
It’s one of the most dangerous, scary, and exciting roads of the world and a true test of your vehicle and your stamina because the road abounds in twists and turns with wheels sometimes hanging above the precipice. The road starts in Killar, in the Lahaul and Spiti district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, at an elevation of 2,524 m (8,280 ft) above the sea level, and ends in Kishtwar, in the Kishtwar District of the Jammu region, a town at an elevation of 1,638 m (5,374 ft) above the sea level. It is part of a high mountain trail, with a length of 114 km, located at the eastern extremity of the Kishtwar District of the Jammu region in Jammu and Kashmir. If your GPS ever thinks it’s a good idea to drive on this road, it may be time to get a new one! It’s a narrow, windy road with no guard rail or secure edging for about 100 miles, with views of the valley thousands of feet below. The road is part of a National Highway, running along the Chenab river. The surface of the road is gravel, stones and sand and it’s carved into the side of a cliff. The road the main gateway to the base camp of Kishtwar Kailash, a 6451 m (21,164 ft) mountain.
2. North Yungas Road (“The Road of Death”)
- Location: Bolivia
- Length: 49.7 miles (80 kilometers)
- Maximum Elevation: 15,256 feet (4,650 meters)
- Dangers: landslides, rockfalls, fog, cliffs, narrow, no guardrails
Plunging from high-altitude La Paz to the lush forest of the Yungas region, the North Yungas Road, called Death Road—is a dramatic downhill route through constantly changing scenery. Popular as a bike tour, the road has an elevation loss of more than 11,800 feet between La Cumbre Pass and the lowland town of Coroico. This gravel dirt track covers a 69-kilometre (43 mi) stretch between La Paz and Coroico, in the Yungas region of Bolivia. It’s estimated that 200 to 300 people traveling on it died each year. The thin road climbs jungle-clad mountains to a height of 4,650m, winding and turning all the while with nauseatingly deep canyons below. The road was specially dangerous because is only 3 metres wide and was navigated by trucks and buses, because its constant sheer drops of at least 600m without any barriers or guard rails, the extreme dust clouds from vehicles in the summer and fog all year round often reduced visibility to almost zero and the fog and the rain in the winter months that often washes away parts of the road, reduces visibility as well as causing mudslides and the loosening of rocks from the hillsides above.
3. Kolyma Highway and Lena Highway (“The Road of Bones”)
- Location: Russia
- Length: 1,914 miles (3,080 kilometers)
- Maximum Elevation: Unknown
- Dangers: Extreme weather, unpaved roads, ice, mud, low visibility
The Road of Bones is the nickname given to the R504 Kolyma Highway in Russia due to the horrific history of its construction. The R504 Kolyma Highway is 1,262-mile long Russian Federal Highway which traverses the Russian Far East and is part of M56 Route. The highway is in a region where the coldest temperatures outside Antarctica have ever been recorded, and people consider as the coldest road in the world. This route in the extreme north-east of Siberia was carved out of the marshy tundra more than 60 years ago by Gulag prisoners. The dirt road isnt at the end of the world. Anybody who reaches the Road of Bones has already left it way behind them. Facing us are more than 1,800 miles of bouncing dirt roads. Now all hell breaks loose, tormenting the suspension. A turbulent surface, just short of breaking up, without any evenness whatsoever. From the ease with which we were rushing along at 75 miles an hour over the past two days, we are now reduced to a lurching 20 mph. Even this speed is still too fast for lorries. Weighing up to 60 tons, the trucks lumber along at snail pace. Heading north to Yakutsk, they crawl like this for five days.
4. James Dalton Highway (Alaska)
- Location: Alaska
- Length: 414 miles (666 kilometers)
- Maximum Elevation: 4,739 feet (1,444 meters)
- Dangers: Extreme weather, poor visibility, difficult terrain, steep grades, isolation, wildlife
The road, usually referred to as the Dalton Highway (and signed as Alaska Route 11), was initially built in 1974 as a supply route for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and is named after James Dalton, the Alaska-born engineer who directed and supervised its construction. The highway runs parallel to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and despite its bleak, isolated and remote setting, it is often navigated by anything up to 150 trucks in summer and 250 trucks in the winter. The highway is one of the most isolated roads in the United States. There are only three towns along the route. The road itself is very primitive in places, and small vehicle and motorcycle traffic is highly discouraged. It’s the longest stretch of serviceless road in North America with no gas stations, restaurants, hotels, or any other basic services. The James W. Dalton Highway is a two lane gravel road that stretches for 414 miles-666km between the Elliot Highway just north of the city of Fairbanks and Deadhorse near the Prud hoe Bay oil fields and the Arctic Ocean.
Pan American Highway (Alaska to Chile)
- Location: North, Central, and South America
- Length: 30,000 mi (48,000 kilometers)
- Maximum Elevation: 10,499 feet (3,200 meters)
- Danger: Inclement weather, difficult terrain, cartels, wild animals
The Pan-American Highway is a network of roads, extending from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina. According to the Guinness World Records, the 48,000km highway, which runs through the North and South American continents, is the world’s longest ‘motorable road’. The highway comprises official and unofficial sections. The official section runs from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to Buenos Aires, Argentina, while the unofficial sections can be found to both the north and south of the official route. The route is interrupted by a 160km-wide break, named the Darién Gap, between Central and South America. According to Guinness World Records, the Pan-American Highway is the world’s longest “motorable road”. it passes through all the major climate zones and many varied landscapes including arctic tundra, boreal forest, mountains, prairies, arid deserts and tropical jungles. Moving from north to south, the route starts at Deadhorse, Alaska near the Prudhoe Bay oilfields and for the first 662 kilometres (414 miles) follows the Dalton Highway to Fairbanks. The Dalton Highway was constructed in 1974 as a supply road to support the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. It is a challenging drive, with no services of any kind on one 384 kilometre (240 mile) stretch