Some things are just better kept at a distance. A safe distance. These roads that you’re about to see may look breathtaking, but they will take your breath away if you’re stuck driving on them. It’s only after you reach relative safety that you realize that you’ve been holding your breath for the entire drive.
These roads are so dangerous that driving on them is a risk that many are just not willing to take. But that’s if you’re aware of them ahead of time. What if you’re traveling and come across these roads by chance? Are you going to turn back? Or are you going to suck it up and hold your breath while making your way through the heart-stopping heights and hazards, feeling as vulnerable as a human can feel?
From the US to China to Pakistan, these are the world’s most dangerous highways and paths that require sheer bravery to pass through them. One question remains: would you drive on them?
China: Guoliang Tunnel Road
China is full of unbelievable sights, both natural and human-made. And some of those places are truly breathtaking. Consider the famous Tunnel Road in Henan Province that goes through the caves of the mountain and can make your heart beat a million times a second.
This terror of a road was built within a steep mountain ridge with barely any space between the wall and the cliff. Amazingly, the road was built by only 13 people and has been utilized for only about 40 years!
Bolivia: Yungas Road
This road is known for its danger, acknowledged by adrenaline junkies around the world. With a remarkable death toll of around 300 people, this road is no joke. Most of those deaths occurred by travelers coming from La Paz, Bolivia heading to Corocio. The road is 43 miles long and not for the weak-stomached.
The road was recently upgraded – the path was replaced with a modern and smoother road. It was about time because even minor bumps would knock people off! Remember folks, safety first. Take another route!
Siberia: Kuandinsky Bridge
It’s incredible how some roads are even open to the public. But this one sure is. This might be one of the scariest bridges that exist today. The utter lack of structure means you’re literally on the edge of life and death. And only one thing is sure: you better have a good reason to cross this bridge.
According to local sources, in the history of this bridge’s existence, only 35 people have successfully crossed it! Let’s just hope this truck was one of those 35…
Nepal: Karnali Highway
One-lane highways are no fun in general. You have no room for error. Now take a one-lane highway that wraps itself around huge mountains. It’s one of those roads that you only notice after you left it that you’ve been holding your breath the entire time.
The Karnali Highway encircles the mountains of Nepal. It’s home to the tallest mountain on Earth (Mount Everest). Nepal has more than one super scary road that even the bravest among us would consider turning around. This particular highway is so dangerous that people aren’t allowed to drive on it once the sun sets.
Afghanistan: Kabul-Jalalabad Highway
The 89-mile-long Kabul-Jalalabad Highway is located in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. The most dangerous part is the section that outlines the Kabul River Gorge. The road is full of narrow turns and rocky cliffs.
There are many areas where there are no barriers, begging the question of how is it even legal? As you can see from the photo, a minor trip or a few steps back and you’re done. And once you’re in a jam like this one, there’s no turning back! So hope for the best.
France: Col de Turini
This drive on the mountains in France is 1.6km above sea level and considered of the most scenic roads on earth. The roads wind left and right, require delicate precision among the drivers. And if you’re driving during bad weather, you’re in for an extra dangerous treat.
Col de Turini is the stage for the Monte Carlo Rally, where during the famous races, you can see some of the coolest cars speeding through the twists and turns of this road. It is no surprise that it’s a favorite of some of the best drivers in history.
New Zealand: Skippers Canyon Road
New Zealand, home of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The scenery is spectacular and a hot spot for many adventure seekers. And if adventure is really your thing, you might want to rent a car and catch a ride on this road.
Skippers Canyon Road is a risky one-lane way made for citizens to be able to head south of the island. And while the road was constructed more than 140 years ago, it’s yet to be renovated. Believe it or not, even insurance companies won’t cover your journey there. Therefore, if you’re a regular non-adrenaline seeking kind of person, you might want to avoid this route.
The Himalayan Road Network
Sometimes it’s only the journey up the mountain that scares the bejesus out of you. But not here, this road in the Himalayas is as terrifying on the way up as it is on the top of the mountain! There are no railings and the road curves around crumbling rocks and steep edges.
Tourists who come here are advised not to drive on the road without a guide, not that guides can guarantee an accident-free trip.
Alaska: James Dalton Highway
Let’s get closer to home and go to America’s Alaska. Sure, this time the road is on the ground. Seems safe after all those high altitude highways, right? But don’t be fooled by the lack of cliffs and steep edges – this road is no less dangerous. Why? Because it’s completely isolated for miles.
If there’s bad weather, this road is rarely traveled on. If you happen to get in an accident or run out of gas, you’re out of luck. There are no services around to help you. And with no streetlights or cellphone service, you could be stranded for who knows how long.
Chile: Ruta Nacional 5
This is another road whose danger isn’t due to heights. This route in Chile is simply so sightless and uninteresting that drivers find themselves falling asleep at the wheel.
Aside from that, the area’s climate often attracts fog that smothers the landscape, making it impossible to see.
Chile/Argentina: Paso de Los Libertadores
On the Chile and Argentina border, sits this winding road that goes up 10,000 feet. It’s the road that takes people up to the Andes – one of the most beautiful mountain scenes in the world.
The road is nothing short of intimidating. This part you see here is called ‘The Snails’ encompassing 20 turns in its short distance. So if you’re driving in the winter, you might be white-knuckling it the whole way through.
Taiwan: Taroko Gorge Road
The Taroko Gorge Road is considered one Taiwan’s most perilous roads. There are tons of tight bends, sharp turns, and small paths that require the more skilled of drivers.
This road is a common site for cyclists who have to really steer clear of oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, pedestrians and cyclists are hit by inexperienced drivers every year.
Philippines: Halsema Highway
The Halsema Highway in the Philippines is one of the most dangerous in the country due to its frequent landslides and the fact that it’s poorly maintained. Every year, at least one or two buses will roll the edge.
What makes it even more unfortunate is that it’s one of the few routes to Sagada – a popular tourist site. Thousands of tourists have to risk it all to reach their desired location.
Hawaii: Kahekili Highway
The Kahekili Highway is a one-lane paved road with rocks on one side and steep cliff drops on the other. It goes on for 20 miles from Kapalua to Wailuku.
The road is now completely repaved but new drivers should stay away. Although it’s paved, falling rocks can be a problem in some areas.
France: Col du Chaussy
Col du Chaussy is one of the more scenic roads the world has to offer, but beauty can be deceiving. The road is wrapped around a high mountain with large vertical drops and sharp turns.
It may not be as dangerous as the rest, but local authorities make sure it’s properly paved with a barrier running alongside it. It’s definitely not for those with a fear of heights!
China: Tianmen Shan Big Gate Road
The winding sharp turns on this road in China can be a very dizzying experience for drivers in the region. So it’s best left to the more experienced drivers. Located in the Tianmen Mountain National Park, the path goes up to 3,000 feet in six miles.
There’s a way to get up the mountain without driving, by means of a cable car – the longest cable car in the world, by the way.
Morocco: Gorges du Dades
As you can see, this road is nicely paved and can be relatively safe to drive as long as you’re mindful of the winding roads. But it’s not the road itself that makes this highway really scary…
It’s the locals that create all the danger! Moroccan drivers are known for their reckless behavior, especially those who drive down the Gorges du Dades often. So as cautious as you may be as a driver, beware of the others on the road!
Italy: Amalfi Coast Highway
Here’s another route exemplary of the fact that looks are deceiving. This is one of the more highly admired highways for its design. The road takes you along the coast of Italy from Amalfi to Scala and Vietri Sul Mare.
While the infrastructure was safely constructed, it’s the unpredictable rock slides and steep cliff edges that make it scarier than fun.
Leh-Manali Highway – India
If you’re wondering what one of the highest roads on earth is, it’s the Leh-Manali Highway in India. The average altitude is 17,000 feet! Driving up there can literally take your breath away because of the lack of sufficient oxygen.
Aside from the lack of breathable air, there’s also a lot of unwanted ice and mud which can easily steer you off track if you’re going even a little bit too fast. That’s why this route is advised against, unless absolutely necessary.
Colorado: San Juan Skyway
This part of the San Juan Skyway is part of the Million Dollar Highway from the western parts of Colorado. From Silverton to Ouray, there are zones with no barrier to stop you from driving off a cliff.
This is one of those roads better left to daylight hours. One wrong turn of the wheel can be a deadly move.
India: Zoji La Pass
People usually like to take the scenic route so that they can enjoy the scenery. But when you’re on a road like this, you can’t take your eyes off of what’s directly in front of you! The Zoji La Pass takes you from the Indian State of Jammu to Kashmir and takes you up 11,000 feet.
Many tourists drive on this road merely for the thrill of it. But for the locals, it’s just part of their daily commute. Tourist or local, stay as close as you can to the mountainside!
Italy: Stelvio Pass
Italy has quite a few scenic and scary routes. The Stelvio Pass sits on the Alps and takes you right down to a lower region of the area. But it’s no easy drive.
What makes the drive daring is all the thin and delicate turns, as though you’re driving down into a dark abyss. Make sure not to drive when there’s ice.
Philippines: Commonwealth Avenue
This road stands out from the rest because it’s not about heights and falls or remoteness and fog. Commonwealth Avenue is located in Quezon City in the Philippines. It’s paved and protected with barriers. So why is it dangerous?
It has 18 lanes, which causes 5 traffic accidents on average each day. Many of the drivers are rushing to get to work and don’t feel the need to abide by the traffic laws.
England: Cat and Fiddle Road
While all these roads have been dangerous to drivers in cars, Cat and Fiddle Road is predominantly unsafe for cyclists. The road is right outside of Manchester, England, and attracts a lot of cyclists who happen to get hit constantly.
The visibility around the corners is limited making it hard for drivers in cars to see what’s ahead of them. Bikers need to be extra careful when cycling down this road.
Ecuador: Cotopaxi Volcano Road
Just as the name sounds, the Cotopaxi Volcano Road heads up to a volcano. But what drivers may not be aware of is that the volcano is still active! And as you can see in the photo, visibility is sometimes seriously compromised.
The road is also improperly maintained. There are tons of potholes and a part of it has only dirt and gravel to complete the pathway. So this drive is at your own risk!
Russia: The Trans-Siberian Highway
The Trans-Siberian Highway is a system of roads going through Russia towards all kinds of destinations, from the Baltic Sea to the Sea of Japan. One part of the road is 7,000 miles from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok.
As you know, these are some of the coldest places on earth and the icy conditions can make the road super scary to drive on. Not to mention how isolated the roads are too.
China: Sichuan-Tibet Highway
The Sichuan-Tibet Highway is another road that reaches crazy heights – 13,000 feet. Again, the oxygen is less than normal in those areas so it’s not easy on the body to drive up there.
The road is unsafe due to its poor infrastructure, lack of oxygen, and cold climates. This is a road best left for the seasoned driver.
The BR-116 is an exciting road that takes you through spectacular mountain ranges, including the Dedo de Deus, Verruga do Frade, Pedra do Sino, and Dedo de Nossa.
The road also goes 2,700 miles along the Brazilian coast. Like the highway in Morocco, it’s not the road itself that’s unsafe, it’s the people who frequent the area. There are many gangs, corrupt police, and high levels of crime. So beware if you go there!
Pakistan: Fairy Mountain Road
This road is nothing short of freaky! It has no rails whatsoever and the roads aren’t paved – it’s just gravel. The roads are also really thin. This is actually the only road you can take to get to the 9th highest mountain in the world, Nanga Parbat.
For some reason, the government ignores this road and it’s never maintained. It’s one of the worst roads in the world due to its unpredictable nature. You never know what you’re going to get when on it.
Turkey: Bayburt of Yolu
The Bayburt of Yolu is in Turkey’s Trabazon region and with no guard rails, the drop on one side can really make a regular driver feel nauseous.
The steep cliff on the side of the road has tumbling rocks that trickle down. Can you imagine driving down this road?
Next up – the Swiss Alps!
Swiss Alps: Furka Pass
The Furka Pass is smoothly paved and has a side barrier. And even its high altitude isn’t why the road is one of the scariest in the world to drive on.
Really bad weather can lead to black ice that can settle without the driver knowing, causing deadly accidents. Black ice and windy roads with steep cliffs is a recipe for disaster.
Italy: Strada Delle 52 Gallerie
The Strada delle 52 gallerie was once a military trail in WWI. The road is on the chain of Pasubio in Vicenza and is dangerous because of the strong winds. The road’s nickname is ‘Sacred Area of Italy.’
If you drive down the road, you’ll see remnants of wartime, including caves that were used to store food for soldiers. It was designed in 1917 and was built in only seven months!
The next road was called the exact thing you would yell out if you drove on it!
Colorado: Oh-My-God Road
This road so dangerous that they even named it after the very thing you scream when you drive on it! Oh-My-God Road in Idaho Springs, Colorado is barely wide enough to fit more than one car down its one lane.
In the winter, drivers are hit with ice and wet mud which can be dangerous and lead to accidents. It’s recommended to drive a four-wheel drive and only go when it’s light and dry out.
Utah: Mokee/Moki Dugway
The Mokee (or Moki) Dugway, is on Utah Route 261 north of Mexican Hat, Utah. The road is a total of three miles of steep, unpaved, bends. So buckle up!
Road closures happen often because of the weather or natural occurrences, so tourists are always said to check conditions before heading in that direction.
The next road is flooded twice every day!
France: Passage du Gois
Passage du Gois is a natural pathway that’s only 4.3km long. It’s on the Atlantic coast of France in the Vendée region. The problem is that the stretch of the D948 road is flooded regularly.
Twice a day, actually and each time the tide rises! You have to plan when you enter the Passage du Gois. If not, your car could literally be swept away. .
El Paso: Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak has been nicknamed “America’s Mountain” because of its high elevation. It is 4,302m (14,115ft) above sea level and runs along the Rocky Mountains in El Paso County, Colorado.
The view is breathtaking but it all depends on the weather. Pikes Peak can be shut down when the path is full of snow, so make sure to plan ahead! You don’t want to get stuck.
The next route is as gorgeous as it is frightening!
China / Pakistan: Karakoram Highway
The Karakoram Highway connects China and Pakistan and it’s the highest paved international road in the world. If you’re a fan of mountains, this drive is one to remember. But mind the falling rocks and steep drops!
So far, 810 Pakistanis and 82 Chinamen have lost their lives while working on the road. Due to its height, there are also avalanches and heavy snowfalls and obviously ice!
Uzbekistan / Kyrgyzstan: Pamir Highway
The Pamir Highway, officially called M41, is a challenge for a 4×4 thrill-seeking riders. It’s mostly paved but there are mountain passes that aren’t. It goes for 2,038 km connecting Termez (Uzbekistan) and Kara-Balta (Kyrgyzstan) through the Pamir Mountains.
The road is damaged in certain places due to earthquakes, erosion, avalanches, and landslides. And some places along the way have a notorious lack of oxygen.
Croatia: Adriatic Highway
This mountainous road is no less dangerous than the rest. The beauty of the scenery can redirect your eyes from looking ahead.
Much of the road doesn’t have a barrier, so it’s easy to accidentally drive off its edges. Drink that coffee and keep your eyes on the prize!
Alaska-Argentina: The Pan-American Highway
The highway runs from Alaska to South America, making it the longest highway in the world. This one part of the road, called the Darian Gap, is 60 miles of land with thick and unmonitored rainforest. It sits between Colombia and Panama and is quite dangerous.
Documentaries have been made that explore the region and how people are able to travel across it.
Carretera de Sa Calobra – Spain
Like most of the roads on this list, this scenic route is not without its dangers. The rocky terrain is shaped like a long piece of spaghetti that ended up on the floor after your kid threw it – full of twists and turns.
The Carretera de Sa Calobra has more than 800 turns, and that means that drivers need to keep their attention the whole time they’re on it. Of course, driving on this road when it’s raining is a bad idea.
Combe Laval Pass – France
Judging by the picture, you can understand why this road is often recognized as the most beautiful road in the French Alps. It was built between 1861 and 1898, and it first served as the transport of timber from the Forêt de Lente to St-Jean-en-Royans.
The road wasn’t made only for the view, but it actually helped make the forestry activity successful. Today, cyclists are drawn to this toad, excited and brave enough to face the trial of a steep climb and be rewarded with awesome views of the Vercors area.
Killar-Kishtwar Road – India
This high mountain trail, with a length of 70 miles, is found at the eastern end of the Kishtwar District of the Jammu district and Kashmir, India. Don’t let Waze direct you onto this trail, because it is downright scary.
It’s narrow, windy, and there’s no guard rail for about 100 miles. You can directly look down to views of the valley thousands of feet below. Just looking down will make you dizzy, so it’s best to avoid a road like this if you want to live.
Avenue of the Baobabs – Madagascar
The Avenue of the Baobabs is a dirt road between Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribihina in the Menabe region of Madagascar featuring a collection of baobab trees. The road is one of the most beloved and toured places in the country.
Many people say it’s the most beautiful road in Madagascar. But the point here is to be aware of the gravel path. If your car’s tires get torn, you can be stranded for many hours waiting for assistance.
Alberta Highway 40 – Canada
This highway rests at 7310 feet, making it the highest road in Canada. The highway is definitely scenic and full of spectacular views. Drivers need to be aware of oxygen levels when driving through it. You don’t want to pass out!
The road is closed for the first six months of the year due to the extreme weather. You might be lucky enough to spot an elk or coyote along the way. Just make sure not to hit anything!
Mosquito Pass – Colorado, USA
This pass has been a humbling experience for many drivers who have gone down it. The road is all gravel and lacks any signs for direction or barriers to guide visitors. It’s been nicknamed ‘highway of the frozen death’, so tourists should watch out.
This is also one of the highest roads in Colorado at 13,208 feet, which causes light-headedness and confusion for some drivers who aren’t used to the lack of oxygen. In other words: don’t drive there unless you really know what you’re doing!
Transalpina Road – Romania
Before 2009, this was just a regular dirt road. But in the last 10 years, the Romanian government has taken steps to pave it and make it clearer for people when driving. But that doesn’t stop it from being a dangerous trip.
During bad weather, the ride is intense and very unpredictable. It’s only a matter of seconds when the sunshine turns over to moderate to heavy snow storms, so keep an eye out!
BAM Road, Russia
BAM Road is a true test of physical and mental endurance. The road used to be an old railway track full of wooden tracks, loose bridges, and high water crossings. If anything happens to you while driving, you’re out of luck, far from any civilization.
And if the road is wet, it’s almost impossible to cross. If you take this road for any reason, prepare ahead of time. And you’ll probably want to use a 4×4 vehicle to be fully equipped. A little sedan isn’t going to cut it.
Road to Mount Ai-Petri – Crimea
The road to Mount Ai-Petri in south Crimea is a portion of the Yalta-Bakhchisaray highway and it’s the most dangerous part. The 23 km route from Yalta to the plateau has more than 280 twists and turns.
The route is usually shut down during the winter periods to all means of transport, except for off-roaders who have studded tires and snow chains. It’s definitely not for new or lazy drivers because it takes 100% focus and both hands on the wheel.
Akhty-Khnov Road – Dagestan
The highway in the Republic of Dagestan connects the villages of Akhty and Khnov. People that drive along it say they sometimes are required to ride on this “road of death” which is under limitless beds of rocks.
The road is particularly dangerous after when it’s raining, making it very slippery. It can raise the chances of the cars going over the edge of the cliff. And no one wants that! So keep your eyes on the road and pray that you’ll make it to your destination.
The Baikal-Amur Mainline Railway – Siberia
This gravel trail is sometimes divided by swamps and rivers so there are a few bridges over the larger rivers. One of the most famous among them is the connection over the Vitim River, as seen here. It’s 560 meters long and has no fences along it.
Trucks that travel on this frightening bridge with beams that are constantly shaking run the risk of falling down at any moment into the river which is 15 meters below them! Talk about scary.
Tizi ‘n’ Test Road – Morocco
The Tizi ‘n’ Test Road (which is officially called the R203) is a mountain road that sits through the High Atlas between Asni and Taroudant and deep into the heart of Morocco. Drivers find it to be one of the most spectacular drives in Morocco.
The drive up isn’t one for those looking for a calm ride. Some experience of driving on mountain roads is recommended when tackling this road. The road was designed by French engineers and a bit of mild vertigo is likely to occur while driving, which isn’t the safest thing to experience as a driver!
Great Alpine Road – Australia
This tourist road is 188 miles. It’s officially known as B500 and is fairly new, being open to the public starting in 1998. But don’t let the smooth pavement deceive you – the Great Alpine Road is quite dangerous.
It has its fair share of steep sharp twists and curves. You need to pay close attention to detail as some parts are missing safety barriers and street lights. Take a map with you in case your phone’s battery dies or there’s no signal.
Route 622 – Iceland
This Icelandic road is one of the most dangerous roads in the world and it’s for good reason. Avalanches, heavy snowfalls, and landslides can happen many times throughout the year, blocking off some parts of the road.
The road is also very rocky, and often muddy after rain. The road is best driven in a 4X4 vehicle and by an experienced driver. And also by someone who can hold their breath for a long time!
Route de Presles – France
The Route de Presles has hand-carved windows in its mountain trail making it quite the scenic route. There’s a collection of open tunnels and passages that allow drivers to explore some Southern France’s amazing views.
Nevertheless, there are still reasons to be concerned. There are many potholes and turns that can make even the most seasoned driver anxious and hoping for it to end. Make sure to check the road beforehand and try not to get distracted!
Khardung La – India
This Indian highway is 5,359 meters high and can be a real treacherous experience if driven in the winter. Ice forms along the road and there’s little maintenance so the ride is pretty difficult. The path is particularly important for the transport of supplies to surrounding villages.
But it’s best not to drive here unless you absolutely have to. Khardung La is snowy, unstable, and very unpredictable. Only the locals use this road as part of their commute. And perhaps the few brave visitors.
Passo San Boldo – Italy
This mountain pass is located between Trichiana and Tovena in Veneto. And in the photo, you can see which part of the pass is the most difficult area of the trek, which has seven hairpin turns in 700 meters!
But at least it’s one way, so there’s no worry of oncoming traffic when winding down those turns. Make sure you don’t get motion sickness when driving down this part of the road. You wouldn’t want to pull over and spill your breakfast from that morning!
ER101 Antiga – Portugal
On the small island of Madeira, Portugal sits the oldest and most beautiful road in the country. The Estrada Regional 101 is also one of the most dangerous too. It runs low next to a rocky ocean with plenty of waves.
Drivers should avoid driving here on wet and stormy days because of the hazards involved. Avalanches and landslides can occur at any time, and wash you into the ocean! So check the weather ahead of time if you’re brave enough to venture out there.
The Col du Parpaillon – France
The high mountain road reaches 2,700 m in some areas, being high above sea level. The pass connects Ubaye valley in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence regions with Embrun in Hautes-Alpes. But there’s one really dangerous part.
The most famous and dangerous part of the road is a 500-meter tunnel which was built over 100 years ago! As cool or haunting as it may seem, depending on who’s judging, the tunnel is completely dark with ice and water flooding the road inside it. Enter at your own risk!
Kolyma Highway – Russia
This Russian highway will take you all the way to the eastern bank of Lena River at Yakutsk. You can call it a winter wonderland or a winter underworld, depending on how much thrill you like to experience. This location is where one explorer recorded the lowest ever temperature on Earth (not including Antartica).
The road is nicknamed ‘The Road of Bones’ and there’s a reason that Kolyma is so dangerous. There’s tons of black ice resting on the surface of the road that can lead you to slide off into the forest. It’s wise not to venture out there.
Hagerman Pass – Colorado, USA
Colorado has no shortage of scenic and scary roads. Hagerman Pass is high in the mountains near Leadville. It’s necessarily as dangerous as other roads on the list, but it still requires extra attention and some white knuckling.
It’s best to drive a 4×4 along the dirt road which will help steer you around some of the sharper turns. Two-wheel drives won’t be physically able to cross some of the river streams, so don’t even try it.
Jacob’s Ladder – Tasmania
This Tasmanian road is named Jacob’s Ladder (for those who saw the movie, it makes sense!) The sharp twists and turns go up to an impressive 1,500 meters and it is one of the most famous hair-pinned roads in the world. That is because it looks like a hairpin!
You shouldn’t go on this road unless a local is actually driving the car and knows exactly what they’re doing. That way, they can focus on the difficult driving and you can experience the amazing views. It’s much better that way. Trust us.
Hardknott Pass – Cumbria, UK
Located in Cumbria, England, Hardknott Pass is one of Britain’s most delicate roads. The single lane highway has sharp turns. Apparently, it is also one of the steepest roads in the country where its gradient lies at 33%.
Heavy vehicles, such as trucks, are recommended not to drive on it. If you find yourself in the area, remember that England uses the left side of the road to drive. So keep that in mind to not get into an accident with oncoming traffic!
Sani Pass, South Africa
Sani Pass lies in the western end of Kwa Zulu-Natal province of South Africa on the road between Underberg and Mokhotlong, Lesotho. The road is identified as dangerous and drivers are required to use a 4X4 when using the route.
The gravel pathways, rocky edges, and poor traction are what cause numerous accidents every year. At the very top of the mountain is South Africa’s ‘highest pub’ for drivers to reward themselves with a beer when they get there!
Lippincott Mine Road – California, USA
The Lippencotte Mine Road is deep inside “Death Valley” – one of the hottest parts of the world. The road is not maintained and doesn’t have any barriers protecting drivers from a steep cliff. You might notice yourself white-knuckling the steering wheel while driving.
Cars are highly vulnerable to overheating. It’s even been recorded that tires have melted and engines have shut down if under direct sunlight. It’s best to journey Lippencott Mine Road in the early morning or late evening.
The Magic Roundabout – Swindon, UK
The first roundabout on the list and as you can tell, it’s a complete mess. Roundabouts like this are seldom found in the US, but the British seem to love them. However, Swindon’s Magic Roundabout is one large roundabout surrounded by five smaller ones!
Ever since it opened in 1972, motorists have wondered how exactly they should be navigating through the different circles. To date, there have been 14 serious injuries. Also, keep in mind that it will operate backward because they drive on the other side of the road!
Imogene Pass – Colorado, USA
Located in the San Juan Mountains, Imogene Pass 3,997 meters above ground. You can only drive it with a 4X4 car and is not recommended for new drivers. Like the driver with the SUV in this photo, you might want to stop and admire the view.
The road has a very slow speed limit of 15mph, due to the concentration needed for a safe journey. The gravel and rocks can become icy depending on the season. Make sure you go when the weather is right!
Col de l’Iseran – France
This road in the Alps is one of the highest roads in Europe. The elevation is 2,764 meters. It is only open in the summer because there’s a very heavy mist that happens during cold weather and the road is thus inaccessible.
The Col de L’Iseran was built between the two World Wars, but the route wasn’t just for military purposes. It’s been used by people for hundreds of years. Be aware of weather conditions before trekking out there.
Iroha-zaka Road – Japan
Iroha-zaka is a pair of famous winding roads found in the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. It’s the main access from the lower elevations around central Nikko to the higher mountainous Okunikko region. As tricky as the drive may be, it sure is a piece of art.
If you drive through, you’ll see that every corner has a letter of the ancient Japanese alphabet, and you will see it in alphabetical order so you know if you’re on the right path. The road is famous among Buddhists for its history.
Patiopoulo-Perdikaki Road – Greece
Perdikaki-Patiopoulo is a mountain road with a total length of 17.9 miles. It sits in the northeastern part of Aetolia-Acarnania, Greece and is known among drivers as one of the most dangerous roads in the world.
Experts agree that it is not recommended to attempt this road if you are visiting the country. There are scary drop-offs that occur frequently when twisting and turning along the side of the road. One wrong turn and the rest is history.
Umbrail Pass – Italy
This international highway runs across the Swiss and Italian borders, making it a popular road for tourists in Europe and the scenery is an added bonus. It is currently the highest paved road in the Alps, at an altitude of 2,500 meters.
There are parts that are a bit terrifying which include steep drop-offs with no markings, and some parts can barely fit two cars next to each other. So regardless of how fun your trip may be, take this road very seriously if you want to make it to the other side.
Via del Sale – Italy
This old military road is located between Monesi and Limone. It is one of the many roads that connects the ancient Liguria and Piedmont to France. It’s currently one of the most famous roads in the area. And looking at it, it makes total sense!
But don’t rush over to drive along it anytime soon. The Via del Sale is not for novice drivers because of the number of turns and lack of safety barriers. However, if you do find yourself on it, you’ll be taken aback by the scenery.
Needle’s Eye – South Dakota, USA
Needle’s eye has a tiny tunnel that appears on the South Dakota Highway 87. The road has another name, as it also is referred to as Needle’s Highway. The road itself isn’t too scary since it’s paved smoothly with beautiful roads and beautiful views on both sides.
However, the most important thing to remember is that not all vehicles will be able to fit through the tunnel. Trucks, RVs, and trailers will have to turn around if they find themselves in front of this tunnel. Even more so if the weather is less than ideal.
24-Zig Road – China
This road got its name for reasons that may be obvious. The winding road is one of the most famous hair-pinned roads in the world. It was built in 1935 and at one point carried 2000 soldiers during the war.
Today, 24-Zig Road isn’t at all used by cars or other vehicles. But cyclists and three-wheeled vehicles still use this route as a shortcut to get to Quiglong town. This road will likely be quite nauseating for anyone who ventures out on it.
Eshima Ohashi Bridge – Japan
Eshima Ohashi Bridge isn’t just a scary road to drive on, it’s a terrifying bridge that you don’t want to be on! It’s located in western Japan, and the bridge has been known to cause nausea and anxiety among drivers that absolutely must cross it.
It’s a two-lane concrete road that rises sharply (at a 6.1% gradient) which really gives the driver a feeling as though he or she is going to drive off into the sky. So it’s important to keep the auto in a low gear and don’t take your hands off the wheel.
Burr Trail – Utah, USA
Burr Trail is a 68-mile road that winds through some of the most extreme parts of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Normal cars can use this road, but once the rain hits you wouldn’t be able to travel on it without a 4X4.
If you can manage to drive through all the twists and turns and also be able to appreciate the scenery, then you can enjoy the journey as it has some of the greatest views in the world. Do you think you would be able to pull it off?
Shipki La – China/ India
This is another highway in which you wonder how it’s legal to not have barriers. The Shipki La is found in the Himachal Pradesh, a northern Indian state in the Himalayas and it’s usually open all year round. However, if the weather is bad and the access is not cleaned of snow, the road is closed.
It’s positioned in Kinnaur district in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India, and Tibet Autonomous Region in the People’s Republic of China. The road is also 2,800 meters high so the oxygen levels are scarce. Make sure you take this road with a professional or a local.
Eyre Highway – Australia
Eyre Highway is the link between the western and southern parts of Australia via the Nullarbor Plain. What makes this road so dangerous is how boring it is. It’s 90 miles long and completely straight with not one turn.
That said, it’s easy for drivers to drift off and get distracted due to the plain sight ahead of them. Not every store is open for 24-hours on the highway, so you’ll need to plan your trip. Chose a good playlist or podcast to listen to.
Forgotten World Highway – New Zealand
What a name! It’s considered one of the most scenic drives in the world, but the police disagree! Local law enforcement has labeled it as one of the worst roads in the country due to the number of accidents that occur every year.
The Forgotten World Highway is very isolated with unkempt forests, waterfalls, and gorges. So to the drivers out there: beware. There are many twists and turns that can catch you off guard if you’re not paying attention.
Cirque de Jaffar – Morocco
Cirque de Jaffar is a natural pathway that formed in the Eastern High Atlas, a mountain in North Africa. Drivers need to be careful since the high views can disorientate people and have unfortunately claimed the lives of many.
The road itself is in terrible condition and requires a real thrill seeker to take the challenge. But drivers say that the views alone are worth the dangerous drive. Just don’t snap any photos while driving!
Icefields Parkway – Canada
This road runs along Lake Louise in the Banff National Park which makes it one of the most beautiful drives in the world. The route has more than 900 ancient glaciers. The parkway is actually considered a national treasure in Canada.
Just be careful of the twisty corners that come every now and then. The weather is also known to change often. So if it’s the winter and you’re on your trip to Banff, be careful and plan ahead! But enjoy your trip for it’s a once in a lifetime journey.
Strada del Ponale – Italy
You’ll have a hard time driving on this road, but not due to its conditions. It’s actually closed to vehicles. The gravel path sits on the mountains next to beautiful waters and people are encouraged to hike and cycle along it.
Loose rocks and temperamental weather are the only cautions here. It can be a dangerous route to walk along if you are alone or inexperienced. So never go at it alone for you wouldn’t want to be stranded out there all by yourself.
Iron Mountain Road – South Dakota, USA
This road is certainly dizzying and can cause serious nausea for the weak-stomached. In only 17 miles, there are 314 curves, 14 switchbacks, three tunnels, pigtails, and turns that loop over themselves as seen in this photo.
The road is famous for the views that drivers get to witness when they reach the peak. The road is what people take on their way to Mount Rushmore – where they can marvel at the statues of four former US presidents.
Strada degli Scarubbi – Italy
As the photo depicts, this is a scary mountain road that tends to be full of mist, fog, and other bad weather conditions. The route itself links the Passo Xomo and the Porte del Pasubio, in the Alps. Locals agree that it requires 100% from drivers.
The track was made back in 1917 during the War and hardly any improvements have been made since. Consider the fact that there are no barriers or streetlights for 10 km before planning to head out there! And it’s definitely not wise to go out there at night.
Outback Highway – Australia
Oh, Australia’s outback, one of the biggest spans of land in the world. And this highway is one of the best ways to experience it. You’ll need a 4X4 to navigate through the roads, and plenty of backup materials because it takes days to drive through.
Outback Highway is also called ‘Australia’s Longest Shortcut’ since it is the fastest way to get from Western Australia to Central Australia. So if you’re well equipped and up for the adventure, it’s worth taking this highway for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!
Slate Peak – Washington, USA
As you can see, at the very top of Slate Peak is a fire lookout tower. At 2,282 meters, drivers can venture up Hart’s Pass and see the amazing views from there. It’s also the most maintained road in Washington State. But it’s not the safest.
This gravel road is steep, winding, and also narrow. Many parts aren’t protected by barriers, so you won’t want to take a wrong turn and end up in the crater under you! But the view from the summit seems to be worth the panic you might endure on the way up.
Old Gavia Road – Italy
This old Italian road is part of the famous climb to the Passo di Gavia. Its span is only 500 meters but is full of twists, turns, and edges that make drivers worrisome regardless of how many years they’ve been driving.
There are points where the barriers have been replaced by pieces of string, and people have died while riding along it. So the police officially closed access to the road, but it’s easy to sneak in and see it for yourself if you wish. But it’s at your own risk.
Austrian Road – Kazakhstan
Austrian Road has its share of history. It was built by Austrian Prisoners of War in 1915 during The Great War. It’s a 5-hour drive throughout and takes you 60 km through the Altai Mountains. It may seem like it’s not drivable, but it is.
Although difficult to drive on it, the road is highly respected by travelers because of the history of it. It shows how people were able to build lasting infrastructure with nothing more than picks and shovels.
Atlantic Road – Norway
While this Norwegian road allows plenty of gorgeous ocean landscape views, it also gives you anxiety when driving across it. This is why it’s among the most deadly roads the world has to offer. The photo itself shows you what it’s capable of.
This road has eight different intersections where it meets the ocean. This is by far a dangerous road to travel on and should not be taken when the weather is bad. So pack your umbrella in your car if you do head out there.
The Karakoram, Pakistan
The highway links China and Pakistan at the Khunjerab Pass, at an altitude of 4,693 miles and as you can see it’s one of the most frightening passes you’re ever going to see. The photo alone can cause major anxiety so can you imagine driving on it?
The road is prone to landslides and floods and to make matters worse, it’s not paved. So if white-knuckling is a term for driving with a strong grip, this is the road the coin was phrased on.