BR-116 (“Rodovia da Morte”), Brazil
A road called Rodovia da Morte – or Highway of Death – is bound to be one of the most dangerous in the world. Stretching from Fortaleza in the north of the country to the southeast along the Uruguayan border, this 4490 km highway is the second longest in Brazil. It is advertised as fully paved, but this designation is questionable, as much of BR-116 is in poor condition.
However, it is not the cracked asphalt that makes it dangerous. Unstable weather conditions and steep cliffs are a regular cause of serious accidents, and as the highway of death passes through some of Brazil’s poorest regions, the threat of gang attack looms in several places along the way. along this otherwise busy road.
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Taroko Gorge Road, Taiwan
Like the Guoliang tunnel in China, the Taroko Gorge Road is one of the most dangerous roads in the world, especially because it is cut into a mountain. This popular stretch of almost 30 km in Taiwan is spectacular, especially for its parade of tourist buses, cars, scooters, cyclists and pedestrians, who all share the same narrow road and all try to negotiate blind spots and terrifying turns that seem too small to bypass.
If you find yourself on the Taroko Gorge route, better hope for good weather, otherwise you may experience landslides, floods and rockfalls that make some sections impassable.
Bayburt-of Road D915, Turkey
If you fear landslides and have vertigo, it is better to avoid the D915 in Turkey. This difficult route is located on the edge of the Black Sea region in the northeast of the country. It is dangerous in particular because there are no guardrails to separate you from a vertiginous fall. In fact, while the scenery is incredible for amateur photographers, only professional drivers should venture there.
The most iconic part of Bayburt-of Road is called the Derebasi Bends. It features 13 hairpin bends that will take you (with a steep grade of up to 10%) from 5,617 to 6,677 feet above sea level in just 5 km!
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Kahekili Highway, Hawaï
This 30 km single-track road is lined with rocks on one side and steep cliffs on the other. Nervous drivers heading from Kapalua to Wailuku will find it both awe-inspiring and terrifying. The legendary Kahekili Highway is famous for its serpentine turns and narrow passages.
Sichuan-Tibet Highway, China
The constant threat of rockslides, mudslides and avalanches would make any road one of the most dangerous in the world. But if we add to this stretches in laces on cliffs and winding passages between peaks, we obtain the Sichuan-Tibet road, which connects China to Tibet over 2140 km.
The death statistics are staggering: 75 out of 1,000 people lose their lives on this road built in the early 1950s, nearly three miles above sea level, which winds its way up the mountain past Buddhist monasteries and herds of yaks.
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Tianmen Road – the road to heaven, China
The Tianmen Road has 99 sharp turns, often 180 degrees, over 11 km! This short stretch in China’s Tianmen Mountain National Park is filled with steep inclines and turns built hundreds of meters into the sky. In a straight line, you could drive this road in less than 10 minutes, but what makes the Tianmen road one of the most dangerous roads in the world is the altitude, the turns and the complete absence of any what could prevent you from plunging into the void…
Dalton Highway, Alaska
One of the most isolated roads in the world (and a classic on any good North American’s famous “bucket list”), this long, icy stretch of asphalt was built in 1974 to supply the Trans-Alaska pipeline system. You’ll need to stock up on provisions to tackle this road which stretches 666 kilometers (by all the devils!) and crosses only three towns, one of which is called Deadhorse – Cheval mort!
To complicate matters, large segments fall into disrepair, and its greatest claim to fame is constantly reminding you that, really, this isn’t the kind of road you want to break down by. It is indeed the longest route in North America without road service.
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Atlantic Road (Atlanterhavsveien), Norway
This winding concrete ribbon of just over 8 kilometers crosses an inlet and may seem very beautiful at first glance, but make no mistake: it is one of the most dangerous roads in Norway. Choosing this route means taking a long series of tight turns, curves and switchbacks that will make you feel like you are on a roller coaster.
In bad weather, as is often the case in this part of the world, visibility can drop to zero within seconds. And then there are the waves, huge roaring waves that crash regularly on the parapets lining the road.
Yungas Road, Bolivia
Very narrow, this terrifying road hanging on the mountainside was once the main access route to the country’s capital, La Paz, which holds the prize for the highest capital in the world. The authorities eventually built a new road, but locals continue to ride at breakneck speed on this route, which is also very popular among mountain bikers.
There are plenty of reasons not to look down. Among the most disturbing: the dozen makeshift monuments erected in memory of those who perished here. This road, which has a total drop of nearly 4,000 meters, still kills between 200 and 300 people a year.
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Guoliang Tunnel, China
Leave your big pickup truck in the garage if you plan to go this route. This 1200 meter long road tunnel is only four meters wide by five high. You will find it in the Taihang Mountains, in the Chinese province of Henan.
This work inaugurated in 1977 was built by 13 villagers and, if it took them five years to complete it, it is because several of them perished during the work. There are 30 “windows” carved into the rock, but we suggest you don’t stop there for a selfie. And if the idea of crossing this tunnel gives you chills, know that before its construction, the inhabitants of the villages it connects had to take a staircase cut in stone to move around.
Zoji La Pass, India
Located in the Himalayas, this 9 kilometer stretch of road which culminates at 3528 meters connects Ladakh to Kashmir. The very bumpy road surface requires all-terrain vehicles and in the colder months the wind, snow and rain make access even more impractical. Another one of those places where looking down is best avoided; in the steepest passages, the road overlooks the Kashmir valley by 1800 meters.
Karakorum Highway, between China and Pakistan
Culminating at nearly 4,700 meters above sea level, the Karakorum Highway, which connects China and Pakistan, is the highest paved road in the world. In all, 82 workers died during its construction, mainly due to landslides, which remain a constant danger to this day.
It has no parapets and many drivers have had an accident on this road because of height sickness or, perhaps, because they were distracted by the spectacular view of K2. The good news ? It is planned to triple the width, which would increase from ten to thirty meters. The bad news? The authorities estimate that this could also triple attendance.
Canning Stock Route, Australia
This road does not have much scenic interest and the only thing you will see there is dust, dust and more dust… and very few road signs to point you in the right direction. This 1850 kilometer long track criss-crossing Western Australia has the reputation of being the most isolated road in the world.
It will take you three weeks to cover it from one end to the other, and it is almost impossible to tackle it in the hottest months due to the oppressive heat. Even outside the heat wave, travelers are advised to form convoys of several vehicles. As the road surface is in poor condition, drivers are requested to bring not only food and drink, but also spare parts.
Skippers Canyon Road, New Zealand
This unpaved New Zealand road, built into the side of a mountain 140 years ago, is so dangerous that no standard insurance will cover you if you get into trouble. If you come face to face with another vehicle, it is very likely that you will have to back up for a distance of up to three kilometers before finding a crossing point. The miners who dug it had only hand drills and gunpowder at their disposal, which explains why it took them 20 years to complete it.
Tizi N’Test Road, Morocco
This narrow and winding road, excavated in the flanks of the Moroccan Atlas, emerged from the rock in the 1920s, becoming the first modern road linking Marrakech and the Souss plain. Better to avoid the Tizi N’Test if the steep ravines make you dizzy, especially since local drivers are known to take this road at full speed, blithely flouting the rules of the Highway Code in force in the rest of the country. world.
Due to the lack of parapets, it is best to take this route only in daylight. But during the winter, landslides and avalanches are almost daily. The good side is that you will be entitled to magnificent views of the Atlas Mountains, the Moulay Brahim gorges and the Souss valley.
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