There are plenty of roads around the world that unfortunately see regular traffic accidents and deaths as a result of the roads dangerous driving conditions. However, only a select number of roads truly take their toll on human life and vehicles like the following 5 roads do:
North Yungas Road, Bolivia
The road with the dubious distinction of being the most dangerous road in the world is without doubt the Bolivian 'Death Road'. The North Yungas Road, which is nearly 70 kilometres long, runs between Coroico and La Paz, plunging down over more than 3.5 kilometres of incredibly narrow hairpin bends and almost a kilometre drop near-misses.
With a fatal accident occurring fortnightly, roughly 200 people lose their lives on this road annually. The carcasses of trucks, lorries and cars litter the ravine along route and there is little margin for error, as the dust track is barely 3 metres across at its widest point.
Built in the 1930s by Paraguayan POW's who died attempting the construction of the road, it is now mainly Bolivians who perish by the thousands on the single track road that has no guard rails to prevent them from plunging to their deaths.
A replacement route, which took over 20 years to complete, was opened in 2006 and features modern construction and safety features. As a result of this replacement route, the original road is now far less used and this has resulted in far fewer fatalities along the road in recent years. This however has now resulted in the road being increasingly used by bikers travelling it for thrills as an extreme sport.
With motorists and cyclists still killed regularly throughout the year travelling on the North Yungas Road, the route is definitely one of the most dangerous roads in the world.
Russian Federal Highway, Russia
Connecting Yakutsk to Moscow is the Russian Federal Highway and the poor visibility and heavy ice and snow make winter driving, for ten months of the year, very hazardous.
This is nothing compared to the two summer months, when the snow and ice melt and heavy summer rains turn the highway into a mud-bath.
Traffic jams of over a thousand cars long are the norm and to while away the hours, some upstanding Siberian citizens, affectionately known as mud pirates, use the time to loot, beat and kidnap other travellers.
With accidents occurring and the threat of ‘mud pirates’, the Russian National Highway is another dangerous route that you may want to avoid.
Guoliang Tunnel, China
China has many dangerous roads and fatalities from car accidents have doubled over the past two decades. One of these is the unusual Guoliang Tunnel that connects Guoliang Village to the rest of China.
This tunnel has been carved into the side of the Taihang Mountains and in places right through, in order to facilitate access to Guoliang Village, located in a deep valley amongst soaring mountains that completely cut it off from the rest of civilization.
In the 1970s, 13 villagers started construction of the tunnel, which is just over a kilometre long and has a width of 4 metres and a height of 5 meters. Several villagers died during the construction of the tunnel and it took over 5 years to complete.
Known as the ‘Tunnel of Death’, the Guoliang Tunnel sees more than its fair share of accidents, some of which are fatal.
Dalton Highway, Alaska
Running over 650 kilometres through the arctic tundra of Alaska is the Dalton Highway, a gravel road built as a supply road to Prudhoe Bay. Originally a permit was required to drive on this road and although since 1995 this is no longer the case, it is still not recommended that private individuals drive here.
As this is still the supply road, it is mainly populated by large truck rigs, which speed along and reduce visibility to almost nothing. Large potholes are numerous, while services, repairs and fuel are almost non-existent.
The danger of the road is such that car hire companies do not permit their vehicles to be driven on the Dalton Highway. In fact, the journey should not even be considered without a 4x4 vehicle, CB radio and extra supplies of food, fuel and tyres because conditions can get so bad.
Despite the roads dangers, many people including motorcyclists continue to drive along this route.
Sadly, this resulted in a death recently as a 60 year old man died after his motorcycle slipped on the wet road despite wearing full safety gear. The same section of the road near the Yukon River Bridge saw another accident just a couple of months earlier which resulted in serious injury leading many to question whether the road should be closed to motorcyclists.
Route Irish, Iraq
Only 12 kilometres long, Route Irish is the military code name for the road linking the Baghdad Airport to the heavily fortified International Zone in the city's centre. The only route out and in, the road is a shooting gallery for terrorists and during the height of the Iraq conflict there was an average of one attack on the road every day in the form of suicide bombers, roadside bombs and drive-by shootings.
The nature of the road and the danger faced by those travelling results in drivers making a high speed dash along the road, dubbed Route Irish Racing, hoping for the best. Extensive and aggressive patrols of the route by the American 69th Infantry Regiment have made it much more reliable and far safer over the past few years.
Whilst the danger of the road isn’t down to steep cliffs or icy roads like some of the other roads mentioned, the Route Irish road is still extremely dangerous to travel along.
Most of those killed on the road have been Iraqi’s who were innocently caught up in attacks aimed at non-Iraqi people. However, there have been a number of deaths of other nationalities including Americans and Brits.