With summer holidays approaching, we thought it worth taking a look at some of the most dangerous, remote and shockingly precarious routes in the world just in case you have a last minute change of heart and want to swap your week by the pool to take on the most hair-raising roads across the globe. We wouldn't necessarily recommend it and the sights of some of these roads are not for the faint-hearted. However, some of the most dangerous roads conveniently are also some of the most beautiful making them often hotspots for tourism.
10) TROLLSTIGEN - NORWAY
The Trollstigen is one of the most beautiful parts of road in the entire world. Situated in one of Norway’s most pictureseque regions the route doesn’t actually fit into the copious lists compiled on the subject, but a mere glance at the bends in the road are enough to make some feel queasy. In total there are 11 hairpins and the road acts as an attractive proposition for many petrolheads looking for a unique experience. In 2005, steps were taken to improve the roads safety amid fears of falling rocks and despite it’s contoured angles the road is actually one of the safest.
9) STELVIO PASS ROAD - ITALY
The Stelvio Pass Road offers one of the most awesome backdrops to getting behind the wheel, but it’s also one of the most dangerous. This is due to the sheer amount of winding and bends that occur and one misjudgement could spell disaster. Arcing through the incredibly attractive Italian Alps it stretches 2.7km and is over 2,000 m above sea-level. It has featured in many motoring programmes and is a favourite with the motoring press. The Stelvio Pass is one of the most famous parts of asphalt not only in Europe, but the entire world and a charging Ferrari or cruising Lamborghini is not an uncommon sight.
8) JAMES DALTON HIGHWAY - ALASKA, USA
Most people are familiar with some of the US’ more unfriendly roads due to the popular series “Ice Road Truckers” which showed brave American truck-drivers taking on the elements to ride their humungous trucks over cracking ice. However, the most nasty inches of road are to be found on an incredibly isolated highway used to support the oil industry in Alaska.
While there are no precarious edges or gaping drops, you’d be cursing your luck if you suffered a breakdown while tackling this road as there are mere three small settlements on it’s 414-miles. If you’re lucky enough to encounter a soul on your journey then you’re unfortuneatly likely to find it in the form of a gas-guzzling loader kicking up huge winds of dust and sending rocks flying. When winter turns this becomes an ice-rink (see above)
7) BR-116 - BRAZIL
The BR-116 has gained a gruesome reputation with a brutally high mortality rate it has garnered the unfortunate nickname of “The Highway of Death” as one of Brazil’s longest structures of road, it is also it’s most deadly. Those behind the roads maintenance have received flak for it’s poor standard and that's without considering the added threat of roaming gangs and bandits.
6) SKIPPERS CANYON
New Zealand is famous for offering some of the most stunning landscapes of anywhere in the world and this is certainly true of the popular tourist spot Skippers Canyon. However, the road network linking this remote attraction is treacherous to say the least. You’ll need to gain special access to tackle “Hells Gate” and other sticky situations. The road was originally built for gold miners and “Skippers Bridge” – 100m above the river – is certainly a sight.
5) GUOLIANG TUNNELS - CHINA
Perhaps the only road to ever be successfully chiselled into a mountain, the Giaoulung Tunnels are a network of roads that were carved into the mountainscape in 1972 by villagers who wanted to improve their access to the rest of the world. Due to the villages remoteness you wouldn’t have to be worried about getting stuck in a traffic jam. However, it’s not called “the road that does not tolerate any mistakes” for no reason, while the route is boxed in a little, there’s no getting a way from the palm-sweatingly large abyss just metres away.
4) TAROKO GORGE
Stunning vistas might make it worthwhile, but the Taroko Gorge has proved one of the most treacherous parts of road in the entire world in recent years. Unlike some of it’s more unruly competitors, the Gorge does have some form a barrier between the road and 50ft ravines making it a slightly less precarious option in comparison. However, don’t underestimate the route in Taiwan which is prone to powerful natural forces such as landslides, cyclones and blustering rain.
3) SICHUAN TIBET HIGHWAY - CHINA
The Sichuan Tibet Highway has a shocking 7,500 deaths for every 100,000 people that embark upon this seemingly one way ticket across the region of Asia. Known for avalanches and regular bouts of dangerous weather, the Highway is not for the faint-hearted. However, as with many of the worlds most hair-raising roads, it offers some truly stunning visuals and an attractive landscape. The pass over the Nanjing River is documented as the most frightening part of the trek, though it doesn’t seem to stop ambitious travellers with which the road is an unsurprisingly popular destination.
2) TRANS-SAHARA HIGHWAY - ALGERIA TO NIGERIA
The Trans-Saharan Highway is certainly a route with bite. Linking Algiers with Lagos, the road spans 2,800 miles and passes through varying different environments and is littered with abondened equipment and vehicles. This means moments of incredible remoteness and you would want to have several tonnes of water stocked before embarking. This is due to amenities being way off the beaten track, temperatures of over 50 degrees and the occasional sandstorm.
1) NORTH YUNGAS ROAD - BOLIVIA
Perhaps the most well-documented stretch of deadly road, the mountainous track appeared in the popular motoring show TopGear and was navigated by the team in the dead of night. This is no mean feat, the road, also known as El Camino de la Muerte translating as “Death Road” has traffic travelling in both directions and its three metre wide course is often made worse by rainy and foggy conditions.
It is anticipated that thousands have attempted to make the trek from La Paz to Corioco and not returned. A sickeningly high death-toll forced the hand of the authorities who have begun to take steps to make the trip more accommodating. However, it’s still a force-to-be-reckoned with and it’s open drops and precarious "no-barrier" corners are nail-bitingly tight. For these reasons, it's easily the most dangerous road anywhere in the world.