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Roads of Terror: A Trip on Some of The World's Most Dangerous Roads

Updated on September 22, 2019
Gerry Glenn Jones profile image

I've traveled to almost every state in the U.S. and know that travel by automobile can be very hazardous; some places more than others.

An Introduction to Some Deadly Roads Around The Globe

There are many dangerous roadways in the world, but many have amazing tourist appeal because of the beautiful scenery along them. This coupled with the daredevil in many of us, draws us to them like magnets. Four of the most dangerous and most appealing are listed in this article. Also, be sure and check out the video at the bottom of the article.

Dead End road sign
Dead End road sign | Source

The Atlantic Road

The first part of today's wild journey takes us to Norway, and the amazing Atlantic Road, or as the Norwegians call it, "Atlanterhavsveien or Atlanterhavsvegen." It's a beautiful thoroughfare and fishing destination for locals and tourists. Many people fish directly from the bridges. Cod is one of the most sought-after fish along the Atlantic Road.

Beware of Huge Waves

The beauty of the Atlantic Road also shares a place with danger! Because of its location on the coast, huge waves can wash vehicles and fishermen off the bridges and roadways. Also, harsh winter storms can cause treacherous driving conditions.

The James Dalton Highway

The next destination in our travels is the James Dalton Highway, which stretches for 414 miles through parts of Alaska. It is one of only two roads that cross the Arctic Circle, but the only one in the United States. The other is in Canada. The highway is a very scenic route that takes the tourist through magnificent boreal forests, passed the Arctic Circle, over the Brooks Range Mountains and the Continental Divide to the North Slope tundra at Deadhorse and the Prudhoe Bay oilfields near the Arctic Ocean.

Dangers of The James Dalton Highway

This roadway can be very hazardous at times, and people should make very detailed plans before making this journey. The changing seasons affect road conditions drastically. During the winter season, ice roads and heavy snow can make the highway impossible to travel, and the warming spring and summer weather can cause extreme flooding and wash out parts of the roadway.

There are too many dangers to list them all here, so be sure to check on road and weather conditions before planning your trip. Also, due to the length of the highway, continue to check on them periodically during your trip.

The Waipio Valley Road

Let's now go to a warmer climate and another roadway that sometimes claims tourists as its victims. That roadway is called the Waipio Road, and it is on the big island of Hawaii. It's one of the shortest and most dangerous roads in the world. It's only 3/4 of a mile in length, but its ascent and descent are at an average grade of 25%, with some parts as high as 40%. The height from the Waipio Overlook to the Waipio Valley below is 900 feet. The road is now paved, but still stalls some cars out on the way up and destroys some brakes on the way down.

Be Prepared if You Travel The Waipio Valley Road

If you plan to make the journey down and back up on this road, make sure your 4x4 vehicle is in good condition, with good brakes and tires. Also, if you are not an experienced driver on mountain roads, don't attempt this short trip. Also, 2 wheel drive vehicles are prohibited access to the road.

Other conditions that can make this road extremely more dangerous is heavy mist, and snowfall, which can cause avalanches and ice on the roadway. Please, do not attempt to travel this short road in dangerous conditions.

Waipio Valley Road
Waipio Valley Road | Source

The Yungus Road

Finally, we end today's tour in Bolivia, where we meet our most formidable road, Yungas Road, also known as the "Road of Death." This road leads from La Paz to Coroico in the Yungas region of Bolivia. It was named the "World's Most Dangerous Road" by the Inter-American Development Bank in 1995. It's estimated that it takes the lives of between 200 and 300 travelers a year.

Yungas Road
Yungas Road | Source

Yungas Road's Elevation

Yungas Road reaches an elevation of 15,260 ft at La Cumbre Pass and then descends to 3,900 ft at Coroico. It is mostly a single lane road, with no guard rails. There are markers all along the road where travelers have lost their lives. Also, it is not just motorized vehicles that go over the side, over 20 cyclists have died on the ride since 1998.

Yungas Road
Yungas Road | Source

Prepare When You Travel

Now that we have discussed four of the world's most dangerous roads, it opens one's eyes to the dangers these roads can bestow on the traveler. Also, there are many others around the world that have their own nightmares for the unplanned motorist or bicyclist. That's why, if you plan to travel, don't just rely on a map or GPS to guide you to your destination; study information about the route. Some dangers are seasonal, while others are present year-round.

© 2018 Gerry Glenn Jones


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