Five Of The World's Most Dangerous Roads

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Image by CGP Grey 
Humanity may be more connected than ever thanks to the digital revolution but there are parts of the planet where connecting over a physical distance remains a very tricky business indeed. However, no matter what the obstacles in their path, people are determined to forge these links to each other, and never more so than by road.
To misquote Kevin Costner’s character in the movie Field Of Dreams, ‘Build it and they will drive along it, no matter how damn dangerous …’

The Dalton Highway, Alaska
Dalton Highway

Remote and exposed, there are only two towns and two stops along this 414 mile route. The road runs more or less parallel to the Alaska oil pipeline and is dominated by huge commercial trucks hauling freight for the oil industry.
Big men driving mammoth trucks (carrying up to 45 tonnes of cargo) on a tight schedule travel at high speeds, up steep hills and around viciously sharp corners ( the drivers have given notorious corners nicknames like the Roller Coaster and Black Backside mickey). 
As if this isn’t intimidating enough, visibility can be so poor in the frequent snow storms that drivers have to rely on CB radio to avoid devastating collisions. Road trips along the Dalton Highway are discouraged and are only for the brave or foolhardy.     
Those who make it through this giant pinball machine in one piece are rewarded with the most special of views, the Arctic Ocean, which for the moment remains one of the world’s most pristine wildernesses.
The Interoceanic Highway, Peru/Brazil
Puerto Maldonado New Interoceanic Highway Bridge
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If Alaska sounds a bit too frosty for you then why not head for the warmer climes of South America. The Interoceanic Highway starts on Peru’s west coast and takes in the Peruvian Andes, the mysterious abandoned City of Constitucion before ending as the Amazon river winds through Brazil.
The route encompasses a thousand kilometres of different but equally challenging terrain. The mountain road which negotiates the Huancabamba Canyon was first travelled by Franciscan Monks 500 years ago.  Road crews battle round the clock to keep tumbling rocks from destroying the road. Shrines along the sheer cliffs mark the places where unfortunate travellers met their end. 
When the mountain ends the jungle takes its place as challenger to any safe journey. Large stretches of the route require special trucks with high suspension as normal vehicles get bogged down in mud.
However, the locals are quick to point out that other drivers are in fact the more dangerous obstacle, and survival relies on a clean rear view mirror. Then there are the herds of llama and alpaca to avoid as they rest rather sedately in the middle of the road. And we’ve not even mentioned the drug traffickers …
The Aranoko Highway, Nepal/Tibet/China
Swap road rage for a dose of spiritual enlightenment in Nepal.
This is a 400km route follows ancient Himalayan trade routes and features heart stopping mountain tracks and don’t-look-down-now bends, even if Chinese investment is gradually improving the condition of the road itself (if not relations with India, who are looking on in concern – the highway ultimately leads straight to their front door).
The route traverses a major geological junction, where the continental plates of Asia and India collide and the Himalayas grow 6cm higher every year. 
This is echoed in the powerful forces of creation and destruction which are central to Hindu belief. Natural forces shape the mountains; as they are forced higher this causes erosion which simultaneously reduces the mountains.
This undeniably beautiful natural phenomenon creates exciting yet highly dangerous driving conditions; there are huge rock fall areas along narrow roads with sheer drops.  In case your nerves weren’t tested enough, the locals are also prone to overtaking on blind bends.
The Widow-Maker, United Kingdom
For a taste of adventure closer to home, head to the Peak District. Named as Britain’s most dangerous road by the Road Safety Foundation, the A537 road between Macclesfield and Buxton has been nicknamed ‘The Widow-Maker’ and has topped many lists of severest accident black spots.
Despite the scenic views along the eight mile stretch of road, it’s earned a black risk rating, meaning you are 30 times more likely to be killed or injured than on a green risk road, which is the average rating given to a UK motorway.
The road is particularly dangerous for motorcyclists, who make up 70% of the 264 casualties claimed by the road since 2001.
North Yungas Road, Bolivia
Generally recognised at the most dangerous road of all - it’s known as the ’Death Road’ - the North Yungas road is estimated to claim the lives of 200 to 300 people every year. It’s one of the few roads which connect the Bolivian Capital, La Paz, to the Amazon rain forest.
Upon leaving La Paz, the road makes a torturous 4000 metre ascent up a route not much wider than one vehicle and with no guard rail along the 600 metre cliff drops.
This road is absolutely not for the faint hearted - local driving etiquette dictates that downhill drivers do not have the right of way and must therefore move to the outer side of the road when attempting to pass.
In perhaps the one of the worst traffic accidents in history, a bus veered off the Yungas road into a canyon, killing more than 100 passengers.
Ironically, the danger of the road has proved an attraction to two-wheeled thrill seekers and a substantial number of mountain bikers each year hook up with tour operators who offer guides and equipment. 

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Five Of The World's Most Dangerous Roads

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