Driving a truck for a living is a risky profession. Driving on the interstates in the US can be a deadly venture, but in some parts of the world, it is not just the other drivers that truckers need to worry about. Some of the most dangerous roads in the world are difficult because of landscape, slippery conditions and low visibility. These roads take a true veteran driver to tame, and many unqualified drivers have met an early death by taking them on. Here is a list of the 5 most dangerous roads in the world that drivers travel on a daily basis.
Yungas Road aka The Death Road (Bolivia)
In Bolivia, the Yungas Road is used to travel from La Paz, Bolivia’s capital, out into the vast Amazonian rain forest region. This road is about 40 miles long and considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world. Commonly referred to as The Death Road, travelers are forced to navigate the small space without getting too close to the edge. This is often difficult as traffic is coming from both directions. Even cyclists have trouble staying on the road. The result of not paying attention, even for a brief second, is plummeting to a certain death. It is estimated that hundreds die each year as a result of their journey on the Yungas Road.
Arica to Iquique Road (Chile)
Bland scenery often lulls drivers into a daze as they attempt to make their way on the Arica to Iquique. The winding road travels through deep valleys and looking closely out of the window, will give drivers a good look at the remains of vehicles that did not make it through, somewhere near the bottom. While the bland, repetitive scenery makes the drive difficult, it is often other drivers that tend to be the problem. People speed along the road quickly without any thought for other drivers making the same trip. This shortcut, bypassing Santiago, will save a driver tons of time, until he takes a sharp turn around a valley and join the other drivers who never made it to the end of their journey.
Lena Highway aka The Highway from Hell (Russia)
In the wintertime, completing the 600 mile trek from Moscow to Yakutsk is a feat in itself. Drivers must compete with the ice and snow, along with limited visibility in order to reach their intended destination. In this area of the world, winter lasts about ten months. These conditions are not that bad, considering drivers are generally used to driving on slick icy roads (Yakutsk is recorded as the coldest city on the planet outside of Antarctica) conditions tend to worsen in the two warmer months of the year. The melting snow and ice cause this unpaved expanse of road to turn into a muddy swamp that leaves drivers stuck for hours or even days. While waiting for things to clear up, people often start fights, steal, and create overall chaos until things get moving once again. Fuel, food, firearms, and steel tow-line cables are among the basic necessities to get by during the rainy days on the Lena Highway.
Karakoram Highway aka The Friendship Highway (Between China and Pakistan)
As one of the world’s highest paved roads, the Karakoram Highway is known to give drivers altitude sickness while driving between Pakistan and China. This modern engineering marvel took 20 years to build and took the lives from more than 1000 Pakistani and Chinese workers (mainly in landslides) in order to connect the Gilgit-Baltistan of Kashmir to the ancient Silk Road. The views are beautiful and cyclists often decide to take their chances in order to get a closer look at the surrounding area. If altitude sickness does not get a driver or the passengers, there are also rockslides to lookout for. If the rocks stay in place, there are still monsoon rains and heavy snow to make the drive more difficult. This exciting highway is also known officially as the N-35 within Pakistan (unofficially referred to as KKH) and G314 or China National Highway 314 in China.
Dalton Highway aka Alaska Route 11 (Alaska, United States)
Here’s a word of advice, don’t ever plan to traverse this stretch of road without some type of survival skills. Built for the purposes of oil exploration and transport, the highway stretches for more than 400 miles across the icy landscape of Alaska, ranging from just north of Fairbanks, AK to the Prudhoe Bay oil fields near Deadhorse, AK. Potholes are sprinkled all along the road and visibility can turn into almost zero with the snow coming down or the dust being kicked up by other drivers.
Despite its remoteness, this highway sees about 160 trucks daily pass in the summer months and approximately 250 everyday in the winter months.
You may have seen this infamous highway mentioned on seasons 3, 4, and 5 on Ice Road Truckers. The Dalton Highway was also the subject of the second episode of America’s Toughest Jobs and the first episode of The World’s Most Dangerous Roads, which initially aired on BBC.
Thank you to Louis Rix from Netcars.com for contributing this article. For more information on Netcars.com please click here