No matter where you’re driving, there is always a risk of getting into an accident but there are some roads that put you at a much greater risk.
Whether in the mountains, along the coast or through crowded cities these killer highways will make you appreciate that rush-hour traffic or road-construction detour. Narrow, precarious and poorly maintained, some of these roads are still very much worth the drive. They ascend steep mountain sides and traverse large stretches of wilderness. Often, they’re the only option for people to travel in the area.
1. Strada degli Eroi – Verona and Vicenza, Italy
The Strada degli Eroi was built in 1922 to connect towns in Italy through the mountains. This is the only road on this list where motorized traffic is expressly forbidden. Travel on the gravel road was banned after a string of grisly crashes in the 1980s. Tour and shuttle buses do tackle the rugged terrain in the summer to give tourists a glimpse of the stunning scenery. It’s called the ‘Road of Heroes’ and honors 15 soldiers who died in World War I. Ridiculously high up in the mountains, much of the unprotected roads offer the unwary steep drops to the granite valley below. It’s now a popular hiking trail, but backpackers should be advised; the weather changes quickly and the area is remote. Stranded hikers can and do get lost in the mists that blanket the road.
2. Taroko Gorge road – Taiwan
This road winds through some of the most beautiful parts of Taiwan, but don’t let the views fool you. The Taroko Gorge road is trickier than it looks. The narrow passage is only suitable for one car or bus to pass through at a time. Meeting on-coming traffic is a game of chicken. Who is going to back up to find a place wide enough to get out of the way? The road is cut out of the mountainsides and offers amazing views of the surrounding national park, but not of the road. Blind curves cause countless front-end collisions between vehicles. The weather is treacherous, as well. Sections may need to be closed quickly due to sudden fog or downpours. Heavy rain can cause landslides and rock falls and the cliff faces easily crumble after earthquakes, a frequent occurrence in this part of the world.