- The world’s most dangerous roads are often carved into the sides of mountains at high altitudes.
- Others, like the Atlantic Road in Norway, are so close to the ocean that drivers can be washed away by a storm.
- Despite their life-threatening terrain, plenty of people drive on these roads, including tourists looking to take advantage of beautiful scenery.
Many of the world’s roads are plagued by unsafe speed limits and poor design, but few present the kind of perilous conditions that send drivers sliding across icy lanes or plummeting thousands of miles to their death.
In places like China, Bolivia, and Alaska, drivers can encounter narrow, unpaved highways that are vulnerable to landslides, avalanches, and steep mountain terrain. These roads are often branded as the world’s most dangerous, and a few even have the word "death" in their moniker.
Read more: The 10 most dangerous roads in America
Despite their reputation for fatal accidents, roads like the Guoliang Tunnel in China or the Atlantic Road in Norway remain popular among tourists who come for the scenic views or to try their hand at the treacherous inclines.
These seven roads are some of the riskiest to traverse.
The Karakoram Highway, which runs between Pakistan and China, is prone to fatal landslides.
The 800-mile Karakoram Highway is plagued by a terrifying ensemble of natural disasters, including landslides, avalanches, flooding, and heavy snow.
Though it’s a popular tourist destination (some have referred to it as the "eighth world wonder"), the highway sees frequent fatalities. In October, 17 people were killed when a bus tumbled into a gorge after the driver took a sharp turn along the highway. A month earlier, a tourist was killed in a landslide that hit her van.
Incidents like these have occurred since the road was first built in 1959. Roughly 1,000 workers were killed during the highway’s construction due to blasts or landslides.
Around 200 to 300 people die on Bolivia’s North Yungas Road every year.
Spencer Platt / Getty Images
The North Yungas Road, nicknamed "Death Road," frequently earns the title of the world’s most dangerous highway. At just 12 feet wide, the road carves a narrow stretch into the Cordillera Oriental Mountain in Bolivia, which is often shrouded in rain and fog. One wrong turn could send travelers plummeting anywhere from 4,000 to 15,000 feet to the ground.
A curvy portion of the Atlantic Road in Norway can become flooded during a storm.
Norway’s Atlantic Road runs through a small group of scenic islands, but one stretch of the highway is far from idyllic. As storms begin to pick up, a curvy portion of the road is pummeled with wind and water, creating a hazard for drivers. The road was hit by a dozen windstorms during its construction in the 1980s.
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