I’m sure like all of us, you’ve sat in traffic on your way to work, wishing you were driving somewhere far less mundane than your usual commuter trek. The same old roadworks making you late for a job that you don’t really enjoy, while the same tired songs play on repeat across countless syndicated radio shows.
If only I had read more at school, maybe I wouldn’t be in this gridlock?
But perhaps instead, we should spare a thought for those commuters that risk their lives everyday, all in the name of getting to work. Would we really swap our traffic jams and choruses of car horns for life threatening avalanches, sheer thousand foot drops and 100 foot waves? I’m not sure I would.
Here are some of the most dangerous roads in the world. Some are so lethal, that the authorities have given up counting the number of fatalities.
The Guoliang Tunnel, China – The tunnel was carved out the rock over 40 years ago, by local villagers. It climbs 4000 feet through the Taihang Mountains, and has over 30 windows that open the road up to the sheer drop below. The road often doesn’t have barriers and has earned the rather sinister nickname ‘the road that doesn’t tolerate mistakes’.
The Zoji Pass, India – The Zoji Pass is nothing more than a single lane dirt track. It navigates it’s way through the Himalayas, 11,000 feet above sea level. Landslides have become so common, that the Indian government have approved a 930 million dollar project, to tunnel beneath the mountain and to allow the road to pass through the region safely.
The Million Dollar Highway, USA – The million dollar highway passes through the Colorado rockies. Highway 550 climbs its way over three 10,000 foot mountains, around sharp hairpin turns and edges around steep cliffs. It does all this without any guardrails. A single mistake and it’s goodnight. The name allegedly originated from a traveller, who having driven on highway 550, said you’d have to pay her a million dollars to drive on it again.
Jalalabad, Afghanistan – This road from Jalalabad to Kabul, is so dangerous, and fatalities so frequent, that the authorities no longer count them. The winding snake like road weaves its way through the Kabul Gorge in this mountainous region of Afghanistan. It is currently considered to be the most dangerous road in the world.
The Widow Maker, England – The A537 in Derbyshire, England, is considered the most dangerous in the British Isles. It’s known locally as ‘the widow maker’ because of all the tragic accidents that have claimed lives on this stretch of road. It is only 7 miles long, but winds around sharp corners and sheer drops. You have to have your wits about you.
The Road Of Death, Bolivia – With a name like ‘the road of death’ you know it’s never going to be a jolly walk in the park. The single file road hugs the cliff face at heights up to 2000 feet, without any guard rails, all the way from the Amazonian region of Yungas to the Bolivian capital, La Paz. It is said that this stretch of road claims the lives of around 300 people a year.
The Stelvio Pass, Italy – This mountain pass zig zags through the eastern Alps at an altitude of over 9000 feet. It is often covered in snow and whilst it’s popular with tourists because of it’s breathtaking beauty, it also has deadly lifetaking skills as well. Many drivers underestimate the sheer tightness of the bends as the pass winds its way through the mountains.
Having read that, maybe I’ll stick to my take away coffee and traffic jams, after all.