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Old 18 Oct 2009
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The most dangerous roads in the world.

Below, supposedly, are the 10 most dangerous roads in the world. Is the A44 really that dangerous?


Think your local roads are bad? From Bolivia to China and beyond, we name the world's 10 worst routes.

We all know local roads which can be considered 'dangerous' - poorly lit lanes, potholed tracks, stretches of motorway which attract the area's wannabe Schumachers and so on.

But what are considered the worst roads if you're travelling overseas? Below, in reverse order, is a top 10 of the world's worst roads, compiled by the Association for Safe International Road Travel.

These roads will have you driving among the clouds, along fast-eroding cliff tops with 3,500m drops, across deadly streams, through bandit territory and more. Suddenly, our local drive looks a whole lot less stressful...

10) Grand Trunk Road (India)

'GT', as it's often called, was built about 500 years ago to connect the east and western regions of the Indian subcontinent. Rudyard Kipling called it 'a river of life', but for the modern driver it's a nightmare. The 1,550 mile road is full of trucks and rattling buses manned by drivers without much respect for their lives - or yours. And then there's the cyclists, the pedestrians, the salesmen, the ox carts, the cows, the buffalos... You get the idea.

9) Patiopoulo-Perdikaki Road (Greece)
This dirt track leads from Patiopoulo down to Perdikaki in the Agrafa region of Greece. It's steep, busy, full of huge potholes and extremely slippery (due to the gravel surface). It's also very narrow in places, with no lines or guard rails on the edges. That's less than ideal given the sheer drop… on BOTH sides. The majority of the many fatalities here occur at night. Funny, that.

8) A44 (United Kingdom)
Much of the A44, a major road which runs from Oxford in southern England to Aberystwyth in west Wales, is fairly innocuous, but a 25mile section between Leominster and Worcester has a load of blind corners. A quarter of accidents here involve vehicles leaving the road, and even more are head-on collisions. Campaigners have helped get the speed limit reduced to 40mph in recent years, and it's monitored closely by officials. Nevertheless, the route remains popular with speeding bikers.

7) Luxor-al Hurghada Road (Egypt)
Egypt's most dangerous road links two tourist locations - the ancient city of Luxor in the south, and Hurghada, a hub for diving schools on the coast of the Red Sea. The route is well-known bandit territory, with travellers facing a high risk of ambush and hijack. To avoid detection at night, the vast majority of drivers opt not to use their headlights. And that has a rather predicable side-effect...

6) Cotopaxi Volcan (Ecuador)

This 25mile-long dirt track, one of countless dangerous roads in Ecuador, connects the Pan American Highway with the Cotopaxi Volcan National Park, which boasts one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. The treacherous route is peppered with holes, but the 'highlight' of the journey comes when you need to cross a bridge-less stream. It's particularly dangerous during flash floods… and flash floods seem to occur here even in the lightest of rains. You won't find that mentioned in any travel brochure.

5) Coastal roads (Croatia)
The Croatian coast (yes, a rather generic entry) makes the list due to the narrow and twisty nature of the roads, and a general lack of markings, lay-bys and side rails. For tourists, it's a particularly scary proposition when you add crazy, fast-driving Croats into the mix. The scenery on the jagged coast is absolutely stunning, but if you're driving, it's probably best to watch where you're going - and keep your fingers crossed that others do too.

4) Pan American Highway (Costa Rica)
The Pan-American Highway system, the longest drivable road in the world, runs an incredible 30,000 miles from Alaska to the lower reaches of South America. Several stretches can be considered 'tricky', but the most infamous section is Cerro de la Muerte, a high mountain pass which runs from San Isidro de El General to Cartago in Costa Rica. It's steep, narrow, twisty, full of holes and susceptible to flash floods and landslides. Did we mention that the name translates as Hill of Death?

3) Sichuan-Tibet Highway (China)

China has a massive population but, even so, the road accident figures make grim reading. At least 100,000 people are said to die on Chinese roads each year - or one person every 5 minutes. And, in fact, the least populated regions boast the highest death rates. If that bothers you, you'll want to avoid the 1,240 miles-long (but not very wide) Sichuan-Tibet Highway, which traverses at least a dozen different mountains with an average height of 4,000-5,000m. The high altitude means you'll be driving among clouds, and there's a high risk of landslides and avalanches to boot.

2) BR-116 (Brazil)
Brazil's second longest road runs 960 miles from Porto Alegre to Rio de Janeiro. The middle section, which covers around 250 miles from Curitiba to São Paulo, is the most infamous due to its high accident rate. Officially it's named Rodovia Régis Bittencourt, but it's known locally as 'Rodovia da Morte'. That's Highway of Death. Think steep cliffs, poor road conditions and unstable weather. Enough said?

1) The North Yungas Road (Bolivia)
Some of the nominations here may seem a little quirky, but few will deny that Bolivia's 'Death Road' is THE most dangerous in the world. North Yungas Road snakes across roughly 70km of the Andes, from La Paz to Coroico, with drops of up to 3,500m... and dozens of wrecked vehicles at the bottom. Drivers need to contend with crazy hairpin turns, oncoming traffic (often rushing to beat you into bends), an almost constant layer of fog and, during tropical downpours, high risk of landslides too. In the past, as many as 200-300 travellers are thought to have died in a single year, but it's carried significantly less traffic since the opening of a bypass in 2006. Tourist companies continue to cash in on the road's notoriety by offering extreme bike tours down it. We'll give that a miss, thanks.

Association for Safe International Road Travel.
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Old 11 Nov 2009
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#4. Also very foggy in the morning hours. Burns off by noon.
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Old 11 Nov 2009
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Uk?

Sat here in Delhi at the moment, I had to laugh at the mention of any road in the UK being on the 'most dangerous' list. The dictionary defines dangerous as:
1. Involving or filled with danger; perilous.
2. Being able or likely to do harm.
I find it hard to believe statistics would support its inclusion.

Sorry but whoever created this list probably works for a Labour council and is writing a story for the Guardian newspaper to defend the installation, at great expense, of revenue-generating speed cameras on that very stretch of road.
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Old 11 Nov 2009
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"These roads will have you driving among the clouds, along fast-eroding cliff tops with 3,500m drops, across deadly streams, through bandit territory and more."

Or crawling at 40miles per hour through featureless Oxfordshire countryside behind a caravan...HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS PEOPLE!!!!!
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I believe there should be dozens of Chinese, Indian and other Asian, African and South American roads mentioned before even the first European...

Been to Cerro de la Muerte, Costa Rica, and correct me if I´m wrong, but I believe the name is more like a historical one, referring to the mountain region, not the road itself.
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Any Interstate in the USA.
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Old 11 Nov 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pecha72 View Post
I believe there should be dozens of Chinese, Indian and other Asian, African and South American roads mentioned before even the first European...

Been to Cerro de la Muerte, Costa Rica, and correct me if I´m wrong, but I believe the name is more like a historical one, referring to the mountain region, not the road itself.

I will be doing that road in the next few days so I will find out how bad it is, I am in Coco at the moment but heading to Panama Friday morning

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Old 11 Nov 2009
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Always remember it the prats ON the roads that make them dangerous.

That's you, me and them

I never thought the India was particularly more dangerous than Russia or Kazakhstan or Pakistan and quite a few eastern European countries

John
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Old 12 Nov 2009
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Point taken - maybe a bit of both though: see link but politics aside...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caminando View Post
What brings you to Delhi? I'll be in India soon and see that Delhi has escaped the heavy rain falling further south..
I'm spending two weeks in East Patel Nagar doing some IT training. Not sure we've completely escaped the rains because it is just 'spitting' now. The atmosphere is unbearable today. Even my local instructors are coughing like the tourists because the smog is so dense. It hasn't even been very hot here in the past week but with very little wind that hasn't helped. I've stayed in a few African cities in the last few years (including doing the West Coast on my Africa Twin) and I don't remember any of them having such poor air quality but then they're no way near as outrageously populated!
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Quite

I thought I was fairly adventurous from a biking perspective.

Riding in Dehli is a lot more adventurous than I'm feeling today. Or tomorrow.

I know chaos just seems to work for the locals but without experience I'd be way out of my depth.
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Originally Posted by edteamslr View Post
I thought I was fairly adventurous from a biking perspective.

Riding in Dehli is a lot more adventurous than I'm feeling today. Or tomorrow.

I know chaos just seems to work for the locals but without experience I'd be way out of my depth.
Wait till you do Lagos, Bangkok, or Jakarta
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Old 12 Nov 2009
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You get used to it quite quickly. However, you know you're supposed to do a 'life saver' look over your should before any manoeuver on a bike? I found I just couldn't even take my eyes off the road for even that short length of time without something or someone appearing in directly front of me. It's kind of exhausting.


Quote:
Originally Posted by edteamslr View Post
I know chaos just seems to work for the locals but without experience I'd be way out of my depth.
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Old 13 Nov 2009
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My brain needs an outlet...

What strikes me as interesting is that without having to obey the same strict rules we do in the uk, the traffic does still move, rarely stationary or particularly quickly, but move it does. It is like the people are so focused on where they're going that they 'will' the traffic to continue moving by fair means or foul. In the UK everyone sits nose to tail, feeling slightly defensive because they are responsible for the jam but unable to affect anything. "I am upholding the system".

Here people don't see it like that, the only space you have is the bit of tarmac your vehicle is currently on. People don't appear to take it so personally - I mean what does 'being cut-up' mean anyway = you left a space and person next to you, who is more hungry for it, has taken it!!

I wonder whether we could benefit in the UK from this more 'insect-like' behaviour. What is it called again, the "hive mind"? Simpler, more locallly executed behaviours - a more organic system. Less contrived. Hmm, that concludes my thought for the day.
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Old 13 Nov 2009
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By having the A44 (United Kingdom) in that list immediately makes me think it was compiled by a Pan European riding miserable old b*stard sporting a high Vis jacket and a Shoeburth helmet (with intercom) and of course with police style reflective stickers.

His wife will be obviously called Mildred and he spends his weekends tutting at riders who have an IAM sticker.
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Just saw a document which claimed there were over 98000 road fatalities in India in 2007. But sure you´ve got to keep in mind there´s a lot of people, and traffic, too. And it´s not the only country in the world, where traffic may look like a total chaos to the outsider.

From my personal (a tourists) point of view, I think I´ll rather ride the bike almost anywhere else in the future. Somehow in India, riding usually felt more like work than fun!! But I think it also taught a lot about how to be 100% alert, and ready to do any imaginable maneuvers the next millisecond, to avoid disaster. And to grow eyes on your backside as well! ´You´re never safe´ is a very good thing to keep in mind, even if you ride in a less congested country.
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