You’ve seen distracted drivers on the interstate more times than you can count. Texting, fiddling with the radio, eating, even putting on mascara or reading the newspaper ” all these and more can be seen as you drive on most highways and byways. But on some of the world’s twistiest, scariest roads, even frequent multitaskers keep their eyes forward and both hands tightly on the wheel.
With their hairpin twists and breathtaking drops, these thoroughfares aren’t for the faint of heart.
Alaska: James Dalton Highway
Be sure to hit a restroom before you venture onto this highway. It stretches more than 400 miles along the cold, barren tundra with just three towns along the way. The icy stretch has been featured on the TV show Ice Truckers as another perilous journey for truck drivers in the last frontier.
Iraq: Highway of Death
This highway got its name from the American bombing and destruction of 2,700 vehicles and tanks belonging to Iraq at the end of the Gulf War. If you drive this highway, you’ll have to worry about alleged ghosts, but the terrorist group known as ISIS may be more of a threat.
China: Beipanjiang River Railway Bridge
Spanning the Beipan River and stretching across a deep ravine, this bridge is currently the highest in the world. If you’re afraid of heights, you might consider another route.
Trollstigen translates as Troll’s Path, but this boulevard is known for its snaking, hairpin turns down the steep mountain. If you’re thinking of hauling a trailer down this treacherous mountain pass, you might want to think again.
China: Guoliang Tunnel
It’s less than a mile from entrance to exit, but this tunnel will make claustrophobes very uncomfortable. With dimensions of 13 feet wide and 16 feet tall, the tunnel can make you feel a little trapped. Knowing that villagers carved the tunnel with their hands probably doesn’t help.
Colorado: State Highway 82
This highway sits more than 2 miles above sea level; watch that first step! It’s the highest of all paved roads in Colorado, and it’s home to a suspension bridge that once stood as the world’s highest, until China’s Beipanjiang River Bridge appeared on the scene in 2003.
Italy: Stelvio Pass
This Italian mountain pass has more twists than spaghetti. With 75 hairpin turns during the descent from 9,045 feet in the Eastern Alps, you’ll need nerves of steel to navigate it successfully.
Bolivia: The Death Road
With no guard rails and elevated 11,500 feet above the valley below, this mountain road can be terrifying. Just don’t think about the fact that more than 100 people die on this road every year. And don’t move around too much on the bus.
France: Col de l’Iseran
With grades of 12 percent, driving up this road can wear on your nerves. Can you imagine biking it? For most mere mortals it would be impossible ” but for Tour d’France competitors, it’s derigueur.
Australia: Eyre Highway
This road constitutes the world’s longest stretch of highway, and it is a completely straight shot. At 1,041 miles long, it can induce bouts of insanity rather than fear.
Afghanistan: Kabul-Jalalabad Highway
This road runs through Taliban-controlled territory and includes a number of narrow, mountainous passes. Of course, Afghan drivers think nothing of it and zoom right up, passing trucks as if they were on a one-way street. Avoid this road if you’re thin-skinned.
China: Sichuan-Tibet Highway
Spanning a number of rivers, pristine forests and 14 mountains, it can take 15 days to completely cross this highway. Don’t forget to bring snacks!
Russia: Yakutsk Road
This is an unpaved highway in Russia that becomes much like a big mud puddle in the summer. If driving in the land of Vladimir Putin isn’t scary enough for you, the below-zero temperatures might be.
While you may never find yourself navigating the world’s scariest roads, it’s still important to drive safely. To boost your driving skills, consider taking a defensive driving course, aka.traffic school. To have a traffic ticket dismissed and to avoid accumulating points on your license, traffic school is also a great option.
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