Navigating the 10 riskiest roads around the world


The global toll of road traffic accidents, with approximately 1.19 million lives lost annually, underscores the critical nature of road safety.

Sources of risk, for even the most seasoned drivers, can be found on any journey – some routes, however, are undoubtedly more dangerous than others.

For fleet managers, the decision to send drivers on more hazardous roads involves weighing up the risks against operational objectives.

Imagine the apprehension of drivers discovering their next journey leads them down an infamous highway. This list of ten notorious roads poses a question: are the risks worth it?


1. Fairy Meadows Road, Pakistan

When you think of ‘fairy meadows’, you envision serene and relaxing landscapes. However, travelling along the Fairy Meadows Road in Pakistan is anything but calm.

Despite its location amid lush green fields and alpine forests at the foot of Nanga Parbat – the world’s ninth highest mountain – the route is regarded as one of the most perilous.

It is poorly maintained, formed from rocks and dirt, and extremely narrow with no road barriers – and at 3,300 metres above sea level, it’s a long way down.


2. BR-116, Brazil

Would you risk driving a road known as the ‘Highway to Hell’?

Stretching an impressive 2,700 miles, Brazil’s BR-116 is known for its large number of road traffic accidents and fatalities.

Not only is it narrow in parts and close to cliff edges, but it is also a main route for heavy trucks which have caused poor road terrain.

Throw in regular bandit attacks and you really are taking your life into your own hands getting behind the wheel on this hellish route.


3. North Yungas Road, Bolivia

Known as ‘Death Road’, could this be the world’s most dangerous route?

With a 3,500-metre descent and parts of the highway only 3-metres wide, Bolivia’s most notorious road is steeped in dangers. The 64-kilometre route has overhanging and falling rocks, not to mention a lack of guardrails to protect against the perilous cliffside plunges.

It is also a hotspot for cycling fanatics, posing an additional hazard to drivers. Living up to its name, it is estimated that 200 to 300 people die each year on this stretch of road.


4. Espinazo del Diablo, Mexico

‘The Devil’s Backbone’ is one hell of a road!

Zigzag turns, heights to make you acrophobic and hairpin bends that test your brake pads, this road is almost 2,500 metres above sea level. If you lose control and come off the road, your prospects of survival are slim to zero.

To add to the devilish credentials of the road, the surface freezes in winter and wild animals can appear from nowhere to block your path.

Unless you really did want to get to heaven or hell, nobody without a death wish would ever put a wheel on this road.


5. Furka Pass, Switzerland

Fancy yourself as a James Bond, but with a licence to thrill rather than to kill? The Furka Pass in Switzerland is where the nail-biting car chase from Goldfinger was filmed.

The route offers breathtaking mountain scenery, but the views come at a price. This winding road with sharp turns and hairpin bends is one of the most thrilling rollercoaster roads in Europe.

It is often closed in winter and only suits 007-level drivers.


6. Kemaliye Taş Yolu, Turkey

Braving the treacherous Kemaliye Taş Yolu (also known as Kemaliye Stone Road) takes you on a journey through a gorge carved by the Euphrates River, with the road perched on a high ridge above the river’s course.

Navigating this road is not for the faint-hearted. Drivers must contend with sharp turns, rocky cliffs and weather conditions that can swiftly transform the dirt path into treacherous mud.

Additionally, at the first bridge, drivers are confronted with a memorial dedicated to those who perished during the 130-year construction of the road – a sombre reminder of its danger.


7. Stelvio Pass, Italy

Rising to a height of 2,757 metres, the perilous but picturesque Stelvio Pass has become a popular route for those eager to put their driving skills to the ultimate test.

This iconic road zigzags through the Alps, presenting drivers with 60 hairpin bends, narrow stretches and some dangerously steep inclines.

Seasonal closures typically occur between November and May due to the hazardous conditions caused by snow and ice.


8. Route 60, Chile

This winding mountain road that takes you up to Portillo, high in the Chilean Andes, has a series of seemingly endless bends.

If you’re driving this mountainous, snaking, treacherous track, be prepared for motion sickness and very heavy traffic as it’s the main ‘motorway’ from Santiago to Mendoza in Argentina.

Weather extremes and congestion-fuelled driver outbursts can add to the road’s challenges.


9. Zoji La Pass, India

This famous Indian mountain road overlooks snow-covered peaks and dense jungle as it passes through the captivating Himalayas. Sounds stunning, doesn’t it?

But don’t be taken in by Zoji La Pass’ contrasting beauty. This treacherous, narrow dirt trail is situated at an elevation of almost 3,528 metres, has no barriers and regularly experiences high winds and heavy snowfall, which can be between 15 and 24 metres deep.

The 193-kilometre route is often closed in winter due to the poor weather.


10. Sichuan-Tibet Highway, China

This 2,142-kilometre stretch of highway traverses through 14 mountains and climbs to an impressive 4,700-metres above sea level, rewarding drivers with jaw-dropping scenery of picturesque landscapes.

But these Instagram-worthy views come at a cost, with deadly landslides and rock avalanches posing a significant risk along the way.

This death trap has claimed thousands of lives over the years and the entire trip takes around 15 days. So pack and plan ahead – and make sure you’re not in a hurry to deliver perishables!



How can we support you?