Most Dangerous Roads in the World
Driving is dangerous no matter where you are in the world. Around 1.35 million global deaths are caused by road accidents each year.
Still, there’s no denying that some roads are more dangerous than others. Sometimes, this is the result of poor infrastructure or planning. Other dangers are of a more geographic nature, like landslides, steepness and sharp curves.
These are the world’s deadliest roads. Drive on them at your own risk.
15. North Yungas Road, Bolivia
Location: La Paz to Yungas
Length: 43 miles (69 kilometers)
Danger point: Narrowness, infrastructure, steepness, sharp curves, mudslides
Note: Information is based on Budget Direct’s “Most Deadly Roads in Every Country” report and editorial research.
What Makes the North Yungas Road So Dangerous
This steep Bolivian road is nicknamed the "Death Road" and is often referred to as the most dangerous road in the world. It earned this honor because of the incredibly steep journey it takes, dropping about 1,1975 feet on its descent from La Paz to Coroico.
Besides the steepness, the road was built in the 1930s on a cliffside. This means that infrastructure is outdated on stretches of it, which are unpaved and do not have guardrails. Cars can easily veer off the road, facing an incredibly high fall.
The narrowness of the road doesn't help much either. And to make matters worse, heavy rains can create mudslides and landslides. During the 1990s, it was estimated that about 200 to 300 people died on this road each year.
So why is Bolivia's Death Road not number one? The Bolivian government decided to build a newer, safer highway nearby. Death Road is still open, though it's now mostly used by daredevils who want to try their luck and cyclists who get a thrill out of near-death experiences.
More than 12 of these cyclists have died on the road in the past decade.
14. Guoliang Tunnel, China
Length: 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers)
Danger point: Narrowness, steepness
What Makes the Guoliang Tunnel So Dangerous
Traveling on this road is only for the very brave. Built by hand in the 1970s by villagers from a nearby town, the Guoliang Tunnel is short but dangerous.
The tunnel is extremely narrow, fitting about a single car in its only lane and has no guardrails or barriers in some sections. This is particularly worrisome given the very steep drop that drivers face.
For light, the tunnel relies on 30 windows carved onto the tunnel. The natural light is helpful, but makes it basically impossible to drive at night.
All of these factors combine to cause around 14 accidents and three deaths per year. More than 400 accidents have been recorded since 1992.
If this doesn't sound like a lot of fun, consider that this is a remote region of China that already has limited transit.
13. Highway 90, Israel
Location: Metula to the northern border with Lebanon
Length: 298 miles (480 kilometers)
Danger point: Aging infrastructure, high traffic volume
What Makes Highway 90 So Dangerous
Highway 90 had the dishonor of being named the most dangerous road in the Middle East on the Budget Direct report. Since 2003, there have been 233 deaths and 700 injuries on the road. This translates to around 13 deaths per year.
Of course, this is just the average, and some years prove much deadlier than others. In 2018, for instance, there were 17 fatalities on Highway 90 in a single two-week period.
The high mortality rate on this road is attributed to its aging structure, which has not been properly updated since it was built in the 1960s. Lack of barriers, high traffic and narrow lanes contribute to the tragedies on this deadly Israeli road.
12. I-45, United States
Location: Galveston to Dallas, Texas
Length: 285 miles (459 kilometers)
Danger point: High traffic volume, drunk driving
What Makes I-45 So Dangerous
The United States suffers 33,244 fatal car crashes every year, so it isn't shocking that one of its roads would come up on this list. But not many would expect the country's most dangerous road to be I-45 in Texas.
This relatively short road (for the U.S.) connects Galveston to Dallas by way of Houston. Passing through two of the state's most important cities has made the road prone to accidents. About 56.5 fatal crashes happen every 100 miles. Between 2011 and 2015, there were 83 recorded deaths, or 20.75 fatalities per year.
Most accidents happen in the Houston area and are attributed to the constant congestion of the highway. There is also an issue with drunk drivers, with 17.5 drunk driving deaths per 100 miles.
The situation has become so dire that Harris County is suing the state's transportation department in an attempt to stop the highway from being expanded.
11. M4 Western Motorway, Australia
Location: Concord to Sydney
Length: 15 miles (24 kilometers)
Danger point: High traffic volume, speeding
What Makes the M4 Western Motorway So Dangerous
The M4 has been deemed to be the worst road in Australia. From 2010 to 2014, the road was the site of 788 crashes. That's about 197 accidents per year.
Part of the reason for the high number of crashes is that this is a highly transited road, which always means more danger. Officials also point out reckless driving and speeding as factors in these accidents.
If the highway didn't rank a bit higher on this nefarious list, it's because only six deaths were recorded in that four-year period.
That's about 1.5 deaths per year, which is better than most other roads on here.
10. N59, Ireland
Location: Sligo to Galway
Length: 186 miles (299 kilometers)
Danger point: High traffic volume, sharp curves
What Makes N59 So Dangerous
Stretching about 186 miles, the N59 is the longest road in all of Ireland. Perhaps this, along with the winding nature of some stretches of the road, accounts for the alarmingly high volume of accidents that occur here.
Between 2015 and 2017, a total of 1,131 accidents were recorded on the N59. This equals around 565 accidents per year, just on this road.
Though it is not clear how many of these accidents were fatal, the high number of crashes places this Irish road on this list.
9. Plumtree-Bulawayo-Mutare Highway, Zimbabwe
Location: Machipanda to Plumtree
Length: 497 miles (800 kilometers)
Danger point: High traffic volume, animal crossings, infrastructure, speeding
What Makes the Plumtree-Bulawayo-Mutare Highway So Dangerous
This highway stretches almost 500 miles and crosses the entirety of Zimbabwe from east to west. Its length has made it one of the country's major roads, particularly since it passes through the capital of Harare.
High traffic volume combines with a lack of updated infrastructure to make this the deadliest road in the entire country.
About 44 percent of all fatal road accidents in Zimbabwe take place on this highway. In 2016, it was the site of 569 accidents.
8. A51, Italy
Length: 18 miles (29.4 kilometers)
Danger point: High traffic volume, speeding
What Makes A51 So Dangerous
Italy's A51 road is one of the shortest roads on here, stretching a mere 18 miles. However, in 2016, it had an average of 23 road accidents per kilometer. That's 690 accidents in total.
The number is particularly distressing when compared to the national average, which is a mere 1.9 accidents per kilometer.
The culprit for the high number of crashes may simply be its location. Milan is one of the most highly transited cities in the country, which means there are a lot of drivers. This makes accidents more probable.
7. Masaka-Kampala Highway, Uganda
Location: Masaka to Kampala
Length: 81 miles (130 kilometers)
Danger point: Infrastructure, speeding, high traffic volume
What Makes the Masaka-Kampala Highway So Dangerous
Back in 2016, more than 200 people died on this Ugandan road, making people wonder if it was the most dangerous road in the world.
Infrastructure investment has helped decrease this number. Lanes have been added, including some for pedestrians and bikes, gravel has been repaved, and drainage channels were added.
Since 2016, another 200 deaths have been recorded, which is around 40 deaths per year. This means that the highway is still fairly dangerous, though its improvement is cause for hope.
6. National 3, Cameroon
Location: Douala to Yaoundé
Length: 247 miles (397 kilometers)
Danger point: Infrastructure, speeding
What Makes National 3 So Dangerous
A neglected infrastructure caused by lack of funds has left Cameroon's National 3 road in unfavorable conditions. This is cited as the cause for the road's frequent accidents along with its high transit.
National 3 connects Douala (the economic capital) to Yaoundé (the political capital). Its position between the two most important cities in the country means constant high traffic.
In 2014, almost 1,000 accidents happened on this road. That's about a third of the national total. Though data doesn't show how many of these accidents proved fatal, the number is still quite large.
5. Aloag-Santo Domingo Road, Ecuador
Location: Aloag to Santo Domingo
Length: 68 miles (109 kilometers)
Danger point: Landslides, sharp curves, high transit volume
What Makes the Aloag-Santo Domingo Road So Dangerous
This 68-mile road unites the mountains with the coast and is, therefore, one of the busiest roads in Ecuador.
Though you can transverse it in around two and a half hours, its geography and popularity have proven deadly for many. In 2019, 1,027 accidents on the road resulted in 67 deaths. Part of the issue is the dangerous nature of mountain roads, which have curves and falls. During rainy season, landslides can happen unexpectedly, leading to tragedy.
The other issue is that the road is frequently used by vacationers, buses and commercial trucks. The narrowness of parts of it and the fast speeds at which trucks often travel can also lead to crashes.
4. Mexico 57D, Mexico
Location: Mexico City to Queretaro
Length: 162 miles (200 kilometers)
Danger point: High transit volume, speeding
What Makes Mexico 57D So Dangerous
Despite stereotypes of Mexican roads, the Mexico 57D road, which connects Mexico City to Queretaro, is one of the country’s best. The road is well-paved and wide, with as many as eight lanes throughout its 162 miles.
Mexico 57D’s fatal flaw is that its solid infrastructure has made it one of the most transited in the nation. Speeding can also be an issue, as commercial trucks and road trippers are often eager to complete the three-hour trip as fast as possible.
This has led to about 583 accidents and 97 deaths per year.
3. Pan-Island Expressway, Singapore
Location: East Coast parkway to Tuas
Length: 27 miles (43 kilometers)
Danger point: High traffic volume, speeding
What Makes the Pan-Island Expressway So Dangerous
Singapore is known for its efficient and modern infrastructure. Its presence on this list goes to show that wealthy countries can still struggle with road safety.
The Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) is Singapore's longest and oldest expressway, with work for it beginning in 1964. During a three-month period, there were a staggering 441 accidents on the road.
Assuming a continuing trend, this would mean 1,764 accidents a year. In fact, the PIE has the highest number of fatalities of all expressways in Singapore, accounting for 33 percent of road accident deaths.
The expressway connects to Changi Airport, one of the best airports in the world. And while this proximity to Changi is definitely a positive, it is also part of what makes the road so dangerous: 57 percent of accidents on the PIE occur when people are heading to the airport.
2. M-06, Ukraine
Location: Kyiv to Chop
Length: 511 miles (822 kilometers)
Danger point: Unsafe conditions for pedestrians, infrastructure
What Makes M-06 So Dangerous
The long M-06 road goes from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv to the village of Chop on the Hungarian border. On the way, it crosses several small towns and villages.
The main problem of the road is that developers failed to provide safe conditions for pedestrians in villages where crossing or walking on the road is not a choice. Trucks and cars going at high speeds are also transiting the M-06.
This plus regular car accidents caused almost 200 deaths and 757 accidents in 2019 and the first four months of 2020.
1. N2 Highway, Bangladesh
Location: Dhaka to Sylhet
Length: 178 miles (286 kilometers)
Danger point: Infrastructure, speeding
What Makes the N2 Highway So Dangerous
About 250 people suffered fatal crashes on the N2 Highway in 2020. The number is especially worrisome, given that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly reduced road usage around the world for part of the year.
The road’s danger has to do with a lack of appropriate infrastructure. There is no divider for two-way traffic. Since the road is narrow, the kind of reckless driving that’s common around the planet (such as speeding and tailgating) can prove fatal here.
Because of this, it has been named the world’s deadliest road.