12 Roads That Are Scarier Than Roller Coasters
If we didn’t have roads our lives would certainly be a lot more difficult. Smooth paved highways, gentle curves and gradual grades, and other things that make driving virtually painless, at least in most of the world. Then you have these crazy stretches of roads, reminding us more of a roller coaster ride than highways. Some of these roads and bridges are just plain ridiculous and it’s maddening to imagine people drive on them.
#1 Eshima Ohashi Bridge – Japan
Bridges are meant to rise up slightly at an angle that is unnoticeable to the driver but allows for clearance of what lies below. We prefer our bridges relatively straight with a minimal of twists and a low grade. But spanning lake Nakaumi, the Eshima Ohashi Bridge has a 6.1% grade to give it enough room for shipping clearance below. The added turns and twists are seemingly just there to make the ride more like a roller coaster.
#2 Trollstigen – Norway
Literally meaning the Trolls Path, this little winding roadway in Norway has all the thrills and chills of an amusement park ride. It’s situated in the very picturesque mountains, but don’t take your eyes off the road. There are 11 hairpin turns and a 10% incline, narrow passes, rock falls, and inclement weather all there to make this one hell of a ride.
#3 Zojila Pass – India
Imagine one of the scariest roller coasters you’ve ever been on, then take away all of the safety features. Add a little stormy weather and make sure the tracks are rusted and falling apart. That’s what it’s like to drive on India’s Zojila Pass.
#4 Zojila Pass – India
As with any mountain pass, the road is narrow with a lot of sharp turns along the route. The area is known for high winds, landslides, and several feet of snow several months a year. The road is so bad that it gets closed down for weeks at a time every 3 months or so. There are no guardrails to stop you from a certain death should you make a wrong turn.
#5 Sichuan-Tibet Highway – China
Buses falling off the side and killing all occupants, cars broke down all along the treacherous pathway, this is what it’s like to drive on this Chinese highway. At over 2000KM in length, this is definitely one of the world’s most dangerous highways. But what make this worse than a roller coaster? The death toll aside, large stretches are unpaved, have no barriers, and the elements are unpredictable from hour to hour.
#6 Sichuan-Tibet Highway – China
The Sichuan-Tibet Highway, a high-elevation road between Chengdu and Tibet where landslides and rock avalanches are common, is a road with a record of over 7,500 deaths for every 100,000 drivers and has reason to be feared. At least in a roller coaster, you’re strapped in and know you probably have no chance of death.
#7 Atlanterhavsveien – Norway
A few sharp turns, lots of twists, steep inclines, and a chance of getting wet. It sounds like one of those log flume rides, but it’s a highway in Norway. The name translates into The Atlantic Highway and seems appropriate since it works its curvy way over water connecting about 25 small islands around the country’s coastline.
In addition to the many sharp twists and turns, drivers must pay close attention to the crashing waves and winds bombarding the coastline. All of that combined make this trip feel more like a thrill ride than a national highway.
#8 Halsema Highway – Philippines
If you’re a professional rally driver then the Halsema Hiway is where you need to go. Unfortunately, most people don’t hold a special license, are not trained professionals, have special steering or brakes and don’t drive cars with high endurance suspension. For the rest of us, the extreme turns and long, steep climbs of this treacherous highway can be daunting.
Add in fog, heavy rains, landslides, and rockslides, and this drive can be worse than any amusement park ride you’ve ever been on. It doesn’t look bad in the picturesque photographs, but the roadway averages 120 deaths every single year due to falling rocks, heavy rain, and just losing control and driving off the side of the many cliffs.
#9 Old Yungus Road – Bolivia
Over 300 people die on this roadway every year. It’s safer to take the long way around or take your chances hitchhiking than it is driving the Old Yungus Road, also known as Death Road. Some call it The Highway To hell, with good reason. It is considered the most dangerous in the world. The 40-mile stretch linking La Paz to Coroico hugs cliffs that overlook a sprawling canyon and features so many sharp turns that you’d think drivers would putter along at 10mph rather than take a chance. They don’t.
Steep and lacking guardrails in most areas, you are better off keeping your arms inside the vehicle at all times when taking this roadway. The road narrows to just 3 meters in some sections. Luckily for Bolivians, the government opened a better road in 2008, but still use some portions of Old Yungus to connect the safer portions. The unused areas are now open to bikers, sports enthusiasts and tourist to enjoy!
#10 James Dalton Highway – Alaska
If we’ve learned anything from Ice Road Truckers on the History Channel, it’s that the roads in Alaska suck. And the most infamous sucky road is the James Dalton Hwy, a 414-mile passage between the Arctic Sea oil fields and civilization. It begins at the Elliott Highway, north of Fairbanks, and ends at Deadhorse near the Arctic Ocean and the Prudhoe Bay oil fields.
Winter is, unfortunately, peak season for drivers, and high winds and icy conditions turn the road into a Slip’N Slide for truckers. Although appearing serene at first glance, is filled with potholes, small flying rocks carried by fast winds, and worst of all it runs through the middle of nowhere and yes, it is usually covered with ice!
#11 Karakoram Highway – Pakistan
You’ve never experienced a rollercoaster ride as dangerous as this one. Named the “Friendship Highway” by the governments who built it. The Karakoram Highway is the highest paved international road in the world. It connects China and Pakistan across the Karakoram mountain range, through the Khunjerab Pass, at an elevation of 4,693 meters. It’s prone to landslides and floods and to make matters worse, the road is unpaved in Pakistan. But it is still a tourist attraction, passing through some spectacular gorges along the old Silk Road.
#12 Los Caracoles Pass – Chile
Los Caracoles is the mountain road that is located between Argentina and Chile which is very adventurous. It has many steep slopes and dangerous turns which have no fence to maintain the security of the people. At this place, most of the time there is snowfall that becomes more dangerous and drivers need to drive with patience to avoid some dangerous situations on the highway. The maintenance of the highway is done properly to avoid some severe accidents, but it is not working yet. Most of the heavy traffic like tourists’ buses and double-deckers travel this roadway on a daily basis.
#13 The Zoji Pass – India
Hold onto your hats and keep your arms inside the car at all times. This is the second highest passway in the world, and it’s not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights.
Zoji Pass is beautiful but scary pass that is located in India and connects the national highway of Leh and Srinagar. It also provides a good link to Kashmir and Ladakh. It has the total length of 3,528 meters and is severely dangerous in winters, so it is always closed at that time. But it’s the main source for connecting the population of Ladakh with the whole world, so you are only free to travel for about 7 months of the year. The location is full of natural beauty to view on your trip, which takes a long time since the speed limit is 12 miles per hour and always backed up for hours.
#14 The Stelvio Pass – Italy
At 9,045ft up in the Alps, the Stelvio Pass is one of the most scenic drives in the world, the views are immense and insane. But appreciating those vistas may cost you; the 180-degree corners are dangerous, the concrete is not maintained in some areas and the steep inclines can be dangerous for inexperienced drivers. Winter brings icy roads and slick conditions. One wrong move could send you over the cliffs.
With more hairpins than Helena Bonham Carter, the Stelvio Pass looks like a child’s scribble over the hills. The road climbs almost three kilometers and, with just a low concrete barrier between you and the steep mountain drop, it’s best not to look down.