The World’s Worst Roads
We’ve all been down them: roads that are so poorly maintained – if they are even maintained at all – or filled with bad drivers, confusing interchanges and just plain mayhem that you fear for your life as you try to navigate them.
But some roads – both in the U.S. and abroad – take “bad” beyond a few potholes, frost heaves or tailgaters. These roads are so dangerous or confusing or in such poor condition that driving even a few miles on them increases your chance of an accident or damage to your car. Not convinced? Check out some of these notoriously dicey driving lanes and perhaps you will suffer a change of heart.
Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange, Los Angeles
Interchanges in and of themselves tend to be tricky, with hundreds of cars entering and exiting busy roads and attempting to merge in traffic or get out of traffic. But this interchange in the City of Angels takes it to a whole new level. Located between the Athens and Watts sections of I-105 in L.A., the interchange closely resembles a tangled plate of spaghetti and allows vehicles coming from all directions to exit in all directions, on four levels. The interchange was recognized for its design in 1996 and lauded for reducing traffic congestion, but for drivers, navigating all of the merging and exiting lanes of traffic as well as HOV lanes, Metro tracks and the Harbor Transitway is one more headache in the already congested environment of Los Angeles.
North Yungas Road, Bolivia
Okay, so a little urban interchange doesn’t scare you. Maybe a road nicknamed “The Road of Death” will be a little more convincing, then? Traveling about 40 miles between La Paz and Coroico, Bolivia, this road has been called the most dangerous in the entire world. The road itself hugs a cliff edge and one wrong slip of the wheel will have you plunging thousands of feet over the cliff into the rainforest below. Not only is the road itself dangerous, the conditions in the mountainous terrain can make driving a hazard. Rain, fog and dust aren’t uncommon; when it rains, the road can get muddy and cars are in danger from falling rocks. However, despite the dangers, thousands make the trek to Bolivia each year simply to experience the thrill of driving… the Death Road.
It might seem unfair to single out an entire state for having some of the worst roads in the world, but multiple independent sources have confirmed: when it comes to road quality, traffic safety and all-around drivability The Pelican State has some fixing up to do, that’s for sure. Drivers complain about bumps, potholes, flooding and what some perceive to be excessive traffic enforcement. Certainly areas in and around New Orleans can be given some leniency, considering the lingering damage from Hurricane Katrina, but overall, Louisiana typically comes in dead last on road quality reports.
Deosai Park Trail, Pakistan
Granted, the chances that you will find yourself driving in Pakistan are probably pretty slim – and just getting to this national park will present some dangers all on its own – but if you do manage to get to Deosai (which means “Land of the Giants”) to explore one of the largest plateaus in the world, expect to drive across a treacherous suspension bridge. Not the Golden Gate kind of suspension bridge, but the “Indiana Jones” kind of suspension bridge: complete with swaying, the ominous possibility of tipping, that sort of thing. If that’s not exciting enough for you, head over to the perplexingly named “Fairy Meadows.” To get to this peak, one of the highest in the world, you need to traverse eight miles of a single lane dirt road, featuring hairpin turns and the presence of approaching death at every corner.
I-15, San Bernardino County, California
This is the deadliest stretch of road in America, but unlike other roads around the world, it’s not twisting, curvy or even particularly treacherous. It’s wide and straight for miles, which some experts claim put people to sleep, leading to accidents. Others chalk up the high death rate to the fact that the road connects Cali to Las Vegas. That would mean there are plenty of intoxicated or sleepy partiers traveling I-15 at any given time.
The truth is this, though: almost any road can be dangerous if you’re not a careful driver and your car isn’t in top working condition. Stay alert, sober, follow the rules of the road and maintain your car, and you can expect to arrive safely at your destination.
The writer of this article is Lee Wright Collins, who advises his fellow motorists to wear their seatbelts and take proper care of their brakes (one way, he advises, is to fix any worn-out brakes your car might have- you can find more brakes here).