Monday, November 12, 2012
Sometimes it is worth going out of your way and adding a few extra miles to your journey in order to avoid a bad stretch of road, however this is not always possible. Occasionally you just have to bite the bullet, say a small prayer to whoever is listening and drive yourself forwards, keeping your eyes on the road and crossing whatever you can in order to reach the end of the road safely.
Bolivia’s Death Road
The Death Road is actually the North Yungas Road which measures around 69 km in length. It runs from the capital La Paz through to the Amazon region of Coroico and is infamous for the danger of the drive. It has been estimated that up to 300 people are killed on the road each year and there are many roadside crosses to be seen that mark the sports where their cars went off the road and plummeted down the mountainside. Thankfully a bypass road has been built in recent years which incorporate safety features such as safety rails and multiple lanes which has saved many lives.
China’s Guoliang Tunnel Road
Rather than a government funded road scheme this road was carved out of the side of the mountain by the local villagers, as such there has been little put in place in regards to safety features. It took a total of five back breaking years for them to complete the 1,200 metre tunnel which measures around 5 metres high and only 4 metres wide. There were many accidents and deaths throughout its construction, so even before it was open to any traffic it was already a death road.
Chile’s Arica to Iquique Road
This road winds its way through deep valleys which offer reminders along the way in the form of long burned out cars that have fallen from the road to the valley floor of just how dangerous the road can be. There is no speed limit on this road and any vehicles that you pass will generally be nothing more than a blur of colour in this strange monochrome landscape. If you are driving here it is best to do so when you are fully alert as it has been known to cause drivers to have hallucinations.
The name of this road seems very appropriate, it translates to ‘Trolls Ladder’ due to the way that the road twists and turns up the mountainside. Such is the fame of this road that it has become something of a tourist attraction in the country, with visiting drivers wanting to test their skills on the eleven hairpin bends that form part of the road that climbs at an incline of 9% up the side of the these Norwegian mountains. Though the road has seen some widening it is still quite narrow, too narrow for some vehicles as those over 12 metres in length are banned from using it, so if you happen to be in a large vehicle and misjudge one of the bends it could be the last trip that you ever take.