There’s nothing quite like the thrill of the open road, although to be honest, there’s more ‘open’ and less ‘road’ in these routes. Be warned though, unless you are extremely adventurous, completely fearless and very well insured, you may just want to avoid the following stupidly scary drives around the world…

1. Bolivia: The North Yungas Road

Daubed the ‘road of death’, a catchy if somewhat undesirable nickname, this road in Bolivia was handed the dubious title of the ‘most dangerous road in the world’ by the Inter-American Development bank. On leaving La Paz, the highest capital city in the world, the road climbs even higher, just short of a lung-sapping 3 miles above sea level. It stretches for around 40 miles to the Amazonian town of Coroico, hugging sheer mountainside all the way. It’s as narrow as 10 feet in places, with sheer drops of over 1,000 feet to the rainforest below. It’s treacherous enough in the dry season but when the rains hit, it’s incredibly perilous. With no safety barriers, an estimated 200-300 drivers and passengers are killed along this road every year. On second thoughts…

2. Alaska: James Dalton Highway

The Dalton Highway was built in the 1970’s as a supply route to support the Trans-Alaska oil company. Stretching for 414 miles, it traverses northern Alaska, USA and endures some of the harshest and least forgiving weather conditions on the planet. Avalanches are frequent, black ice is prevalent, potholes are everywhere and services along the way are virtually nonexistent. Did we sign up for relay?

3. China: Sichuan-Tibet Highway

This epic, high-elevation route runs for nearly 1,500 miles between Chengdu in China & Tibet. It traverses 14 high mountains, averaging 4000-5000 metres, crosses several gaping gorges and bridges numerous rushing rivers. The scenery is spectacular. As long as you manage to avoid the routine rock falls and landslides.

4. Pakistan & China: Karakoram Highway

The highest paved road in the world, the Karakoram Highway starts in Abbottabad, now infamous as the location of Osama Bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan. It stretches for some 800 miles, to the city of Kashgar in China at gasping altitudes that regularly exceed 4,500 metres. If you’re brave enough to risk the landslides, monsoon rain, heavy snow and altitude sickness, you’ll at least be rewarded with breathtaking mountain scenery, including views of K2, the second highest mountain on the planet.

5. Western Australia: Canning Stock Route

One of the most remote roads in the world, the Canning Stock Route runs from Wiluna to Halls Creek in Western Australia. This 1,100 mile route was forged some 100 miles ago by cattlemen and crosses one of the harshest desert landscapes on the planet. Other than one or two tiny Aboriginal communities, there are no signs of civilization along the way and you can travel for days along this sun-baked sand track without seeing another living soul. Not a good place to breakdown.

For advice on places you could self-drive without potential threat to life, or to hire a car or campervan, call us for advice on +44 1273320580 or ask for a vehicle hire quote

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