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PHOTOS: World's most dangerous roads

2:43 PM, Oct 15, 2013   |    comments
  • The Million Dollar Highway, Colorado: Southwest Colorado's Million Dollar Highway is, for much of its length, an idyllic, breathtakingly beautiful alpine road that connects Durango to Ouray via three 10,000-plus-foot mountain passes. But the 12 miles south of Ouray are steep, twisting and completely unforgiving of driver error. Flickr/squeaks2569
  • Guoliang Tunnel, China: This treacherous road was carved into the cliffside to connect the mountaintop village of Guoliang with the rest of civilization. After years of their pleas for a road falling on deaf government ears, local villagers took matters literally into their own hands and hand-carved a 0.75-mile tunnel that's 16 feet tall and 13 feet wide. Flickr/FANG Chen
  • Highway of Death, Iraq: It's a given that many Iraqi roads are dangerous as of late, littered as they are with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) originally intended for American troops and their allies. But one stretch of Highway 80, from Kuwait City to Basra, was dubbed the "Highway of Death" during the Persian Gulf War after U.S. aircraft bombed a retreating column of Iraqi tanks and trucks, destroying 2,700 vehicles in all. Flickr/samdaq (AT)
  • Federal Highway 1, Mexico: The only road to link the far-flung towns and villages of Mexico's sun-baked Baja Peninsula is this narrow, two-lane byway. Shared by freight trucks, oversized RVs and, well, almost every single vehicle on this 1,000-mile-long peninsula, it can get downright hairy, particularly where it twists through the mountains and hugs the coastline between hillsides and sea. Flickr/mattbye
  • Trollstigen, Norway: The serpentine "Troll's Way" winds through 11 hairpin turns at grades of up to 9% on its way up to a 2,790-foot mountain pass. Try not to be distracted by the 1,050-foot Stigfossen waterfall that tumbles down alongside the route and into the valley far below. Flickr/caruba
  • The Trans-Siberian Highway, Russia: The Russian Federal Highway system stretches thousands of miles across Siberia's boreal forests and frozen steppes, linking Moscow to, at its farthest reaches, Yakutsk. During the 10-month-long winter, these highways are rerouted across frozen lakes and rivers and are bedeviled by mountainous snowdrifts, whiteout conditions and, of course, bone-chilling, engine-seizing cold. Flickr/The Adventurists
  • Luxor-al-Hurghada Road, Egypt: The 180-mile route from Egypt's Red Sea diving resort of Hurghada to the Nile-side city of Luxor doesn't look treacherous at all. In fact, the modern highway runs pretty straight across the flat, wide-open terrain. At night, bandits &terrorists are known to prey upon defenseless motorists, reportedly prompting those unlucky enough to be caught out after sunset to speed across the pitch-black desert with their headlights turned off. Shutterstock
  • The James Dalton Highway, Alaska: Alaska's 414-mile James Dalton Highway is the only land link between the Arctic Sea oil fields and, well, civilization. Truck traffic picks up during the long, dark winter, when Arctic winds batter the highway and 12% grades turn into treacherous miles-long Slip'N Slides. During the summer, beware the rocks and dust kicked up by the speeding trucks, and keep a close eye on your gas gauge: services out here are nearly nonexistent. Shutterstock
  • The Karakoram Highway, Pakistan: The Karakoram Highway, which links China and Pakistan over the 15,400-foot Khunjerab Pass, winds through some spectacular gorges along the route of the old Silk Road. The international "Friendship Highway," which isn't even paved on the Pakistani side, is so unstable and prone to flash floods that almost 900 workers died during its construction, mostly crushed by landslides. Flickr/lukexmartin
  • The Death Road, Bolivia: Bolivia's Old Yungas Road is a winding, 40-mile-long stretch that links the high Andean capital city of La Paz to Coroico, 11,500 feet below in the Amazon basin. Even though new construction bypasses one of the most treacherous sections and its steep hills have become a tourist attraction for adventurous mountain bikers, the so-called "Death Road" still kills more than 100 people each year. Flickr/Mikel Pierre
  • Kabul-Jalalabad Highway, Afghanistan: What's more dangerous than driving through Taliban territory? Driving through it along the 40-mile stretch of road that squeezes through the Kabul Gorge from Jalalabad to the capital city of Kabul. There, the insurgency is perhaps trumped by opium-crazed Afghan drivers who recklessly -- and blindly -- try to pass the lumbering freight trucks that crawl up the narrow mountain passes. Flickr/peretzp
  • Stelvio Pass, Italy: It takes 48 hairpin turns for this road to climb through gorgeous alpine scenery on its way to the second highest paved pass in the Alps, the 9,045-foot Stelvio Pass. Don't spend too much time taking it all in, or you're sure to miss one of the 180-degree corners. On the way down, navigate another 38 hairpins and hope your brakes hold. Shutterstock
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Photos of some of the world's most dangerous roads.

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