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10 of the Most Nerve-Wracking Roads in the Americas

Travel Galleries
by Joe Batruny May 20, 2014
1. Ruta 5 (Chile)

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The portion of Ruta 5 from Arica to Iquique is considered by many to be one of the most dangerous roads in the world. Cutting through the arid Atacama Desert, the road has many steep dropoffs and often experiences strong winds. Many small mausoleums can be seen roadside throughout the drive.

2. North Yungas Road (Bolivia)

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More popularly known as the Death Road, North Yungas Road was given the title of “world’s most dangerous road” by the Inter-American Development Bank in 1995. It was estimated that 200 to 300 people died on the road annually when it was in active use. Roadside crosses designate the locations of fatal accidents.

3. Dalton Highway (Alaska)

A 414-mile road in Alaska, the James W. Dalton Highway is a supply route to Prudhoe Bay Oil Field (the largest oil field in North America), near the Arctic Ocean. Many car rental companies do not allow their cars to be driven on the highway, which drivers must share with large transport vehicles amidst the freezing temperatures, potholes, and dust.

4. Paso Internacional Los Libertadores (Argentina/Chile)

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A mountain pass between Argentina and Chile, the Paso Internacional Los Libertadores contains several switchbacks during the descent on the Chilean side. On September 19 of 2013, over 14,000 Chileans became stranded on the Argentina side of the pass due to the heavy snowfall — the road, which is highly trafficked, was closed for 10 hours.

5. Rodovia SC-438 (Brazil)

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SC-438 zigzags down the Serra do Rio do Rastro mountain range in the state of Santa Catarina in southern Brazil. The road reaches an elevation of 4,790 feet at its highest point on the range. Due to the numerous twists and turns, drivers must be cautious when ascending — frosts and heavy snowfall are known to occur at the higher elevations.

6. Million Dollar Highway (Colorado)

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A stretch of US Route 550, Million Dollar Highway runs from Silverton to Ouray, Colorado. While locals contend the road’s level of danger is overstated, heavy snowfall on the winding road can be disconcerting to drivers unfamiliar with it. The Million Dollar Highway is also considered one of America’s most beautiful roads, but the lack of guardrails and presence of switchbacks make the ride a difficult and potentially dangerous one.

7. Cerro de la Muerte (Costa Rica)

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The highest point of the Costa Rican portion of the Pan-American Highway, Cerro de la Muerte is a mountain pass that earned its name due to the deaths of many travelers who attempted the several-day journey by horseback or on foot. Often covered in thick fog, the road is rife with potholes and tight curves.

8. Trans-Labrador Highway (Canada)

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A Canadian highway situated in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Trans-Labrador Highway spans 341 miles over both asphalt and gravel surfaces. Those traveling in the winter are told to expect unpredictable, extreme weather conditions. In March of 2014, Labrador Liberal MHA Lisa Dempster mentioned that a section of the highway has gotten so bad due to cracked pavement and “massive” potholes that there were four accidents in one week.

9. Federal Highway 101 (Mexico)

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Mexican Federal Highway 101 is also popularly dubbed “The Highway of Death” and “The Devil’s Road” — in 2010 and 2011, highway travelers would often see bodies and burnt or bullet-ridden vehicles on the side of the road that crosses the Sierra Madre Oriental. The US Consulate General in Matamoros has issued several warnings in the past regarding traveling on the highway.

10. US Highway 431 (Alabama)

Also known as the “Highway to Hell,” the stretch of US Highway 431 from the Alabama-Tennessee line down to Dothan, AL is considered one of the deadliest roads in the United States. The main hazards on the highway are “poor visibility, high speeds, and sudden 2-4 lane changes,” according to

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