scary roads
Credit: Michael Fernando Jauregui Schiffelmann/ FLICKR

Imagine driving down a scenic road in some exotic, far-flung locale when around the bend the railing disappears, the road narrows to practically a trail, and thousands of feet below--if you squint--you can see the skeletal remains of cars long lost. Yes, sometimes the road less taken is less taken for a reason. And in the case of these 5, it's because they may very well kill you.

Old Yungas Road

We’d rather hitchhike the Highway to Hell than take our chances on Old Yungas Rd (aka: “The Death Road”), considered the most dangerous in the world. The 40-mile stretch linking La Paz to Coroico hugs cliffs that overlook a sprawling canyon and features so many sharp turns that you’d think drivers would putter along at 10mph rather than take a chance. They don’t. More than 200 people a year fall to their death in trucks, cars, and public buses.

Karnali Highway

Just like Old Yungas Road, the 155-mile Karnali Hwy in the Himalayas of West Nepal is a death wish (approximately 50 people die there a year). The dirt road’s surface is so bad that even cyclists who flock there for the stunning views are often like, “maybe not today.” And as you can imagine, vehicles that attempt to drive the road tend to slide on patches of dirt, choke on steep climbs, and generally get f*cked up from one too many potholes.

scary roads
© 1995 Wolfgang Kaehler
| Credit: Wolfgang Kaehler

Atlantic Road

Considered one of the most scenic road trips in Europe, the Atlantic Rd has its dark moments. The five-mile highway links islands between Kristansund and Molde, boasts eight bridges, and has an infamous stretch along the ocean that gets battered by massive waves and fierce winds during storms. Conditions get crazy enough that you'll wish you stayed in Oslo.

Vitim River Bridge

You'd think Vitim River Bridge would be called “VICTIM River Bridge,” considering its reputation as one of the scariest roads in the world. But lucky enough, there have been NO reported fatalities on the road. Which seems strange until you realize just how few people dare to drive here. The answer is... not many. The super-old structure is barely wide enough for a standard car and there are no railings -- just iced over decaying wood (it is Siberia, after all) that could collapse at any moment.

Guoliang Tunnel
Credit: Getty Images

Guoliang Tunnel Road

The literal English translation for the mile-long Guoliang Tunnel Rd is “Road that tolerates no mistakes.” Built by 13 local villagers in the Taihang Mountains (many of whom died during construction), the chiseled mountain tunnel measures only 15ft high by 12ft wide but rocks insane views of the Chinese landscape through 30 “windows” that were cut out of the cliff. Not only is it one of the steepest roads in the world, but it's become one of the area's top tourist attractions to be visited... on foot.