Posted November 10, 2013 by SmarterTravel.com
Forget about your seat belt: You might want to strap into a parachute for some of these dizzying and dangerous roads. We hear there are some killer views. (Literally!)
North Yungas Road, Bolivia
Maybe it's the dizzying heights that will scare you. Or maybe it's the shocking lack of guardrails. Or maybe, just maybe, it's the 300 drivers who reportedly plummet to their deaths each year that will give you pause before you tackle this narrow death trap with a view. The careening adventure cyclists probably won't help, either. Toss in a healthy dose of wet weather and accompanying fog and you can see where "Death Road" got its nickname. Forget about wearing a seat belt—you might be better off with a parachute.
Find Your Way There: North Yungas Road connects Bolivia's Amazon region with La Paz.
Watch: Drive the North Yungas Road vicariously here.
Irohazaka Road, Japan
A thing of hyper-winding beauty, Japan's Irohazaka Road features a staggering 120-degree bend and 48 frightful hairpin turns. To complicate matters, American drivers must also be prepared to navigate the drive on the opposite side of the car—and probably in a stick shift, to boot. But hey, at least there are guardrails!
Find Your Way There: Irohazaka Road is actually two roads, one going up and the other going down, on Route 120 near Nikko, Japan.
Watch: Drive the Irohazaka Road vicariously here.
Squeezing in at a mere 12.2 inches at its narrowest, Germany's Spreuerhofstrasse is not for the broad-shouldered or wide-girthed set. Its claustrophobia-inducing measurements were established in the 18th century, and today it holds the title of narrowest street in the world. Sadly, this record-breaking street may soon cease to exist due to a water-seepage issue that has caused the already-constricted walls to bulge.
Find Your Way There: Spreuerhofstrasse is in Reutlingen, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany.
Watch: Walk the Spreuerhofstrasse vicariously here.
Guoliang Tunnel, China
If Germany's Spreuerhofstrasse is anxiety inducing, China's Guoliang Tunnel is borderline hyperventilation worthy. This three-quarter-mile-long tunnel was literally carved along the side of and through a mountain. Speed, altitude, and incoming traffic don't help the hair-raising situation, either.
Find Your Way There: The Guoliang Tunnel is near Guoliang Village in the Henan province of China.
Watch: Drive the Guoliang Tunnel vicariously here.
National Highway 110, China
What's scarier than rush-hour traffic? Try a 12-day traffic jam. Back in 2010, a two-mile-per-day pace on this highway was attributed to an influx of vehicles on a single road. Ironically enough, the main cause of the congestion was a large number of trucks transporting building materials to be used for highway expansion. Stranded drivers took to card playing and reading to keep entertained. For nearly two weeks. Traffic on National Highway 110 remains routinely congested to this day.
Find Your Way There: National Highway 110 runs from Beijing to Yinchuan, China.
Watch: Drive National Highway 110 vicariously here.
James Dalton Highway, Alaska
Alaska's unforgiving landscape is for neither the weak nor the unprepared. In fact, the James Dalton Highway is so desolate that you'll come across just three towns (combined population: 60) over the length of this roughly 400-mile-long road. Expect minimal roadside assistance.
Find Your Way There: The James Dalton Highway is mostly a utility highway frequented by trucks serving the area's oil fields. It runs along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, starting north of Fairbanks and ending just shy of the Arctic Ocean.
Watch: Drive the James Dalton Highway vicariously here.
Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway
Norway's Atlantic Ocean Road topped The Guardian's list of the Five Best Road Trips in 2006. The road features eight architecturally interesting bridges and viewpoints that will take your breath away, and it even passes by scuba-diving resorts. But the 5.2-mile-long stretch also has a dark side: storms—lots of 'em. When the fierce Norwegian Sea whips its fury upon windshields, visibility drops and danger rises. So file this one under "scenic but deadly."
Find Your Way There: The Atlantic Ocean Road runs across a partially inhabited archipelago and connects Averoy with the mainland at Eide.
Watch: Drive the Atlantic Ocean Road vicariously here.
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