North Yungas Road, Coroico to La Paz, Bolivia
Most of the travel journalists who've written cautionary lists of the world's worst roads seem to agree that the North Yungas Road, a 40-mile (64.3- kilometer) long stretch of hell in Bolivia is the planet's ultimate nightmare for motorists. In 1995, the Inter-American Development Bank singled out the "Road of Death," as it is sometimes called, as the most dangerous route in the world.
It's not hard to figure out why. Built by Paraguayan prisoners of war in the 1930s, North Yungas mostly is a single, winding 10-foot (3-meter) wide lane carved out of the side of a mountain. Worse yet, on the way from Coroico to La Paz, the elevation drops sharply, from 14,000 feet (4,267 meters) to just more than 1,000 feet (304.8 meters). Add traffic -- including plenty of big, ungainly trucks and buses rolling downhill at frightening speeds and taking curves on two wheels -- and you've got a heart-stopping surprise waiting around every bend. The one saving grace is that local custom grants uphill traffic the right of way [source: Drivers.com].
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