Solving Cities

The 5 deadliest roads in the world

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Contrary to popular belief, America does not have the safest roads in the world. In fact, it has some of the deadliest.

Aefa Mulholland, writing for Yahoo! Travel, has identified the five most dangerous places to drive in the world. It might surprise some to learn that two out of the five are states in the U.S.A..

The threat of dangerous roads is not about potholes or loose gravel. As you'll read in the list below, danger is perceived as a dynamic mix between behavior and environment.

1. Johannesburg
Carjacking capitol of the world

While stunningly beautiful, South Africa also holds the highest record for carjackings. According to 2011 police statistics, 10,627 carjackings occurred in the country of 50 million.

"But before you cancel your flight, keep in mind that most victims are not seriously injured and that there are things you can do to decrease your carjacking odds," Mulholland writes. "The situation is so dire that residents can legally attach small flamethrowers to cars to repel carjackers."

But tourism is strong in South Africa, and the numbers show repeat visitors. If you have to run a red light and risk a fine in order to avoid stopping at a "carjacking hotspot", so be it.

2. Mississippi
The nation's most dangerous roads

Mississippi is way down at the bottom of list when it comes to safe roads. While the many unlit rival roads don't help, the dismal situation is mostly caused by speeding and lack of seat belt use. The House Judiciary Committee also rejected the bill to make texting while driving illegal. I mean, really?

3. Back roads of Bolivia
Some of the world's most perilous back roads

Having traveled the narrow winding back roads of Bolivia personally (which involved an hour on a bus with a woman clutching the seats of her neighbors while screaming), I can attest to the nerve racking nature of automobile travel in this region of the world.

"One—North Yungas Road—has been nicknamed "El Camino del Muerte." In other words, Road of Death, due to the shocking numbers of buses, cars, and trucks that have plunged over the edge and into the valleys below," writes Mulholland. "Clinging to near sheer cliff-faces, with no guardrails and 2,600-foot drops yawning below, the road has become notorious for its high death count."

4. Pennsylvania
The deadliest animal in North America

Have you ever seen a dead deer lying stiffly by the side of the road with a hot pick X spray painted across its stomach? Then you probably haven't driven around Pennsylvania in November. November is when the male deer have the fight in them.

Moose and deer suffer the plight of drivers in other places - some almost on par with Pennsylvania.

"Alaska had a grim bumper winter for moose collisions. By February, over 600 winter moose collisions had been recorded. Back on the East Coast, New Hampshire is a bad state to be a moose, with around 250 moose-car encounters annually; a hefty figure considering the state's moose population is only 6,000 strong," Mulholland writes.

5. India
Roads with the most chaos—and the most cows

Mulholland's description of driving in India sounds like Salvador Dali and Hieronymus Bosch paintings having an orgy with the Grimm Reaper.

"The noise of car horns is deafening as streets seethe with cars, cows, mopeds, bikes, and pedestrians. Outside the cities, ancient, precariously held-together vehicles hurtle along poorly maintained roads at breakneck speed. Drivers often leave car lights off at night when driving poorly or unlit streets and sometimes shut off engines completely when going down hills."

Images: Creative Commons

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Sonya James

Contributing Writer

Sonya James is a multimedia producer based in New York. With creativity and innovation in mind, she speaks to diverse voices on topics from racism in the art world to the patriotic nature of southern food. She holds a Masters Degree in Community Development. Disclosure