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Dangerous Road

Dangerous Road: The Most Perilous Highway in the World

Dangerous Road: The Most Perilous Highway in the World

Imagine driving on a narrow, winding road that clings to the edge of a steep cliff, with no guardrails or barriers to prevent you from plunging into the abyss. Now imagine that this road is also shared by trucks, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians, all competing for space and visibility. This is the reality of the Dangerous Road, also known as the Yungas Road or the Death Road, in Bolivia.

The Dangerous Road connects the capital city of La Paz with the town of Coroico in the Yungas region, a lush and fertile area of the Andes Mountains. The road was built in the 1930s by Paraguayan prisoners during the Chaco War, and has claimed thousands of lives since then. According to some estimates, 200 to 300 people die every year on this road, making it one of the most deadly roads in the world.

What makes this road so dangerous? First of all, the road is extremely narrow, only 3 meters wide in some places, and has sharp curves and blind corners. Second, the road has a huge altitude difference of about 3,600 meters, which means that drivers have to cope with changing weather conditions, from fog and rain to snow and ice. Third, the road has no drainage system, so it is often covered by mudslides, rockfalls, and waterfalls. Fourth, the road has no traffic rules or signs, so drivers have to rely on honking and flashing lights to communicate with each other.

Despite its dangers, the road is still used by locals who need to transport goods and people between La Paz and Coroico. It is also a popular attraction for thrill-seeking tourists who want to experience the adrenaline rush of biking or driving on this road. However, this also increases the risk of accidents and collisions, as many tourists are not familiar with the road conditions or the local driving culture.

The Bolivian government has built a new and safer road that bypasses the Dangerous Road, but some people still prefer to use the old one for its scenic views and historical value. The Dangerous Road remains a symbol of Bolivia’s rugged beauty and resilience, but also a reminder of its tragic past and present.

One of the most famous and tragic incidents on the Dangerous Road occurred in 1983, when a bus carrying more than 100 passengers skidded off the road and fell into a ravine, killing everyone on board. The exact number of victims is unknown, as some bodies were never recovered. The bus wreckage can still be seen today, as a grim reminder of the road’s hazards.

Another notorious spot on the road is the San Pedro waterfall, where a cascade of water crashes onto the road, creating a slippery and treacherous surface. Drivers have to slow down and carefully maneuver their vehicles through this section, while also avoiding the spray of water that reduces their visibility. Some drivers choose to drive on the wrong side of the road to avoid the waterfall, which increases the risk of head-on collisions.

The Dangerous Road has also been featured in several media and entertainment outlets, such as the BBC’s Top Gear, where the hosts drove on the road as part of a challenge. The road has also been used as a location for movies, documentaries, video games, and books. Some of these portrayals have been criticized for sensationalizing or romanticizing the road, while ignoring its harsh realities and human costs.

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