Most Dangerous Roads: Yungas Road (Bolivia’s Road of Death)By Village Mayor • Jun 15th, 2008 • Category: Architecture, Dangerous, Latest Post
This deadly 35 miles stretch between La Paz and Coroico in Bolivia is estimated to claim the lives of 200-300 travelers every year.
Keeping in mind, that this is just a single road, the death probability on this road is very high. On the other hand, this road has a very beautiful landscape view.
According to wiki, the road was built in 1930s during the Chaco War by Paraguayan prisoners.
Because of the extreme dropoffs up to 2,000 feet, single-lane width, and lack of guardrails, the road is extremely dangerous.
Further still, rain and fog can make visibility precarious, the road surface muddy, and loosen rocks from the hillsides above.
More than 100 people were killed when a bus veered of Yungas road into a canyon on July 24, 1983. It is said to be Bolivia’s worst road accident.
One of the local road rules specifies that the downhill driver never has the right of way and must move to the outer edge of the road. This forces fast vehicles to stop so that passing can be negotiated safely. Also, vehicles drive on the left, as opposed to the right like the rest of Bolivia. This gives the driver in a left-hand-drive vehicle a better view over their outside wheel, making passing safer.
In 1990s mountain biker enthusiasts have made it a favorite destination for downhill biking, since there is a 64 km stretch of continuous downhill riding. At least 13 of these cyclists have been killed on the ride.
Having said all that let’s take a closer look at Bolivia’s Road of Death. Would you have the guts to drive on this road?
Oh yea… Looks pretty scary, ah? I managed to find some videos about Bolivia’s Road of death. It looks even worse on tape… And the fact that locals pray before using this road doesn’t amaze me at all. First one is made by National Geographic.
Some really crazy bikers going downhill…
In the following video the ritual is showed that locals perform to bless the journey. TV reporter gives such description: “He prepared effigies of cars and trucks and a horrific looking desiccated chicken. He asked me to sprinkle coco leaves on this peculiar pile. Then he build a fire and burned the lot. Then he broke out the beer advising me to get drunk before attempting the crossing.”
Finally it’s nice to know that in 2006 after 20 years of construction, a new road from La Paz to Coroico was opened to public. This new route features modern construction and many other elements that make it considerably safer than the original route.