The Five Most Dangerous Roads In Mexico
We should start this article off with a disclaimer, and so we will. Nobody should deliberately go looking for the world’s most dangerous roads with the intention of driving down them.
As thrilling as the experience might be, they’re listed as being among the world’s most dangerous roads for a reason, and the reason is that they’re not safe. For whatever reason - geographic, climatic, or socio-economic - dangerous roads are places where bad things happen to good people.
Having cleared that up, it's still useful to know where the dangerous roads are, and they could even still be a delight to drive down if some of the danger could be managed! Today, we're looking at dangerous roads in Mexico. Think of Mexico, and the first things that come to mind are likely to be stereotypical images like cacti, sombreros, and hot chili. Those of you who are a little more familiar with history might think of the Aztecs (oddly enough they're also represented at online slots websites with games like Aztec Secrets). If people knew a little more about the county, though, they might be tempted to swap out their mental pictures of cacti in the desert for mental images of lethal roads.
Veracruz highway in Mexico isn’t just one of the most dangerous roads in the country - it’s one of the most dangerous roads anywhere in the world - and the dangers don’t have much to do with the layout or safety of the road surface. Instead, it’s all about the level of violent crime that happens up and down the stretch of the road, which has frequently resulted in loss of life during carjackings and robberies. The main focus for criminals in the area is cargo theft, which has been increasing at a rate of 14% each year since 2012 on the Veracruz highway. That makes it the worst of all the types of dangerous road - it isn't thrilling to drive down, but you put yourself in danger by doing so anyway. If you are ever forced to drive down Veracruz, take a small car and make it as obvious as possible that you aren't carrying expensive luggage.
Federal Highway 1
At this point, we should probably tell you something very important about driving in Mexico and Mexican drivers. In six Mexican states, there's no legal requirement to pass a test in order to drive a car. Until very recently, you didn’t even need a license to drive in Mexico City. That makes any dangerous Mexican road twice as dangerous as a similar road elsewhere because you're surrounded by people who have no idea to drive safely. That's probably a very distracting thought for anybody driving down Federal Highway One. The road is little more than a snaking cliff-edge, with sheer drops down into the sea and bends that loom up on you without warning. Throw in the fact that people will attempt to overtake and undertake you on those bends, and you have a truly terrifying experience on your hands. The scenery is beautiful, but you'll be far too focused on staying on the road to appreciate it.
This road, also known as Mexico 45, is one that we've looked at before. Anyone who sets off on a long-distance drive from the north or northwest of Mexico to anywhere else will end up on this road for at least a short while, and that makes it extremely crowded. There's been a huge upswing in traffic volume during the 20 years thanks to industrial growth in the area, but the road network hasn't been expanded to cope with the increased demand. Factor in the unlicensed drivers we mentioned earlier on, and you have a recipe for disaster. An average of three accidents happen on this stretch of road every day. Also, the road is more than five thousand feet above sea level - which isn't a problem most of the time, but suddenly becomes one when you encounter the El Bajio inland valley and begin to worry about the prospect of falling into it.
Federal Highway 101
Mexican Federal Highway 1 is bad. Mexican Federal Highway 101 is far worse. This highway, which crosses the Sierra Madre cordillera, is known by locals as 'The Highway of Death.' It lives up to that name. Although it's been cleared up in recent years, burnt out, and bullet-punctures wrecked cars on the side of the highway used to be a regular sight for those who were brave enough to drive along it regularly. It's thought that much of the road and the land around it is controlled by the cartel, and the police are either unwilling or unable to prevent them from going about their business. That means robbery and carjacking are a constant risk, as is violence and abduction. Normally we give advice to anyone thinking of driving down a specific road. In this case, we're just going to tell you to avoid it completely.
Espinazo del Diablo
As soon as we translate the name of this road into English for you, you'll get a sense of the level of danger that people have come to associate with it. It's called 'The Devil's Backbone'. This is a mountain road, and while all mountain roads come with at least a hint of danger, this one is particularly lethal. If, for some reason, your idea of fun is coming up against zigzag turns at great height, and hairpin bends that test your brakes, this is the road for you. You'll find the route between Mazatlan and Durango toward the west coast of the country. The entire stretch is more than five thousand feet above sea level. That means that if you lose your way or come off the road, your prospects of survival are very grim indeed. Throw in the fact that the road surface freezes in winter, and wild animals will sometimes appear from nowhere and block your path, and you have a road that nobody with any sense would ever drive down unless they absolutely had to.
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