W Road

W Road

Located in Hamilton County, Tennessee, United States, W Rd is a short mountain road with 3 really tight hairpin turns. The turns are so steep that ‘you can see our taillights ahead of us’. The road is prohibited to semi-trailer trucks.

The road is paved. It’s 5.14km (3.2 miles) long running north-south from East Brow Road towards Mountain Creek Road via 3 sharp hairpin turns. There are three sharp switchbacks that give the road its name. The road begins with a sharp hairpin turn and then straightens out into a series of mild curves, climbing slowly up beneath the bluff of the mountain. It's only when it gets near the top that the road snaps sharply left, then sharply right, and then back left again, with each turn almost 180 degrees. The W's switchbacks are about the tightest possible. Even with automobiles, it is generally necessary to stop before turning to allow oncoming traffic to pass. Swing too wide and you're in the wrong lane; cut it too close and the bottom of your car scrapes against the side of the road.

No vehicles exceeding 22 feet in length. No trailers allowed. The road was built in the 1890s as an unpaved toll road and a lot of trucks got stuck every year. Coming up the mountain, the first warning appears in the middle of the roundabout that connects Mountain Creek Road and the W — a spot where a driver's attention may need to be on oncoming traffic. The other two sets of signs are bright red and clearly state that three-axle trucks are banned, but by the time drivers see the signs there is no place to turn around. Local officials say too many truckers are relying on GPS systems for directions, and the find-the-shortest-route software often steers them straight up the mountain — and into trouble.