Highway to the Danger Zone! 10 of the Scariest Roads in America
As Americans prepare to hit the road for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend, there are some highways that can force even the most skilled drivers to break out in a sweat.
From twisting turns to rough terrain to roads that cut across changing weather patterns, InsideEdition.com takes a look at 10 of the scariest highways in America.
Colorado State Highway 82
If you suffer from a fear of heights – this highway is not for you. The stretch from Glenwood Springs to Granite is the highest paved road in North America. Colorado State Highway 82 sits at an astonishing 12,095 feet above sea level at Independence Pass in the Rocky Mountains.
The highway is chock-full of steep drop-offs, tight curves and narrow stretches that can only fit one car at a time. Due to the hazardous conditions, the state’s department of transportation closes down the route through Independence Pass every winter.
The highway even boasts Royal Gorge Bridge – a 1,260-foot-long bridge near Canon City that towers 955 feet above the Arkansas River. The bridge is the highest suspension bridge on the continent and the second highest in the world, behind China’s Beipanjiang River Bridge.
Pacific Coast Highway
California’s Pacific Coast Highway may be one of the most scenic and beautiful stretches of road in the country, but it's also one of the most terrifying.
Weather patterns – including fog, wind and rain – can change in an instant here, and landslides remain a constant hazard. Gas stations are also sparse along the 655-mile-long stretch of highway, so drivers must be prepared.
“With rapidly changing coastal weather, sketchy road conditions and a population of people who make their living from the tourists the road draws each year, PCH deserves your respect,” Insurance agency Allstate writes on their website.
Tight curves above steep cliffs present white-knuckle driving conditions. The highway may be gorgeous for the passengers in a vehicle but harrowing for drivers.
If you watched History Channel’s Ice Road Truckers, Alaska’s Dalton Highway is the real star of the show.
The disturbing stretch of road was built in the 1970s to help bring supplies on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. The 414-mile route is unforgiving for drivers due to its below freezing temperatures, hard and icy terrain, whiteout snow storms and the always dangerous avalanches.
The highway twists around steep mountains and the state has alerted car rental companies to forbid customers from driving the poorly paved piece of land.
Because of its location, cell phone reception is sparse as are gas and service stations, so if a driver is stuck or needs help, prayers may be all they can rely on.
Saddle Road / Hawaii Route 200
Hawaii Route 200, known locally as Saddle Road, is located on the archipelago’s Big Island and thanks to thick fog, low visibility, rough terrain and one-lane bridges, it can be a bear to deal with.
Some rental companies on the island don't allow their customers to drive it, according to Conde Naste Traveler.
While the state is going to great lengths to widen the road, the 45.7-mile-long highway is one tourists should avoid.
New Jersey’s Clinton Road is not scary because its driving hazards, but because of the haunting legacy it has kept for decades.
Clinton Road is known to be the home of the infamous Jersey Devil, who has been known to scare drivers as well as passengers who cruise on it at night.
The road has been home to many rumored sightings – everything from ghosts, UFOs and even snow in the middle of summer.
While on the road, a driver will pass “Dead Man’s Curve,” which leads to Ghost Boy Bridge. If you toss a coin into the water from the bridge, the boy will toss it back, according to legend.
Weird NJ magazine author Mark Moran told The Daily News in 2014: “It’s like a dark highway into people’s innermost fears.”
Mona Lisa Drive
Legend has it that in the early 1900s, a wealthy New Orleans man donated a large part of his property to the city in order to create a park and more roads. The donation came with a catch – they had to erect a statute of his late daughter, Mona.
After the statue was displayed in a cul-de-sac at the end of Mona Lisa Drive, vandals came and knocked it down. Since then, the road has allegedly been haunted.
Drivers have reported visions of a white floating Mona. The apparition has allegedly scratched car windows and has been heard moaning.
The statue was never replaced.
Highway 550 in Colorado
Highway 550 was built in 1926 and is located in the southwestern part of Colorado and connects the quaint towns of Ouray and Silverton. The highway is 25 miles long and 11,000 feet above sea level.
The drive may not seem too frightening at first, but most of the highway is void of guardrails and shoulders and full of twists and turns. If you fail to take a turn properly, you may wind up going over a cliff.
California State Route 138
Referred to by locals as “the highway of death” and “death road,” California State Route 138 averaged more than 10 fatalities per year prior to 2006, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The highway’s steep and twisting two-lane road makes for white-knuckle driving.
In the last decade, the state has made many efforts to improve the driving experience on the route and has managed to reduce the death toll; however, it still remains extremely dangerous.
The stretch of U.S. 24 that runs from Toledo, Ohio, to Fort Wayne, Indiana, is a treacherous 23-mile highway that has seen an alarming amount of fatal car wrecks – especially with commercial trucks.
The highway, one of America’s first, was built in 1926. It was even known to locals as “the killway.” In 2012, pieces of the highway were finally widened and the 1,540-mile-long has become safer in the sections from Toledo to Fort Wayne but still a hazardous route to drive on.
The 63-mile-long highway in southern Montana from butte to Three Forks may not seem scary or dangerous, but looks are deceiving.
The highway is known for wild driving as some vehicles clock in at more than 100 miles per hour and if an accident occurs, it has been reported that it can take up to 80 minutes for an ambulance to arrive on the scene to transport victims to a hospital.
The drive is scenic with mountain ranges in the foreground. However, there's a desolate area of the two-lane highway. There may not be another driver, person or town for miles in case of an emergency.