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East London - A South African highway of hell is one of the most dangerous roads in the world - alongside routes filled with armed bandits, deadly falls down cliff faces and sub-zero temperatures.
This is according to British motoring-gifts company Driving Experiences, which has created an interactive map of what it says are the world’s most terrifying roads.
On the list, the N2 in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape comes joint fifth on the international list with a “fear factor” rating of 6/10. Tied for fifth are five other notorious routes in the United States, Ukraine, Mexico, Philippines and Greece. There are a total of 22 roads on the list.
“Inconsiderate drivers, broken-down vehicles and roaming animals.”
These are the factors Driving Experiences gives for why the N2 is so dangerous.
Although the N2 route is about 2230km long, along South Africa’s coastline from Cape Town to Ermelo, Driving Experiences states that the 230km stretch between Mthatha and East London is the most dangerous section.
“The main danger comes not from the road itself, but from the vehicles and drivers using it, driving without due care and attention and speeding.”
The site also refers to a twisting interchange of the N2 in the Cape Town city centre, known as Settlers Way, but makes no mention of construction which was done between 2008 and 2010 to address the issue.
“The road which cuts through various mountainous areas has many barrier lines for its numerous hairpins, one unnervingly referred to as Hospital Bend.”
“But many motorists just do not adhere to them.”
Hospital Bend got its nickname because it curves around the grounds of Groote Schuur Hospital and not because of the effect it has on motorists.
The only other road in Africa which makes the list is the Nairobi-Nakuru Highway in Kenya, which is in joint fourth place with a score of 7/10.
The most terrifying road is listed as the North Yungas Road in Bolivia. This road has sheer cliff faces of as much as 1000 metres high while cars often have to pass each other on sections only three metres wide.
The N2 is behind some other truly infamous routes of criminality, icy temperatures and deadly falls. In eastern Brazil, the BR-116 is nicknamed Rodovia da Morte (Highway of Death) because of the scarce police presence despite armed bandits roaming the route, as well as winding turns along sheer cliff faces.
The James Dalton Highway in Alaska twists and turns around the Brooks Range where the record for the lowest temperature in US history was recorded at -62°C.