Some drivers view dangerous roads as a challenge. If you’re considering your safety on the road though, you’ll probably want to give these five roads a pass. In any case, find out what to expect when taking any of them.
At an elevation of 454m above sea level, Kirkstone Pass has an alternate name that you may know it by – The Struggle. This section of A592 rests in the English Lake District, county Cumbria, and is either just particularly tricky or haunted by several ghosts.
Regardless of your belief in the supernatural, the natural environment that makes up Kirkstone Pass is no joke. The road itself is narrow, while its surroundings take your car and hoist it several hundred meters above the rest of Cumbria county. That said, the views you can get from this road are unparallelled in the United Kingdom.
Tales of wandering ghosts add even more charm to the scenery. Stories vary, but some drivers speak of a grey woman and the ghost of a lost hiker, while others talk about a spirit lurking near the (aptly named) Hangman’s Tree. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
Snake Pass, as you might guess, is a particularly winding road that makes its way into Glossop. While the road itself is made of asphalt and was originally engineered by Thomas Telford, A57 now has one of the worst accident records in the United Kingdom. At an elevation of 510m, you’ll have to manoeuvre through this pass to make it between Manchester and Sheffield.
If you’re heading that way, though, make sure you’re doing so on a clear day. There aren’t any ghosts on this road, but the steep sections you’ll have to manoeuvre are so impossible when it’s raining that sometimes the road itself is shut down. It’s not the best motorway to take if you’re doing some holiday driving with the kids, as a result.
Cat and Fiddle Road
This stretch of A537 carries drivers from Macclesfield, Chesire, to Buxton, Derbshire, and is one of the most popular roads to be travelled by UK tourists and leisure motorcyclists. Even so, it’s one of the more dangerous roads in the UK to travel by. While the road itself is made of good material, the bends and falls that are edged solely with rock face can shake anyone’s nerves.
Even so, the drive itself is a pretty one. When you head down this stretch of road in the summertime, you’ll likely find yourself having a quick nip at the Cat and Fiddle Inn, the second highest pub in the country (this inn is only just beat out by the Tan Hill Inn in Northern Yorkshire). Drive carefully, because at its peak, you’ll be travelling the Cat and Fiddle Road at 515m.
Rosedale Chimney Bank
Speaking of summertime fun: you’ll likely hear about just as many cyclists making their way to Rosedale Chimney Bank as you will drivers. The road’s developed a unique moniker across the years: cyclists, specifically, know it as the Chain Breaker.
It’s the Rosedale’s steep hills that’ll really challenge your automobile’s brakes. As you’re travelling from the North Yorkshire Moors to Hutton-le-Hole, consider using motorways instead. When you’re taking the Rosedale Chimney Bank, you’ll start out climbing and you won’t quite stop – until you start going downhill again.
Even though the road is considerably short, coming in at 1.47 km long, it’s still best to take this road slow. The average gradient of Rosedale Chimney Bank comes in at over 10 per cent.
Last but certainly not least among the dangerous roads of the United Kingdom comes Hardknott Pass. This stretch takes drivers between Eskdale and the Duddon Valley, and while it – like many other passes on this list – offers drivers gorgeous views, it pairs them with definitive danger. The road dates back to the Roman invasion of the UK. It’s littered with sharp turns, demanding bends, and unrelenting steepness.
That may not seem so intimidating, as the road only stands 393m above sea level. However, the gradient for the Hardknott Pass comes in at 1 in 3, or 33 per cent. This road isn’t going to be kind to anyone’s breaks, so if you happen to pass through it, take your time. The tarmac used to path the road doesn’t grip tyres well enough in some spots, and it’s entirely possible that you could find yourself spinning out towards the Man of Isle, if you’re unlucky.
So, with safe driving in mind this summer, consider leaving these roads off of your road trip plans. While preparing for road trips that tackle some of these more trying roadways can be fun in theory, road safety should always come first so do your best to reduce the risk of falling off the side of a cliff.