It's time to redefine your idea of a hard drive. It's time to redefine your idea of a "road." Jalopnik readers have found the toughest countries to drive across. Your commute will feel easier.
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We should remember that for all of these brutally difficult routes, they have all been covered in the past, and on worse roads with much more primitive vehicles. In 1907, for instance, five cars set off from Beijing (Peking) to Paris, covering a route that had only been travelled on horseback. The winning car, a seven-liter Itala, is so crude by today's standards that you'd hardly consider it more capable than a big Polaris.
Still, the four of the five aristocrats on that trip persevered and made it to the finish. The prize waiting in Paris was nothing more than a big bottle of champagne.
Of course, there were many other automotive pioneers, criss-crossing the United States long before we had anything resembling paved roads, and making it across Africa and South America in the colonial era. No matter how difficult a crossing you attempt today, it may never match these old expeditions for difficulty.
If you do think there's an insanely difficult country to drive across that we forgot to mention, please let us know in Kinja below. Try and post maps of the route, but as with most of these trips, Google will likely tell you it's impossible.
Photo Credit: Motographer
Across India in 2011 there were 17 people killed per hour in road accidents. Even leaving out the difficult terrain you will have to work through in the mountainous north, getting across the subcontinent's traffic alone will be a massive challenge.
The Philippines is comprised of 7,107 islands. Either get an amphibious car, or be prepared to suffer through a lot of ferries.
There is an easy way to get across Bolivia. There are indeed well-serviced highways until you get up into the jungle, and even then there's a new road which bypasses the famous Death Road.
However, if you do take the long way through the country, you are looking at some of the most difficult roads in the world. These are routes where bus drivers ask their passengers to get out and walk behind the bus, which has a good chance of tumbling off the road and down a cliff.
Afghanistan has all the makings of a difficult country to drive across: deserts, mountains, and horribly serviced dirt paths that pass for roads. Afghanistan adds an extra bit of spice to the journey by being an active war zone. The country, as well as the countryside, can be less than hospitable to travelling westerners.
They call it "Oiapoque ao Chui," and crossing Brazil from north to south is anything but easy. If you're near the capitals, sure there are well maintained roads, but get away from any heavy loads of traffic and the roads go to shit.
Even worse is crossing Brazil from east to west, as the Transamazonica Highway, supposed to make the trip easy, was never fully paved, and is regularly reclaimed by the Amazon. In the dry season it's absurdly difficult. In the rainy season, it might be impossible.
Crossing Chile from north to south is not physically possible without crossing into other countries. There just aren't roads to cover the full 2,600 miles from the desert down to frozen Patagonia. Dan Neil made the trip (read the story here), but we're not exactly sure what route he took to make his way past the impassible fjords and Andean mountains that block at least 800 miles of the way.
Hey, Ewan McGregor crossed Mongolia on a motorcycle and people get across on shitty $1,000 cars all the time! How hard can it be? Well, there are some paved roads in Mongolia (about 1,600 miles of them), but the rest of the country's 25,000 miles of roads are little more than dirt paths. Your car will break, you will be stranded out in the desert, it will not be easy.
Despite all of its ice, Antarctica is one of the driest places on earth. The whole continent is basically a massive frozen desert, covered in hardpacked ice with some bare rock mountains thrown in. Do not think about getting stuck in the frozen wastes of the interior.
On the plus side, traffic is very light.
Russia takes the difficulty of Mongolia's lack of infrastructure and stretches it across the full width of Siberia. The "highway" that crosses from east to west is often just called "the route." It's the only one road going through the whole section of your country, so you don't really need a special name to distinguish it from any others.
In addition, the roads are packed with suicidal trucks and every manner of insane occurrence, as captured on dash cams across the country.
Suggested By: Gugeifer, Photo Credit: misspudding (Photo titled "So, the bridge was out")
1.) The Democratic Republic of Congo
The third largest country in Africa and the second poorest in the world, even the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo doesn't know the state of its (lack of) infrastructure. A Belgian couple made it across in 2008, and they were the only people to cross the country in 20 years.
You can find an excerpt of their story on how they were stopped by the police twice in one kilometer here and the full piece on Expedition Portal. Read it and you'll understand why many still consider the country to be impassible.