Australian drivers are lucky because our roads don’t always show up in the top 10 or even 20 of the world’s most dangerous, although a couple pop in periodically depending on the nature of the survey. These are the most common – listed either due to the accident rate per year or the difficulty in negotiating their bends.
The Great Ocean Road
Regarded as one of Australia’s most scenic drives, the 243 kilometre Great Ocean Road along the southern coast of Victoria between Torquay and Allansford is winding and perched close to the edge of high cliffs. It can be dangerous if you lose concentration on the many tight turns, so it’s best to stop if you want to admire the spectacular views.
This is an inland version of the Great Ocean Road, but replacing ocean views with scenic bush settings. The road linking Sydney’s west to the Hunter Region is very narrow and winding in places, sometimes requiring drivers to pull onto the verges to allow oncoming traffic to pass. Although it is now fully sealed, the Putty Road can be particularly hazardous in wet weather.
Pacific Highway, Northern New South WalesEven though a great deal of resealing and widening has been completed on the stretch of Australia’s number one highway between the Queensland border and Port Macquarie, it continues to occasionally make the list of the world’s dangerous roads due to its high accident rate. Once put down to its sharp curves and narrow, single carriageways, it continues to be a dangerous road due to the many heavy freight vehicles that use it.
Bruce Highway, Queensland
This falls into a similar category as the Pacific Highway in Northern New South Wales. It has had a lot of work completed in recent years, straightening some curves, reducing crests and widening lanes. Yet it still on occasions makes the list of the world’s most dangerous roads. Like the Pacific, it is a major route north from Brisbane and carries a great amount of heavy freight. Despite all the work, there are still sections where drivers need to take risks to overtake prime movers and other freight vehicles.
Eyre Highway, Nullarbor PlainWhile perfectly straight and flat, this 1100 kilometre stretch of road sometimes gets listed as one of the world’s ‘slaughter allies’. The long drive between the West Australian coast and South Australia causes people to fall asleep behind the wheel and crash at high speeds. In addition, dawn and dusk can see kangaroos, emus and camels try to cross the road in front of speeding vehicles. You need to stay awake and stay alert on this road.
If you are travelling on one of these roads, or any road you are not familiar with, do a little research beforehand and negotiate the journey with care and attention. Slow down if you feel unsafe – it is always better to arrive late than not at all.