kinda similiar in vain to the Ben Groundwater article i posted about the perils of catching a cab but i enjoyed this one so much im sharing The world's worst roads (and drivers)
by Ben Groundwater
I'm convinced I almost died in Bangladesh.
Not once. Not twice. Not even three times. I gave up counting when I realised I'd have to take my shoes off to keep count.
The road that connects Dhaka, the capital, with Chittagong, in the south, must be the most dangerous stretch of lumpy, potholed tarmac on the planet. When I say I almost died, there were literally centimetres between the bus I was travelling in, and the trucks/buses/vans/rickshaws that were overtaking three abreast on the blind corners ahead of us.
Words can't describe the terror I felt sitting in that bus, watching trucks scrape past my window at 100km/h over and over and over again.
It's not enough that Bangladeshi bus drivers seem to have absolutely no regard for their own lives, let alone those of their passengers. There's also the fact that the single carriageway road that connects the two major cities wasn't built quite big enough for two buses to pass each other, meaning one has to swerve onto the crumbling verge every time you pass.
The verge, unfortunately, is filled with fruit stalls, cows, piles of garbage, people... And there are hundreds of busses and trucks using the road at any one time.
I know they lose the odd driver in the Paris to Dakar rally but, trust me, if they changed it to the Chittagong to Dhaka rally, there'd barely be anyone left in the race by the end.
Some scary roads are fun. On this one, I drew the blinds, put on my iPod, closed my eyes and tried to go to a happy place.
Just as Ricky Ponting now tells us that oils ain't oils, roads also ain't roads. In some countries, everything you thought you knew about road travel can be pretty much thrown out the window.
Asia stands head and shoulders above the rest of the scary-road world. If the world was a car race, Asia would have slammed into a wall on the warm-up lap. I'm not sure whether it's a blatant disregard for - or complete lack of - road rules, but driving in most of Asia is completely bonkers.
Vietnam is scary as hell. Bus drivers overtake on blind corners, one hand pumping the horn, the other casually flicking ash off a cigarette. Speedometers sometimes work, but mostly don't seem to.
In the cities, it's scooters you have to deal with. Swarms of them, like angry motorised wasps with little people straddling them, take over cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. They don't stop for lights, and they sure as hell don't stop for pedestrians. They will swerve around you though, if you keep an even pace.
Indian roads boast all of the above, with the added obstacle of the sacred - and usually pretty dopey - cows wandering around. There's an accepted food chain to Indian roads that goes above the law of the traffic light: pedestrians give way to scooters, scooters give way to rickshaws, rickshaws give way to cars, cars give way to buses, buses give way to trucks, and everyone gives way to the frickin' cows.
Thailand's only mildly frightening, although the lax attitudes to drink-driving in country areas can make for some pretty interesting journeys at night.
Over in Africa, it's not so much the drivers' insanity that'll kill you in Kenya, but the really, really crappy cars. Most of the shared taxis in the country aren't "falling apart" - they fell apart a few years ago, and seem to be held together now with a couple of occy straps and some strategically placed arms.
It doesn't work though. You can't drive half an hour through the countryside in Kenya without going past the smoking wreck of a minced matatu or two.
Egypt is pretty scary too, as anyone who's been in a black-and-white Cairo cab could attest. You know something's wrong when you find yourself involuntarily pressing your foot on an imaginary brake while the car careens through traffic at 100km/h.
Europe's mostly safe, although there are parts of Italy that will have your knuckles turning white. The Bologna Pass must be the worst stretch - my tour bus was clipped by a truck on there at about 90km/h, which is pretty nasty when there's a gaping abyss just a small guard rail away from you.
Some South American roads border on the bonkers too; but really, they've got nothing on Asia.
My advice: if you're a thrill seeker or adrenalin junkie, ditch the wimpy sky-diving and bungee-jumping routine right now. Head directly to Dhaka, and get yourself a bus ticket.Which country do you think has the scariest roads?