Australia’s Most Dangerous Roads for Drivers

Published by Marshall & Gibson Lawyers on the 12 December 2014

Death road. Thankfully, this is a road that exists in Bolivia, not Australia. With a 600 metre drop off a very narrow and winding road that is a two-way system, even though the path is barely wide enough for two cars, it can easily be understood why this is the most dangerous road in the world. Australia may not have as bad a road as this, but we do have a road that has made it into the top 22 worst roads in the world – and it’s not narrow and winding. Instead, it’s a main highway.

Australia should really have some of the safest roads in the world, particularly given the funding that is put toward our road infrastructure, driver safety, and road rules. Yet for any person that has driven on the roads in Australia, you may not need much convincing to conclude that driving down under can be a dangerous  activity.

It pays to have an idea as to which roads are the most dangerous roads in Australia before going on holidays this Christmas. With this information you may drive more vigilantly, or perhaps even choose a route that avoids these roads, if possible.

So which roads are the most dangerous in Australia?

Australian highways

On 13 March 2014, the Courier Mail reported how a road in Australia has been named in one of the top 22 worst roads in the world. The ‘honour’ goes to the Bruce Highway in Queensland, which is one of the main arterial roads between Brisbane and the north of Queensland. In a study conducted in 2012 by the Australian Automobile Association, Queensland’s national highway accounted for 50% of all Queensland casualty crashes and 61% of all the deaths on the state’s roads between 2005 to 2009. The study also revealed that Bruce Highway accounted for 17% of all deaths when the national road network was considered. This means that almost one fifth of all deaths on Australian roads occur on the Bruce Highway.

The Bruce Highway is not alone, however. There are numerous other Australian highways which make up Australia’s most dangerous roads. In NSW, it would come as little surprise to people who live there that the Pacific Highway is the most dangerous road in NSW, according to a study performed by the Australian Road Assessment Program.

Other dangerous roads around Australia include:

  • The Stuart Highway
  • The Great Western Highway
  • The Newell Highway

What is interesting from the studies regarding the most dangerous roads in Australia is that they are all highways. These roads are usually used for long journeys, with trucks and cars travelling at high speeds for extended periods of time. As such, we have raised the question of whether the danger of these roads is not caused so much by a terrain issue, but rather a driver fault issue. This could be a consequence of the length of the journey, the speed of the vehicle, or the reckless nature of the driving. And in some cases, it could be from a combination of all three.

When you are on the roads, try not be complacent of this activity. Take heed of all road rules, and even those recommended activities such as “Stop. Revive. Survive”. You should only overtake when there are overtaking lanes, and do not tailgate the person in front of you.

As we approach the holiday season when an increased number of people will be on our roads, take the time to ensure you reach your destination safely. Have regular breaks throughout your journey, take care not to speed, and be aware that other drivers on the road may not be as considerate or safe a driver as you.