It was decades ago that the “Inter-American Development Bank” first declared the Yungas Road to be the "world's most dangerous road”. And little wonder, as it is a dirt and rock road located in the South American country of Bolivia that descends steeply for 38 miles from La Paz, located at an elevation of over 12,000 feet, down to the beautiful rain forest town of Coroico located on the basin of the Amazon River. With one considers that the road drops nearly two miles in the process, one soon realizes why it got its name.
Statistics indicate that an average of 26 vehicles fell off this road annually. In the process, an estimated 200 to 300 people lost their lives there each year. The numerous cliffs and vertical drop-offs, most with no guardrails at all, served as virtual deathtraps, especially given that the roadway very often had room for only one vehicle at a time to pass.
Added to this is the weather. Rain and fog abound, often producing slippery surfaces. Furthermore, the heavy rains often loosen dirt and produce mud and rockslides in the process.
On one particularly infamous day, July 24, 1983, over 100 passengers were killed when a bus veered over the edge and crashed into a canyon far below.
Ironically, the very danger the road presents has now served to turn it into a popular tourist attraction. As first reported in the Associated Press back in 2002, ever since the early 1990s, when word first began to spread to the outside world, adventure-seekers have flocked in increasing numbers to “the world’s most dangerous road”.
As I viewed this documentary, and then researched the road itself, I could not help but think of the words of Jesus Christ in His famed “Sermon on the Mount” as recorded in the New Testament Gospel of Matthew (chapter 7, verses 13-14):
“13Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
The world at large may view its most dangerous road as the steep and treacherous two mile drop from the top of the Andes Mountains to the Amazon River basin. But, ironically, Jesus tells us that the road that is truly the most dangerous is actually the one that is broad and most easily travelled!
For as counterintuitive as it may seem, it is actually the easy road that leads to our destruction; and the difficult one that leads to our salvation. The former, easily trodden, leads straight to Hell and eternal death; whereas the latter leads to Heaven and eternal life!
Of course, all of this begs the question: “Which of these two roads are you and I on today?” I can only answer for myself, as I have chosen to travel the straight and narrow path laid down by Jesus Christ. How you answer is entirely up to you.
But as you decide which of the two roads to travel, broad and easy or narrow and difficult, please consider where each one ultimately leads. For the steps you take today will inevitably determine where you wind up tomorrow!
Graham Gori, "Thrills on the Highway of Death," Associated Press (November 24, 2002).