A car is a wonderful thing. Besides being an extension of the penis, it’s also surprisingly useful as a way to get from one place to another, even taking us to places – and through – that our ancestors never dared for fear of terrible, terrible death. On the other hand, sometimes cars fail at the worst possible time – which makes the whole penis metaphor thing disturbingly apt. When this happens, it’s no fun – the car thing I mean, not the penis thing, but then again that’s no fun either – and you find yourself stranded, alone, and maybe even worse, especially if it happens in one of these terrible spots, nine of the worst places for your car to break down. But hey, at least you still have your penis.
9 Southern Appalachia
Look, I don’t mean to perpetuate negative stereotypes, but if you’re cruising along in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of the southern United States and your car breaks down, you’re going to get a little nervous. Call it shameful profiling if you will, but you will be sitting there with eyes and ears wide open like an owl, hoping to God that you don’t start hearing dueling banjos in the middle of the night. At best, you’ll find yourself stranded for a few hours before a mechanic who looks like Sloth from The Goonies gives you a hand and takes you home to his ma/wife/sister/what the hell is that thing. At worst, you’ll end up like poor Ned Beatty squealing like a pig. So yeah, make sure your car is all gassed up, the oil gets changed and everything is in working order before you take a trip through Redneckistan.
8 Death Valley
This one should be pretty self-explanatory. I mean, it’s called Death Valley not Candy and Blowjobs Valley. I’m guessing Blowjobs Valley would be a pretty popular spot for “accidental” car breakdowns. But not Death Valley, where the relentless sun and heat would leave you dying of thirst and heatstroke before a friendly trucker could even come along and cover you and your dead car with dust. At the very least, make sure you have a lot of water with you and pray that they don’t eventually find bits and pieces of you in the stomach of some buzzard.
7 New Jersey
New Jersey? Yes, New Jersey. And it’s for one simple reason: New Jersey ranks as the most expensive state for your car to break down, with an average repair cost of $392.99 due in large part to a price increase on automotive components following a surge in demand and a subsequent shortage during and after Hurricane Sandy. But aside from being the most expensive place for your car to break down you still have to deal with the fact that, well, that you’re stuck in New Jersey. Just stay in your car and don’t make eye contact or feed anyone suspiciously orange who comes up to you and flashes their abs for food or booze.
Nevada is on this list because it’s almost all desert. It’s a desolate place and while conditions might not be quite as harsh – or notorious – as, say, Death Valley, the utter emptiness of it means that you’re going to have a hell of a time either finding someone to help you or a gas station to help yourself. In fact, there is a sign at the Oregon/Nevada border warning people that there isn’t a single place to fill up for 100 miles. Basically, as soon as you hit Nevada you’re on your own. Plus, Nevada does strange things to the mind. Just ask Hunter S. Thompson, whose work is littered with tales of savage madness in Nevada. It’s just a bad trip all around.
5 Great Salt Desert, Utah
Like Nevada, the problem here is desolation. But if anything, the Great Salt Desert of Utah is even more desolate. The worst stretch is a 107 mile run on I-70, in which there are zero gas stations, restaurants, or anything resembling civilization. And if you do breakdown, and somehow manage to get hold of someone who can help you – cell reception is spotty at best – it’s a 54 mile drive just for the nearest tow truck company to get to you. You’re gonna be waiting a looooong time. And that’s before even taking the arid and flat landscape into account – there are signs posted along the highway warning people that the monotony of the land can cause both drowsiness and hallucinations. This is the one place on this list where you not only have to worry about the environment, but about your own mind creating monsters that want to eat you, or Mormons who want to convert you. Terrifying.
4 The Everglades
If you break down in the Everglades, you get the oh so fun experience of being stranded combined with the fear that if someone does find you it will probably be some terrifying swamp man with an alligator tooth necklace. But that’s not the worst part. Oh no. Speaking of alligators, the worst part about breaking down in the Everglades is that it’s home to a stretch of road called Alligator Alley. I’m sure you can figure out why. It’s one thing to be afraid that the swamp people will abduct you, it’s quite another to have to worry that a goddamn alligator is going to eat you just because you forgot to check the oil before you left home.
3 James W. Dalton Highway, Alaska
The James W. Dalton Highway in Northern Alaska is a 414 mile long gravel road running to the Arctic Ocean. So, right away you know conditions aren’t exactly going to be hospitable if you break down. But making it even worse is that there are no public facilities along the entire 414 mile stretch aside from two spots where you can get gas, so chances are you’re gonna be there awhile. But in this day of cell phones, you’re never too alone, are you? Bad news, friends – in this part of the world, there is zero cell phone coverage. Basically, if your car breaks down on the James W. Dalton highway, your best bet is just to be eaten by a grizzly bear before you freeze or starve to death.
Look, as someone who has spent big chunks of time in his life in Detroit I can tell you that the city gets a bad rap. It’s not all a dangerous warzone. If you stick by the river and Greektown and the area around Ford Field and Comerica Park, you’ll probably be alright. But there are some parts of Detroit that might as well be taken from a Robocop movie. These are the places where you really, really don’t want to break down, especially at night. Hell, if you can get away with it you probably shouldn’t even stop all the way at stop signs. Otherwise, there is a pretty good chance that you’re going to find yourself liberated from your car and maybe even your life. And in real life, Robocop isn’t going to swing by and save you. No, instead of Robocop, you’ll just get a crackhead staring at you from a street corner, wondering if he can steal your shoes after you get jacked.
1 The Road of Death, Bolivia
Well, for starters it’s called THE ROAD OF DEATH. Located in the mountains, the Road of Death is a winding road so narrow that an estimated 200 to 300 drivers lose control every year and basically tumble down the side of the mountain. The point is that if you break down here, you’re pretty much guaranteed a gruesome death because there is nowhere to go. You’re basically stuck standing in the middle of a road called the Road of Death either waiting for someone else to come along and run you over or force you to dive over the edge of a goddamn mountain cliff. At least the other places on this list give you the option of, you know, running for your life. Here your best bet is to be rescued by a herd of mountain goats and be taken back to their lair, carried in their jaws, to serve as their new humping post/pissing rock. The Road of Death indeed.