Hearse stretch – that’s what a combination of narrow roads and hilly terrain has turned many Idukki roads into. The latest accident near Wagamon on Tuesday night in which a car fell into a 1,000-foot-deep gorge, killing four house surgeons from Kottayam Medical College, is a pointer to the deadliness of the route.

On March 25, a tourist bus carrying students from a college in Thiruvananthapuram fell off the road at Rajakkad, killing eight persons, including seven students.

A senior police officer said heavy fog blinds drivers; and most of them are unfamiliar of the hilly stretch. The hazards add up, leading to the largest number of accidents involving four-wheelers and heavy vehicles.

A study of accidents over the last two years showed that hairpin curves and unexpected bends on the hilly stretch caused majority of the accidents involving vehicles from outside the district, the officer said. But vehicles from the district are rarely involved in such accidents.

Trucks from Tamil Nadu are also frequently involved in accidents on the hilly terrain, but the toll is less due to fewer passengers.

Many of the accidents happen during night, crippling rescue operations as in the case of Wagamon tragedy on Tuesday.

“Inter-State drivers sometimes doze off behind the wheels,” the officer said.

There has been a swell in the number of vehicles moving to the district but the road development hasn’t kept pace. A recent study pointed out that unscientific construction of roads in some areas led to frequent accidents there. Main routes are still too narrow, especially in the high ranges, where accidents occur frequently.

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