The winding, mountainous roads of rural southern Greece are dotted with small boxy structures. Sometimes elaborate, sometimes simple, these cross-topped edifices are ghostly reminders of lives lost too soon.

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Greece has the sixth-highest automobile fatality rate in the European Union. In 2016, 804 people died in car crashes, and more than 13,000 were injured, according to The Associated Press.

Greece's geography is partially to blame. Mountains cover some 80 percent of the Hellenic mainland, and its infrastructure is accordingly unfriendly: Highways snake up and around steep terrain, often without any guard rails, and in the most rural parts of the country, tight stretches of one-lane roads often encourage risky passing behavior.

After burial, some Greek families will also erect a shrine at the crash site to commemorate their deceased loved ones.

"A cemetery is seen as the place where [the deceased] lives on after death, but the place of their death is also a point of metaphysical reference," one folklorist told the The Associated Press. "The shrine serves for remembrance."

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

The shrines — called kandilakia — can be made from wood, stone, metal, concrete, or even marble. Some feature detailed carvings or purposely resemble famous orthodox churches. Behind a glass door or through an elegantly carved opening, there's often a lit candle or oil lamp burning among faded photographs of the deceased, images of saints, and other religious paraphernalia.

Many of these memorials are faithfully maintained — even in the most remote cliffsides of the Peloponnese peninsula, there are lights burning every night. But even worn-down or rust-coated shrines carry a powerful, if haunting, message for drivers: Slow down, take caution, and remember just how fleeting life can be.

Below, a look at just a few of Greece's ghostly shrines.

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)