Driving is different across the world. Depending on what country someone is at, there are a ton of factors that make for either a pleasant or a dangerous driving experience. There might be government problems that can lead to unrest or the bending of traffic laws (if there are any, to begin with). On the other hand, there may be environmental elements impossible for a country to avoid. As a result, there are some countries that should be on everyone’s radar when it comes to getting from point A to point B.
Updated March 2022: If you’re planning a road trip overseas, you’ll be happy to know that we’ve updated this article with more facts and statistics regarding the safest and most dangerous countries to drive in.
It’s possible, however, to examine what countries are the most dangerous based on a few elements. First, there’s the number of road-related fatalities every year in comparison with how many people live there. Next, one has to consider the state of a country’s roads and infrastructure. Last but not least, there are the traffic laws and how severe law enforcement holds people to them, although some countries get off easy, considering they don’t have many roads in the first place. Therefore, roadside accidents and deaths tend to be less common in those countries. In addition to listing the most dangerous countries to drive in, five of the safest in the world are also included. Although there are beauty and culture found in all of the countries listed below, some just struggle when it comes to enforcing traffic laws. For one’s awareness, drivers can learn what to do and what not to do on the road from the countries below.
25 Dangerous: South Korea
South Korea may have a lot of awesome things like kimchi and taekwondo. Unfortunately, driving isn’t one of the positives of this rich country. According to Complex, drivers tend to hold traffic laws in something of a gray area. Instead of the elements playing a role in the poor driving conditions there, it has more to do with the drivers.
Whenever a driver shuns the traffic laws, though, that’s when things have the potential to get dangerous (in spite of how much people hate to follow rules).
24 Dangerous: Russia
Known for its colder climate, this country doesn’t have the best driving conditions. As Complex reports, there are even more to worry about beyond the weather: cops.
Apparently, the roads aren’t safe from legal issues, and people don’t put a lot of trust in law enforcement. Doesn’t sound like the best circumstances when it comes to driving there. It’s no wonder the country has a reputation for its drivers using dash cams at every opportunity in case something should ever go down.
23 Dangerous: Nigeria
Nigeria isn’t known for having the best roads. As a result, this doesn’t lend to the smoothest driving experiences. According to USA Today Travel Tips, the 120,546 total miles of roads in Nigeria aren’t known for being well kept up.
About ten years ago, the annual number of victims related to driving in Nigeria was around 5,000. That number has remained about the same today, with poor road conditions continuing to be the largest problem.
22 Safe: Sweden
Even if Sweden isn’t at the top of the list, it certainly has a place near the top of the list of safest countries to drive in. According to WINN Solicitors, there were only 272 traffic-related victims back in 2015. Although that number is still high, it’s much lower than most countries.
Tourists won’t have a problem driving here, except under wet conditions when making windy turns. For those who go to Sweden, only the most basic precautions are necessary while driving.
21 Dangerous: Poland
When traveling in another country, driving on roads is unavoidable. It’s necessary in order to get around from one place to the next. For those traveling in Poland, though, they might want to stay indoors instead.
According to World Nomads, Polish roads have less than stellar conditions. They’re prone to filling up with traffic, it’s often hard to see at night, and potholes are everywhere. In spite of the drinking limit being stricter than in the U.S. at 0.02 in Poland, there are still driving woes.
20 Dangerous: Hungary
Whether someone drives a clunker or a LaFerrari, the streets in Hungary won’t show any mercy. Then again, it’s partly due to drivers, like the one The Daily Mail reported, who hit his LaFerrari while accelerating suddenly.
Not everyone there may be willing to obey the speed limits even though they’re posted for a reason. One would think that having a LaFerrari—one of only 500 cars made—would make a driver think twice. Since that wasn’t the case, one can only imagine what drivers who don’t own a LaFerrari do.
19 Dangerous: South Africa
There’s no win-win when it comes to driving in South Africa. Both the cities and the rural parts have their own unique set of dangers. According to World Nomads, the cities tend to be hotbeds of incidents.
The outlet suggests keeping an eye on other cars around, even glancing at mirrors from time to time. On the other hand, rural parts tend to lack proper signage. This may also lead to visitors’ frustration in getting lost and not knowing where to go.
18 Dangerous: Namibia
Tourists will find themselves struggling to drive safely in Namibia. For one thing, those from the U.S. probably won’t be used to driving on the left-hand side of the road. Otherwise, they’ll encounter just about all the other problems one can expect.
Many roads are sand or made of rocks, leaving one’s tire susceptible to ruptures. Drunk driving is also rampant, leading to unexpected incidents out of nowhere. Fillup stations can also be sparse, so drivers are really gambling whenever they set out.
17 Dangerous: Iraq
Iraq continues to be in conflict, according to the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs, the conflict there also affects the roads. This, of course, is an attempt to maintain order. Yet, danger continues to lurk on roads, especially at night.
It’s common for motorists to go well above the speed limit and fail to yield. There’s a reason the U.S. discourages people from traveling to Iraq.
16 Safe: Norway
Not a huge shocker is the fact that Norway is safer than the U.S. when it comes to the roads. Even more impressive is the fact that it’s only getting safer.
According to The Car Crash Detective, one reason Norway is safer may be due to the Norwegians themselves. They don’t seem to be particularly aggressive drivers, as reported by the Norwegian Council for Road Safety. They also have a solid infrastructure they keep maintained. Sounds like the U.S. could learn something from Norway.
15 Dangerous: Thailand
Thailand recently fell on hard times when members of a soccer team got trapped in a cave. While the country has since averted this crisis by rescuing the team members, the country has other challenges to deal with. One of those challenges is its high number of fatalities from driving.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs, 2015 landed Thailand near the top of the list of victims related to driving. That makes this country one of the most dangerous to drive in.
14 Dangerous: The Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic can be a dangerous place to drive around in. According to the World Health Organization, as per Pulitzer Center, the country is ranked as the 15th worst to drive in.
Most importantly, one should avoid riding motorcycles. Apparently, most victims happen to be motorists driving 2- and 3-wheeled bikes. It’s probably best if visitors stick to automobiles while driving in the Dominican Republic. They should also be sure and exercise caution by looking out not to hit any other motorcyclists.
13 Dangerous: UAE
The United Arab Emirates has some of the best hotels in the world. It’s a country known for offering luxury when it comes to vacations, though visitors traveling the UAE should be cautious of the road, whether they’re in a car or outside of one.
According to World Nomads, 25% of victims related to driving incidents are pedestrians. Although it shouldn’t keep people from visiting the country, they’d do best to take caution whenever they’re out and about.
12 Dangerous: Eritrea
Considered one of the most dangerous countries—if not the most dangerous—to drive in, Eritrea has a reputation for having a high number of driving-related victims every year.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs, Eritrea drivers are strongly cautioned from going off-road. Some areas that are off the main road can oftentimes end up being minefields. There’s also the potential for conflict along the border with Ethiopia. On top of it all, the roads aren’t in the best shape either.
11 Dangerous: Libya
Libya is no different than other countries when it comes to its citizens’ love for their cars. According to the blog Diary of a Serial Expat, the country has a problem with drivers who like to push the pedal to the metal. While it’s sure to bring excitement for many to the driving experience, it also puts a lot of lives in danger.
In fact, driving slow could actually be more dangerous since cars are likely to rear end drivers from going so fast.
10 Safe: The Maldives
The Maldives is one of the safest places visitors can drive in the world. Like the Federal States of Micronesia, the Maldives is a tropical region full of beautiful coasts. There are also resorts here.
If visitors ever decide to leave the beaches, they can expect a safe journey, though. According to a blog on Esurance, it’s considered to have the world’s lowest number of road-crash fatalities, which makes it one of the safest places to drive. It’s just another reason people consider it to be paradise.
9 Dangerous: Venezuela
Venezuela is going through a period of political transition at the moment. It’s a little more unstable than usual. In general, it’s also a dangerous place to drive.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs, visitors should exercise defense to the utmost while getting around in Venezuela. In particular, drivers should avoid going out at night since roads and hazards aren’t properly marked. It makes one take for granted proper traffic signage on roads in safer countries today.
8 Dangerous: Guinea-Bissau
When countries go through civil war, there’s often a hazardous aftermath that follows. Guinea-Bissau is no different. The U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs still reports that landmines left over from the civil war still exist.
Therefore, drivers are strongly cautioned from straying far from the beaten path. Although visitors will want to explore the country when they’re there, it’s not safe enough to do so. Also, if a car breaks down, the country isn’t known for having the best roadside assistance available.
Egypt is a country known for great monuments and landmarks. They even have two Wonders of the Ancient World: the Great Pyramid at Giza and the Lighthouse at Alexandria, though, in spite of having two Wonders, they also possess a flaw: dangerous roads.
Cities like Cairo and Alexandria, according to Rhino Car Hire, are full of traffic and hazards. There are also lots of animals that can get in the way of traffic, including donkeys, which are slow moving. Drivers have to be vigilant and always on guard in Egypt.
6 Safe: Micronesia
The danger while driving in Micronesia is practically microscopic. According to WINN Solicitors, these islands in the Pacific Ocean have a reputation for safe roads. For example, in 2015 alone, there were only 2 recorded victims resulting from traffic-related accidents.
Taking into account how much smaller Micronesia is compared to other countries, it’s still an impressive statistic. One reason for the lack of crime and roadside hazards could be because of the beautiful coasts that span Micronesia.
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