Nearly 1.3 million road fatalities occur every year around the world, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT).
Multiple factors can affect the level of road safety practised in different countries. From poor road maintenance and non-existent traffic laws, to weak government enforcement and reckless driver behaviour – all make getting behind the wheel significantly more dangerous.
Below we highlight the average road fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants each year in the top five most dangerous places to drive in the world.
Eritrea – 48.4
Alarmingly, 48.4 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants were recorded in Eritrea. Located in the north east of Africa, mortality rates are exceptionally high among motorists and pedestrians.
Treacherous road conditions, disregard for safety rules and the presence of animals and pedestrians on roads all combine to create the deadliest driving destination.
Even though paved roads connect the six main cities within the country; most roads outside of urban areas are unpaved causing hazardous road activity. Driving outside of the capital city Asmara, for example, poses the risk of landmines so driving after dark in rural areas is ill-advised.
Dominican Republic – 41.7
Poorly enforced speed limits and aggressive driving habits are cited as the catalyst for dangerous driving offences in this Caribbean nation. The Dominican Republic suffered 41.7 road fatalities per 100,000 drivers last year, and ranked second in the most dangerous places to drive in the world.
The country reportedly adopts a careless car culture in which drivers are unconcerned by safety regulations. Worryingly, negligent driving, abandoned traffic rules and sudden lane shifts without signalling are all said to characterise motor habits in the Dominican Republic.
Libya – 40.5
Another country listed by World Health Organisation for its shockingly high road casualties is Libya, where an average of 40.5 deaths per 100,000 drivers took place last year.
The absence of traffic law enforcement, civil unrest and regular drink driving offences are the main contributing factors for road deaths in the country. A myriad of issues that include intense fighting, high threat terrorist attacks and kidnap attempts make it a dangerous driving spot for locals and international motorists.
Additionally, heavy sandstorms impact on road visibility increasing the risk of hazardous driving practices and serious injuries, or worse still, roadside deaths.
Thailand – 38.1
It may be a popular destination for British holidaymakers but Thailand ranks as one of the most dangerous places to drive in the world, averaging 38.1 deaths per 100,000 people on the road. The main traffic issues in the country include minimal examination of existing infrastructure and chaotic road congestion.
The sight of a moped packed with a family of four plus their dog racing past, or a man riding a bike whilst balancing a kitchen appliance on his handle bars is not out of the ordinary in Thailand. Yet more than 180,000 kilometres of roadways, it is not enough to deal with the sheer volume of road vehicles.
In addition, motorists tend to create their own traffic rules (especially moped drivers) prompting dangerous driving customs. Incidents involving motorcycles form around 70% of all road traffic fatalities.
Venezuela – 37.2
Car jackings and failure to comply with safety regulations are big issues on Venezuelan roads, according to the World Health Organisation. The number of road deaths were calculated at 37.2 per 100,000 people.
In fact, many of the roadways are in good condition but dirt roads with landslides and potholes can be perilous for drivers and pedestrians. This problem becomes worse during the rainy months of May and October.
Unlike other countries, pedestrians in Venezuela don’t have right of way, therefore, any slowing down or stopping at road crossings may cause an accident with other unsuspecting vehicles.