Where’s the best place to be a driver? With our potholed roads and frequently congested city streets, you probably don’t think it’s the UK. In fact, you may not be surprised if the UK was towards the bottom of any road ranking. The good news is, we’re not. There are some places in the world where the traffic is so congested you wonder how anyone ever gets anywhere.
There’s more good news for hard-pressed UK drivers. We have one of the best records in the world for road safety. That’s compared to some roads in the world where safety is so shocking it borders on scandalous. However, it’s not quite time to get out the bunting and begin baking the celebration cup cakes. The UK has a long way to go before it can match the best for drivers on a daily basis.
The best countries for safety
First the good news. One area where the UK is world class is in road safety. According to the International Traffic Data Safety and Analysis Group which analyses information from 32 countries around the world we’re in third place with 2.9 deaths per 100,000 people. Only Sweden on 2.8 and Iceland on 1.2 were better.
The best place for drivers
Traffic and mapping service Waze evaluated the experiences of around 50 million users in 32 countries to come up with its Driver Satisfaction Index. It claims the best place to be a driver is the Netherlands, followed by Latvia, the USA, Sweden and the Czech Republic. The UK was 13th. That said, we are a long way from living in one of the worst places to be a driver
The worst countries for drivers
According to the Waze index, El Salvador is the worst country for drivers, followed by Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. Central and South American cities struggle when it comes to reports of dense traffic too. San Salvador, capital of central America’s most densely populated country El Salvador, was the worst. It was followed by Cali and Medellin in Colombia, Denpasar in Indonesia and Guatemala.
Worst cities for commuters
Traffic was worst in the Philippines, Guatemala and Venezuela. The UK was 15th out of 30 in this ranking and London doesn’t come out well against other major cities. The average commute in our capital is down at 41.2 minutes. That’s nowhere near the best, which is Madrid on 31.6 minutes. Neither can it match Paris in France, Milan, Italy or Washington in the US. In time terms, London is much nearer the worst – Manila in the Philippines on 45.5 minutes ‑ than the best cities in the world.
The deadliest countries in the world for drivers
The World Health Organisation says the worst country in the world when it comes to road deaths is the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean. Annually, there are 41.7 deaths per 100,000 people. It’s followed by Thailand on 38.1/100,000 and then Venezuela on 37.2 deaths per 100,000 people.
The most dangerous roads in the world
There are no statistics to identify accurately the most dangerous roads in the world. However, there are some obvious candidates without resorting to naming war zones. The North Yungas Road that winds its torturous way from La Paz to Coroico in Bolivia came to many people’s attention when it began to crumble beneath the wheels of Jeremy Clarkson’s Range Rover in the Top Gear Bolivia Special. With a sheer rock face on one side and an unforgiving, near vertical drop on the other, it’s believed to be responsible for 200-300 deaths every year.
In Pakistan, there’s the Karakoram Highway that wends its way the 500 miles between the capital Islamabad and China. It’s one of the highest paved roads in the world and crosses some of the most extreme and inhospitable country you’ll ever come across with land slides a regular occurrence. Conditions on it are so tough, they make even the hardest commute look like child’s play.