The World Health Organization states that Eritrea is one of the most dangerous places to drive on earth because of their shocking statistics of deaths on the road. Nearly 48.4 out of 100,000 people die from driving related accidents, securing its spot on this list. The lack of safety signs and abundance of pot holes create a dangerous environment for even the most skilled drivers.
14. The Dominican Republic
The DR is on this list because it also has an extremely high vehicle death rate, at 29 per 100,000 people–according to the Global Status Report on vehicle safety. A melting pot of bad driving situations is to blame for the danger, including drunk driving, speeding, intense weather changes, and aggressive lane changing. In 2014 the St Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Teveras and his girlfriend died while driving in the DR due to speeding during a rain storm.
The high threat of violence in the country keeps tensions high for Libyan drivers. Speeding is a huge issue and the lack of traffic laws keep people zooming around and causing many deaths, nearly 73.4 per 100,000 people. The W.H.O estimates that nearly 4,000 people died due to traffic accidents in 2013 alone.
Thailand is also one of the most dangerous places to drive due to its bustling streets. Nearly 30 deaths per 100,000 people happen on roads in Thailand due to poor road structures and a lack of formal construction permit regulations. It’s also very common for drivers to be on motorbikes, which are more dangerous than standard vehicles—this, with loose speeding regulations, creates hectic roadways.
The tumultuous government situation in Venezuela doesn’t do anything to help increase road safety, as tensions are consistently high. The road death rate for the South American country is 35 per every 100,000 people and continues to climb. Some other reasons for the dangerous roadways are harsh weather conditions during the rainy months, and drivers legally having the right of way rather than pedestrians.
Iraq’s road death rate is an astonishing 32 per 100,000 people due to the intense security measures. According to many tourist websites, it’s hard to drive in Iraq because everyone has somewhere to be and nobody minds pushing the limits to get there in time. In this country, four-wheel-drive SUVs are the most dangerous vehicles on the road.
Every year, nearly 20,000 people die on the roadways in Iran due to traffic accidents, making it the third most dangerous place to drive. Iran’s road death rate is 38 per 100,000 people and traffic is described as being chaotic and intense. Sidewalks are usually blocked by parked cars—this, along with the leniency of traffic and speeding laws cause a hectic situation for anyone on or near the road.
The small South African country is surprisingly one of the most dangerous places to operate a vehicle, according to the W.H.O. The road death rate is 24.2 per 100,000 due to livestock! If you live or are from a city, having any kind of livestock let alone a buffalo or zebra cross the road would be insane, but, for Swaziland, it’s rather common. There are also poorly maintained roads that cause issues for drivers, as well as a lack of adequate child vehicle safety laws to ensure children ride in the back seat or use booster seats when appropriate.
Syria is on this list because of one thing and one thing only—war. Due to the current political situation, Syria is one of the most dangerous countries to be in, let alone drive in. The roads have been destroyed by bombs and there is a real threat to the civilians due to terrorism and government/rebel forces. Civilians only have to wear seatbelts if they’re passengers of a “hired” car, adding to the mortality rate.
Namibia is in southwestern Africa and it got a spot on this list because it has a road death rate of 45 per 100,000 (the reason might surprise you). Namibia’s roads are not dangerous because of the congestion but because they are often too quiet, long, and wide, resulting in drivers getting too comfortable while driving. The more comfortable the driver, the faster they tend to drive—this, along with the roads primarily being gravel terrain, creates bad conditions for driving.
5. Democratic Republic Of Congo
Perhaps it’s not surprising that the world’s second largest country has a road death rate of 33.2 per 100,000 people; after all, it doesn’t have the best roads. In fact, most of them aren’t paved and there is little to no government resources allocated to infrastructure growth and maintenance. The unsettling political and rebel forces also make tensions high in the country.
Sudan has an extremely high road death rate of 36 per 100,000 people, or on average, three deaths a day. The driving culture is known to be chaotic and the high levels of violent crime help add to create such a large rate. Visitors that are not used to driving internationally are advised to take a cab.
The roads in Tanzania are in very poor condition and the weather is extremely hot and dry which causes giant dust clouds to obstruct the vision of drivers. There are so many crashes here that the death rate on the road is 32.9 per 100,000 people. The roads here wind through high mountain ranges, are comprised of gravel, and are overrun by wild animals.
Liberia’s main issue is the lack of vehicle safety laws in place, which brings their road death rate to 33.7 per 100,000. There are no laws regulating the use of helmets for motorcyclists and no laws for seat belts or child safety. Many cars are overloaded and are known for making frequent stops without signaling.
1. Stelvio Pass
Stelvio Pass is located in Northern Italy and it earned its spot on this list because of its one unique road. The road is extremely steep and there’s only a small rail between the edge and your vehicle. It actually holds the title for the highest paved road in the Eastern Alps but that’s about the least-scary-sounding way of describing a pass nicknamed “The Hill of Death” (aptly named for its 48 hairpin turns!)