If you’re still grumbling about how much it’ll cost to repair your latest bumper collision, you’re not alone. The damage done by road collisions costs more than $100 billion globally each year, according to the Washington Post. The vast majority of those accidents — more than 90 percent — take place in low and middle-income countries, which often don’t have the funding to provide or enforce regulated driving conditions. Instead of complaining while you compare car insurance online, thank your lucky stars you don’t live in one of these places.
World’s Worst Drivers
If you thought it was bad when the guy in front of you didn’t signal a last-minute lane change, avoid China. In 2011, the country logged more than 2 million traffic accidents, according to CNN. Since then, China, which only lays claim to one-third as many cars as the U.S has tightened its traffic laws to the point of making it illegal to run a yellow light, as the Washington Post explains. Internations.org calls driving in China “terrifying,” due to the overfilled streets and the tendency for motorists to regularly disregard traffic rules. Oh, and don’t forget the NBC News coverage of that traffic jam that lasted nine days.
You’ll also want to steer clear of Russia, which has been called “criminally careless” by its own past Russian President, Dimitry Medvedev, as the Washington Post writes. This country racked up more than 26,000 annual traffic related fatalities by the World Health Organization’s last count.
If you think that sounds high, you’ll want to avoid India, which tallied more than 230,000 road deaths of its own. If a quick Internet search of “driving in India” isn’t enough to keep you away, you might take a hint from a recent review of India traffic culture on gadling.com, conveniently titled “How to Drive in India and Not Die.” Tip number one? Try to avoid getting hit.
Turkey is another culprit for car-related catastrophes. A 2012 U.S. State Department report tactfully suggested that survival of Turkish road conditions requires defensive driving and embracing the unexpected. If these conditions don’t sound inviting, we also suggest you steer clear of Egypt, which offers such obstacles as unlit night driving, unmarked roads, flooding, and vehicles driving against traffic.
Other known offenders, as pointed out by Jalopnik.com, are Vietnam, Italy, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic, where car dings are the norm, and right of way is more of a suggestion than a mandate. Also, forget driving anywhere that’s more rural than road. Middle Eastern and Sub-Saharan African countries top the World Health Organization of highest traffic deaths per 100,000 people ratios. You’re best off avoiding the United States, where multitasking is a driver’s best friend, and anywhere with the autobahn, that legendary European highway where speed limits are a distant memory in the rearview mirror.
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where drivers err on the side of caution, chances are good the nearest traffic nightmare is only as far the neighboring country. If you’re looking to escape the road rage, you might be better off somewhere isolated and traffic-friendly — like Australia. Trip Advisor’s driving warnings for tourists in Australia consist of reminders to pack water for long stretches of beautiful outback, and avoiding fines by parking on the correct side of the street. You’ll be happy to see speed limits, road names and koala crossings clearly marked.