It’s one thing to try driving in a country you’ve never been to before. There are all kinds of different rules, signs and regulations- and that’s assuming you’re lucky enough to be driving on the side of the road (and the car) you’re the most used to, but driving in a country that’s earned a reputation for having treacherous roads is a whole other kind of adventure sport.
But if you’ve ever watched an episode of ‘Ice Road Truckers’, you know how bad things can really get out there. I’m talking even worse than William Nicol at 17h00 on a Friday bad. Travelling the world should be relaxing, inspiring, and even exciting. But this list of locations makes travelling look downright terrifying…
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has gathered statistics about international roads. The following numbers are in terms of annual mortalities per 100,000 people. To give a point of reference, there are roughly 4 fatal road accidents per 100,000 people in the U.K. each year, and 11 in the U.S.
Let’s start the countdown…
- Chad: 29.7
The combination of an extremely young population (approximately 50% of the population is 14 years old or younger), and a lack of road infrastructure means that the relatively meagre 40 000km of roads in this small country are some of the most dangerous on the continent.
- Oman: 30.4
Oman has more unpaved roads than paved. Which means that the predominantly male driving population has to contend with a variety of off-road challenges in addition to sudden, violent sandstorms in this Arabian coastal sultanate.
- Guinea-Bissau: 31.2
The median age in this nation of just 1.7 million people is 19 for men and women, and only about 7% of the Guinea-Bissauans make it past the age of 55. Having such a young demographic might explain why there are so many car accidents every year.
- Iraq: 31.5
Again, it seems as though the lack of older, wiser drivers on the road negatively affects the overall driving safety for this country. Only 6.4% of Iraqi drivers are over the age of 55. The infrastructure damage caused during the country’s tumultuous last few years can’t have helped matters much.
- Nigeria: 33.7
Anyone who’s battled through a peak-hour intersection in Lagos won’t be surprised to see Nigeria appear on this list. Our distant neighbours from the North might have a booming economy, but courtesy is a rare commodity on Nigerian roads.
- Iran: 34.1
It would appear that there have been no definitive studies on the reasons behind Iran’s high road mortality rates, but with a demographic profile similar to its neighbour, Iraq, it can be surmised that the lack of older, more experienced drivers is definitely a factor.
- Venezuela: 37.2
Venezuela has a pretty high crime rate, which might explain why the residents of this South American country are determined to tackle unmaintained roads in old cars and tropical thunderstorms at ridiculously high speeds…. To get away from the criminals, obviously.
- Thailand: 38.1
Thailand is a beautiful country, where thousand year-old monuments are punctuated by breathtaking mountains and spectacular beaches. It is also a country where tuk-tuks, taxis, scooters, vans, trucks and busses all apply their own, quite liberal, interpretation of the local road rules.
- Dominican Republic: 41.7
You know you’re in trouble when your fellow drivers are more comfortable using their hooters than their brakes. As in Thailand and Nigeria, road rules are poorly enforced in this country, and considered by many drivers to be ‘suggestions’ more than laws.
- Niue: 68.3
The winner of the worst place to drive in the world is a small island you probably haven’t even heard of. Located not too far from New Zealand, Tonga and the Cook Islands, Niue is just 260 square kilometres, and comprises just 1 200 people…. All of whom are apparently terrible drivers.
Makes you feel like Johannesburg is actually a pretty civilised place to drive, doesn’t it? And did you know, that as a valued King Price policyholder you are not only covered in South Africa, but also in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe?
Just let us know before you cross any borders and we’ll make sure you’re still covered!