Drive Smart
If you are hiring a car in a different country, you should consider how safe the roads are where you are driving before you arrive.



We look at the safest roads in the world and look at data from 2016 compared to 2013 to see which countries have the safest roads in the world and those that have made the biggest improvemnts.

Safest Roads in the World

We reveal the safest roads in the world by deaths on the roads in 2016 v 2013 by total number and population

An accolade that any country would be proud of, to have the safest roads in the world with the fewest number of road deaths is something that all nations are striving towards. And it’s not only governments targeting reducing road deaths, Swedish car maker Volvo has boldly claimed that nobody, not a single person, should be severely injured or killed in a new Volvo car by 2020. However, there are billions of miles covered on the planet and billions of people using the roads where sadly fatalities are a fact of life. We look at which countries have the lowest number of recorded road deaths in 2016 compared to 2013 and a more representative figure of the number of deaths per 100,000 population.  The good news is that if you’re heading to San Marino, it’s very safe and not a single person died on the roads in 2016, although with only 220km of highways in the entire country it’s easy to see why. Our range of Drive Smart guides are designed to tell you all you need to know to stay safe when driving in a different country.

safest roads in the world
Heatmap showing roads deaths by country and roads deaths by country by population
safest roads in the worldsafest roads in world by population

Safest Roads by Country – Road Deaths

Unsurprisingly, some countries report very low (if any) roads deaths and we see the list of the safest roads by total number of road deaths in countries with very low populations. The chances of dying on the roads of a country with few roads and/or citizens are obviously low. Whilst all very low number of deaths, the % change paints an interesting picture. Whilst only 22 road deaths were reported in Iceland in 2016, that represents a 47% increase on 2013 where only 15 fatalities were recorded. One of the most impressive statistics here is Cyprus, with a population of 1.2 million, only 60 fatalities were reported (see more on road safety in Cyprus here).
 

Lowest Road Deaths by Total Volume by Country - 2016

Country
Population (million)
Income
Road Deaths 2013
Road Deaths 2016
% Change
San Marino
0
High
1
0
-100%
Cook Islands
0
High
5
3
-40%
Maldives
0.4
Middle
12
4
-67%
Kiribati
0.1
Middle
3
5
67%
Antigua and Barbuda
0.1
High
6
8
33%
Dominica
0.1
Middle
11
8
-27%
Seychelles
0.1
High
8
15
88%
Barbados
0.3
High
19
16
-16%
Tonga
0.1
Middle
8
18
125%
Iceland
0.3
High
15
22
47%
Samoa
0.2
Middle
30
22
-27%
Malta
0.4
High
22
26
18%
Luxembourg
0.6
High
46
36
-22%
Vanuatu
0.3
Middle
42
43
2%
Sao Tome and Principe
0.2
Middle
60
55
-8%
Cyprus
1.2
High
59
60
2%
Saint Lucia
0.2
Middle
33
63
91%
Montenegro
0.6
Middle
74
67
-9%
Estonia
1.3
High
90
80
-11%

Safest Roads in the World by Population

A much more representative dataset comes from the number of deaths on the roads when related to the population of a country. When you take into account the population and quantify road deaths per 100,000 of the population you get a much clearer picture of how safe the roads are in a given country. Whilst San Marino and the Maldives still top the list, their low populations aid this. It’s fair to say that some of the safest roads in the world can be found in Norway, Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden and the UK. All have populations in excess of 5 million and reported less than 3 deaths per 100,000 population in 2016 (UK 3.1). And of these, the UK has by far the highest population at 65.8 million compared to Sweden’s 9.8, making, what we consider, the UK to have the safest roads in the world. Although it was an even better record in 2013 where just 2.8 people per 100,000 died on the roads.

Lowest Road Deaths by Population by Country - 2016

Country
Population (million)
Income
Road Deaths 2013 per 100k population
Road Deaths 2016 per 100k population
% Change

San Marino
0
High
3
0
-100%
Maldives
0.4
Middle
2.8
0.9
-68%
Norway
5.3
High
3.7
2.7
-27%
Switzerland
8.4
High
3.2
2.7
-16%
Singapore
5.6
High
3.5
2.8
-20%
Sweden
9.8
High
2.8
2.8
0%
UK
65.8
High
2.8
3.1
11%
Netherlands
17
High
3.4
3.8
12%
Denmark
5.7
High
3.4
4
18%
Ireland
4.7
High
4
4.1
2%
Spain
46.3
High
3.7
4.1
11%
Germany
81.9
High
4.3
4.1
-5%
Japan
127.7
High
4.5
4.1
-9%
Israel
8.2
High
3.4
4.2
24%
Kiribati
0.1
Middle
2.6
4.4
69%
Finland
5.5
High
4.7
4.7
0%
Cyprus
1.2
High
5
5.1
2%
Austria
8.7
High
5.2
5.2
0%
France
64.7
High
5
5.5
10%
Barbados
0.3
High
6.7
5.6
-16%
Australia
24.1
High
5.2
5.6
8%


Most Improved Road Death Record by Country

Whilst we think the UK has the safest roads in the world taking into account many factors, it actually recorded 11% MORE deaths in 2016 compared to 2013, suggesting the situation is getting worse. Here we look at those countries making the most progress when it comes to road safety. Libya saw a 64% reduction in road deaths from 2013 to 2016, given its population of 6.3 million, that’s great progress. The correlation between a countries income and it’s road safety record is again stark, where the countries with the most improvement in road safety are from high and middle income countries further supporting the case that countries that can afford to invest in better infrastructure do make their roads safer and reduce deaths on the roads.
 
Country
Population (million)
Income
Road Deaths 2013 per 100k population
Road Deaths 2016 per 100k population
% Change
San Marino
0
High
3
0
-100%
Maldives
0.4
Middle
2.8
0.9
-68%
Libya
6.3
Middle
72.4
26.1
-64%
Cook Islands
0
High
28.8
17.3
-40%
Belarus
9.5
Middle
13.5
8.9
-34%
Iran
80.3
Middle
31
20.5
-34%
Macedonia
2.1
Middle
9.5
6.4
-33%
Bolivia
10.9
Middle
22.7
15.5
-32%
Qatar
2.6
High
12.8
9.3
-27%
Dominica
0.1
Middle
15
10.9
-27%
Lithuania
2.9
High
11
8
-27%
Norway
5.3
High
3.7
2.7
-27%
Samoa
0.2
Middle
15.4
11.3
-27%
Kyrgyzstan
6
Middle
20.5
15.4
-25%
Oman
4.4
High
20.9
16.1
-23%
Luxembourg
0.6
High
8
6.3
-21%
Suriname
0.6
Middle
18.4
14.5
-21%
Kazakhstan
18
Middle
22.1
17.6
-20%
Singapore
5.6
High
3.5
2.8
-20%
Uruguay
3.4
High
16.5
13.4
-19%
Bosnia and Herzegovina
3.5
Middle
19.2
15.7
-18%
Eritrea
5
Low
30.8
25.3
-18%


Do Richer Countries Have Safer Roads?

There is no doubt that higher income countries have safer roads, supported by the fast that 19 out of the 20 safest countries to drive in the world are high income nations, the only exception to the rule being the Maldives which is designated a middle income nation. Not a single low income nation features on the list. The picture is just as bleak when looking at the most improved road safety records where again not single low income country feature in the top 20. The data suggests a direct correlation between how rich a country is and the safety of its roads and ultimately the number of road deaths recorded.

See all Road Death Data here;

Page Number :
Page Size :
CountryPopulationIncomeRoad Deaths 2013per 100k populationRoad Deaths 2016per 100k population% Change
Afghanistan 34.7 Low 4734 13.7 5230 15.1 0.1
Albania 2.9 Middle 478 16.3 399 13.6 -0.2
Algeria 41.3 unknown 9337 22.6 0
Andorra 0.1 unknown 6 6 0
Angola 28.8 Middle 5769 20 6797 23.6 0.2
Antigua and Barbuda 0.1 High 6 5.9 8 7.9 0.3
Argentina 43.8 Middle 5619 12.8 6119 14 0.1
Armenia 2.9 Middle 546 18.7 499 17.1 -0.1
Australia 24.1 High 1252 5.2 1351 5.6 0.1
Austria 8.7 High 455 5.2 452 5.2 0
Azerbaijan 9.7 Middle 943 9.7 845 8.7 -0.1
Bahamas 0.4 unknown 52 13 0
Bahrain 1.5 unknown 107 7.1 0
Bangladesh 163 Middle 21316 13.1 24954 15.3 0.2
Barbados 0.3 High 19 6.7 16 5.6 -0.2
Belarus 9.5 Middle 1282 13.5 841 8.9 -0.3
Belgium 11.4 High 746 6.6 657 5.8 -0.1
Belize 0.4 Middle 81 22.1 104 28.3 0.3
Benin 10.9 Low 2855 26.3 2986 27.5 0
Bhutan 0.8 Middle 114 14.3 139 17.4 0.2
Bolivia 10.9 Middle 2476 22.7 1687 15.5 -0.3
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3.5 Middle 676 19.2 552 15.7 -0.2
Botswana 2.3 Middle 477 21.2 535 23.8 0.1
Brazil 207.7 Middle 46935 22.6 41007 19.7 -0.1
Bulgaria 7.1 Middle 601 8.4 730 10.2 0.2
Burkina Faso 18.6 Low 5072 27.2 5686 30.5 0.1
Burundi 10.5 Low 0 3651 34.7
Cabo Verde 0.5 Middle 130 24.1 135 25 0
Cambodia 15.8 Middle 2635 16.7 2803 17.8 0.1
Cameroon 23.4 Middle 6136 26.2 7066 30.1 0.2
Canada 36.3 High 2114 5.8 2118 5.8 0
Central African Republic 4.6 Low 1495 32.5 1546 33.6 0
Chad 14.5 Low 3089 21.4 3990 27.6 0.3
Chile 17.9 High 2179 12.2 2245 12.5 0
China 1411.4 Middle 261367 18.5 256180 18.2 0
Colombia 48.7 Middle 8107 16.7 8987 18.5 0.1
Comoros 0.8 Low 0 211 26.5
Congo 5.1 Middle 1174 22.9 1405 27.4 0.2
Cook Islands 0 High 5 28.8 3 17.3 -0.4
Costa Rica 4.9 Middle 676 13.9 812 16.7 0.2
Côte d’Ivoire 23.7 Middle 4924 20.8 5582 23.6 0.1
Croatia 4.2 Middle 395 9.4 340 8.1 -0.1
Cuba 11.5 Middle 840 7.3 975 8.5 0.2
Cyprus 1.2 High 59 5 60 5.1 0
Czechia 10.6 High 654 6.2 630 5.9 0
Democratic Republic of the Congo 78.7 Low 22419 28.5 26529 33.7 0.2
Denmark 5.7 High 196 3.4 227 4 0.2
Djibouti 1 unknown 216 21.6 0
Dominica 0.1 Middle 11 15 8 10.9 -0.3
Dominican Republic 10.6 Middle 3052 28.7 3684 34.6 0.2
Ecuador 16.4 Middle 3164 19.3 3490 21.3 0.1
Egypt 95.7 Middle 10466 10.9 9287 9.7 -0.1
El Salvador 6.3 Middle 1339 21.1 1411 22.2 0.1
Equatorial Guinea 1.2 Middle 0 300 24.6
Eritrea 5 Low 1527 30.8 1255 25.3 -0.2
Estonia 1.3 High 90 6.9 80 6.1 -0.1
Eswatini 1.3 Middle 303 22.6 361 26.9 0.2
Ethiopia 102.4 Low 23837 23.3 27326 26.7 0.1
Fiji 0.9 Middle 51 5.7 86 9.6 0.7
Finland 5.5 High 258 4.7 260 4.7 0
France 64.7 High 3268 5 3585 5.5 0.1
Gabon 2 Middle 383 19.3 460 23.2 0.2
Gambia 2 Low 544 26.7 605 29.7 0.1
Georgia 3.9 Middle 514 13.1 599 15.3 0.2
Germany 81.9 High 3540 4.3 3327 4.1 -0.1
Ghana 28.2 Middle 6789 24.1 7018 24.9 0
Greece 11.2 High 1013 9.1 1026 9.2 0
Grenada 0.1 Middle 0 10 9.3
Guatemala 16.6 Middle 2939 17.7 2758 16.6 -0.1
Guinea 12.4 Low 3211 25.9 3490 28.2 0.1
Guinea-Bissau 1.8 Low 468 25.8 565 31.1 0.2
Guyana 0.8 Middle 138 17.8 190 24.6 0.4
Honduras 9.1 Middle 1408 15.5 1525 16.7 0.1
Hungary 9.8 High 765 7.8 756 7.8 0
Iceland 0.3 High 15 4.5 22 6.6 0.5
India 1324.2 Middle 207551 15.7 299091 22.6 0.4
Indonesia 261.1 Middle 38279 14.7 31726 12.2 -0.2
Iran 80.3 Middle 24896 31 16426 20.5 -0.3
Iraq 37.2 Middle 6826 18.3 7686 20.7 0.1
Ireland 4.7 High 188 4 194 4.1 0
Israel 8.2 High 277 3.4 345 4.2 0.2
Italy 59.4 High 3721 6.3 3333 5.6 -0.1
Jamaica 2.9 Middle 320 11.1 391 13.6 0.2
Japan 127.7 High 5791 4.5 5224 4.1 -0.1
Jordan 9.5 Middle 1913 20.2 2306 24.4 0.2
Kazakhstan 18 Middle 3983 22.1 3158 17.6 -0.2
Kenya 48.5 Middle 12891 26.6 13463 27.8 0
Kiribati 0.1 Middle 3 2.6 5 4.4 0.7
Kuwait 4.1 High 629 15.5 715 17.6 0.1
Kyrgyzstan 6 Middle 1220 20.5 916 15.4 -0.2
Lao People’s Democratic Republic 6.8 Middle 971 14.4 1120 16.6 0.2
Latvia 2 High 205 10.4 184 9.3 -0.1
Lebanon 6 Middle 1088 18.1 1090 18.1 0
Lesotho 2.2 Middle 584 26.5 638 28.9 0.1
Liberia 4.6 Low 1448 31.4 1657 35.9 0.1
Libya 6.3 Middle 4554 72.4 1645 26.1 -0.6
Lithuania 2.9 High 320 11 234 8 -0.3
Luxembourg 0.6 High 46 8 36 6.3 -0.2
Madagascar 24.9 Low 6506 26.1 7108 28.6 0.1
Malawi 18.1 Low 5732 31.7 5601 31 0
Malaysia 31.2 Middle 7129 22.9 7374 23.6 0
Maldives 0.4 Middle 12 2.8 4 0.9 -0.7
Mali 18 Low 3920 21.8 4159 23.1 0.1
Malta 0.4 High 22 5.1 26 6.1 0.2
Mauritania 4.3 Middle 952 22.1 1064 24.7 0.1
Mauritius 1.3 Middle 152 12 173 13.7 0.1
Mexico 127.5 Middle 15062 11.8 16725 13.1 0.1
Monaco 0.1 unknown 0 0 0
Mongolia 3 Middle 597 19.7 499 16.5 -0.2
Montenegro 0.6 Middle 74 11.8 67 10.7 -0.1
Morocco 35.3 Middle 6870 19.5 6917 19.6 0
Mozambique 28.8 Low 8173 28.3 8665 30.1 0.1
Myanmar 52.9 Middle 10809 20.4 10540 19.9 0
Namibia 2.5 Middle 551 22.2 754 30.4 0.4
Nepal 29 Low 4713 16.3 4622 15.9 0
Netherlands 17 High 574 3.4 648 3.8 0.1
New Zealand 4.7 High 272 5.8 364 7.8 0.3
Nicaragua 6.2 unknown 931 15 0
Niger 20.7 Low 4706 22.8 5414 26.2 0.2
Nigeria 186 Middle 35641 19.2 39802 21.4 0.1
Norway 5.3 High 192 3.7 143 2.7 -0.3
Oman 4.4 High 924 20.9 713 16.1 -0.2
Pakistan 193.2 Middle 25781 13.3 27582 14.3 0.1
Panama 4 Middle 386 9.6 575 14.3 0.5
Papua New Guinea 8.1 Middle 1232 15.2 1145 14.2 -0.1
Paraguay 6.7 Middle 1408 20.9 1529 22.7 0.1
Peru 31.8 Middle 4234 13.3 4286 13.5 0
Philippines 103.3 Middle 10379 10 12690 12.3 0.2
Poland 38.2 High 3931 10.3 3698 9.7 -0.1
Portugal 10.4 High 828 8 768 7.4 -0.1
Qatar 2.6 High 330 12.8 239 9.3 -0.3
Republic of Korea 50.8 High 5931 11.7 4990 9.8 -0.2
Republic of Moldova 4.1 Middle 437 10.8 394 9.7 -0.1
Romania 19.8 Middle 1881 9.5 2044 10.3 0.1
Russia 144 Middle 27025 18.8 25969 18 0
Rwanda 11.9 Low 3782 31.7 3535 29.7 -0.1
Saint Lucia 0.2 Middle 33 18.5 63 35.4 0.9
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 0.1 unknown 9 9 0
Samoa 0.2 Middle 30 15.4 22 11.3 -0.3
San Marino 0 High 1 3 0 0 -1
Sao Tome and Principe 0.2 Middle 60 30 55 27.5 -0.1
Saudi Arabia 32.3 High 7898 24.5 9311 28.8 0.2
Senegal 15.4 Low 3844 24.9 3609 23.4 -0.1
Serbia 8.8 Middle 735 8.3 649 7.4 -0.1
Seychelles 0.1 High 8 8.5 15 15.9 0.9
Singapore 5.6 High 197 3.5 155 2.8 -0.2
Slovakia 5.4 High 360 6.6 330 6.1 -0.1
Slovenia 2.1 High 132 6.4 134 6.4 0
Solomon Islands 0.6 Middle 108 18 104 17.4 0
Somalia 14.3 Low 2664 18.6 3884 27.1 0.5
South Africa 56 Middle 13273 23.7 14507 25.9 0.1
South Sudan 12.2 Low 0 3661 29.9
Spain 46.3 High 1730 3.7 1922 4.1 0.1
Sri Lanka 20.8 Middle 3691 17.7 3096 14.9 -0.2
Sudan 39.6 Middle 9221 23.3 10178 25.7 0.1
Suriname 0.6 Middle 103 18.4 81 14.5 -0.2
Sweden 9.8 High 272 2.8 278 2.8 0
Switzerland 8.4 High 269 3.2 223 2.7 -0.2
Tajikistan 8.7 Middle 1543 17.7 1577 18.1 0
Thailand 68.9 Middle 24237 35.2 22491 32.7 -0.1
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 2.1 Middle 198 9.5 134 6.4 -0.3
Timor-Leste 1.3 Middle 188 14.8 161 12.7 -0.1
Togo 7.6 Low 2123 27.9 2224 29.2 0
Tonga 0.1 Middle 8 7.5 18 16.8 1.3
Trinidad and Tobago 1.4 High 189 13.8 165 12.1 -0.1
Tunisia 11.4 Middle 2679 23.5 2595 22.8 0
Turkey 79.5 Middle 6687 8.4 9782 12.3 0.5
Turkmenistan 5.7 Middle 914 16.1 823 14.5 -0.1
Uganda 41.5 Low 10280 24.8 12036 29 0.2
Ukraine 44.4 Middle 0 6089 13.7
UAE 9.3 High 1021 11 1678 18.1 0.6
UK 65.8 High 1827 2.8 2019 3.1 0.1
Tanzania 55.6 Low 16211 29.2 16252 29.2 0
USA 322.2 High 34064 10.6 39888 12.4 0.2
Uruguay 3.4 High 567 16.5 460 13.4 -0.2
Uzbekistan 31.4 Middle 3240 10.3 3617 11.5 0.1
Vanuatu 0.3 Middle 42 15.5 43 15.9 0
Venezuela 31.6 Middle 0 10640 33.7
Viet Nam 94.6 Middle 22419 23.7 24970 26.4 0.1
Yemen 28.3 unknown 5248 18.5 0
Zambia 17.1 unknown 3586 21 0
Zimbabwe 16.2 Low 3985 24.7 5601 34.7 0.6



*Income based on Gross National Income (GNI) per capita is the US dollar value of a country’s final income in a year divided by its population using Atlas methodology. Data from World Development Indicators database, World Bank, November 2017.
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