Research reveals most dangerous countries for driving

February 20, 2014 12:00 AM

Due to advances in technology, cars are safer than they ever have been. For many motorists, the latest safety features are a top priority when selecting a vehicle. With proper use of the seat belts, air bags and other elements, as well as regular scheduled maintenance, drivers can rest assured that their automobiles are prepared for any dangerous scenario. In fact, new high-tech features are constantly emerging to give drivers unique capabilities, such as automatic braking when a car is at risk of colliding with the one in front of it, or alert signals when another vehicle is getting dangerously close. However, some situations are beyond motorists' control. Interestingly, the risks that come with driving appear to be greater in certain parts of the world. So where are the safest roads? A recent study by the Transportation Research Initiative at the University of Michigan examined global driving fatalities to find out.

Ranking risky roads
To determine how dangerous the roads are in 193 countries, the Transportation Research Initiative compared the number of fatalities caused by factors such as heart disease and cancer to those caused by car crashes. What they found is that auto fatalities average 18 per 100,000 people worldwide. The most dangerous country is Namibia - with 45 deaths per 100,000 drivers. On the other side of the spectrum, Maldives has the safest roads with only two fatalities out of 100,000 people. Following closely behind are the UK, Japan, Switzerland and Sweden with five deaths per 100,000 drivers. Germany, France and Canada took the next three slots for the safest roads with six, seven and eight deaths per 100,000 motorists, respectively. The U.S. ranked fairly well, with 14 fatal crashes out of 100,000 citizens. That means that road crashes account for only 2 percent of the deaths in this country. 

Different results
Earlier studies have had similar findings, with slight variations in the rankings. The Washington Post reported that a World Health Organization study also measured road safety by analyzing the number of motor vehicle-related deaths per 100,000 residents. This 2013 report revealed that the most dangerous place to drive is the Dominican Republic, with an overwhelming 41.7 car-related deaths per 100,000 drivers. The WHO found that Thailand, Venezuela, Iran, Nigeria, South Africa and Iraq were the next riskiest countries for motorists. According to The Washington Post, one thing that these countries have in common is that the disorganized road systems and sprawling terrain are more difficult to navigate. The news source noted that countries in Northern Europe, including Iceland and Sweden, boast the safest roads.

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