The 10 most dangerous countries to drive a car in

Fed up with driving in the first world? Assumed the roads are getting worse? You just need to get out more.

The esteemed World Health Organisation (WHO) has taken some time off, away from AIDS, genocide, H1 N1 influenza and malaria, and instead issued some stark findings about the increasingly motorised, car-infested world in which we live. Part of those findings - all 297 pages of them - are a list of the top 10 most dangerous countries in the world to drive a car. A download link for the full WHO report is at the end of this post.

More on the 10 worst countries shortly.

But first, more worryingly, the WHO says that by 2030 road crashes will be the fifth-biggest killer of people globally, totalling 3.6 per cent of all deaths - beating lung disease, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. (Crashes were the ninth biggest killer globally in 2004.) The WHO says that 1.4 million people are killed today in road crashes annually.

The worst 10 countries for road death currently are:

  • 10th: Gambia - population 1.7 million, 14,500 cars, 36.6 road deaths per 100,000 people
  • 9th: UAE - population 4.4 million, 1.7 million cars, 37.1 road deaths per 100,000 people
  • 8th: Angola - population 17.0 million, 671,000 cars, 37.7 road deaths per 100,000 people
  • 7th: Niger - population 14.3 million, 76,000 cars, 37.7 road deaths per 100,000 people
  • 6th: Iraq - population 29.0 million, 2.2 million cars, 38.1 road deaths per 100,000 people
  • 5th: Afghanistan - population 27.1 million, 732,000 cars, 39.0 road deaths per 100,000 people
  • 4th: Libyan Arab Jamahrilya - population 6.2 million, 1.8 million cars, 40.5 road deaths per 100,000 people
  • 3rd: Egypt - population 75.5 million, 4.3 million cars, 41.6 road deaths per 100,000 people
  • 2nd: The Cook Islands - population 13,300, 10,700 cars, 45.0 road deaths per 100,000 people
  • 1st: the former Italian colony of Eritrea, on the western flank of the Red Sea (looking across from Africa to the Middle East) - population 4.8 million, 60,800 cars, 48.4 road deaths per 100,000 people. Staggering.

Australia? Not within a bull's roar of this list - thankfully. Australia's road death rate hovers around 7 per 100,000 people - putting us in front of (ie statistically, slightly safer than) New Zealand, Canada and the USA, but behind Germany (6.0), Japan (5.7), the UK (5.3) and Sweden (5.0).

The WHO report, entitled Global Status Report on Road Safety, is fascinating reading. Just click the link to download.