Top 10 Countries With the Safest Roads

Brooks Harvey
by Brooks Harvey

Across the world, someone is killed on the roads once every 30 seconds.

And for every death, there are at least 20 injuries every 30 seconds. According to statistics from the World Health Organization, pedestrians and drivers are much more likely to die on roads in poorer countries. Approximately 752 pedestrians die on the road every day, and 786 motorcyclists die every day in accidents globally.

Statistics from the World Bank group, Transportation for Development, are alarming, too. Less developed countries have a higher number of road fatalities, which is largely due to poor infrastructure, worse vehicle safety standards, and inadequate driving laws. The cheapest vehicles sold in first-world countries are also much safer than those sold in developing countries, due to varying safety standards.

Here’s a list of the top 10 safest countries to drive in based on the WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015 interactive map:

10. Norway

Norway is 10th on the list with 3.8 deaths per 100,000 people. According to the WHO estimates, there were 192 total road deaths in Norway throughout 2015. The WHO deems Norway’s helmet laws inadequate, as well.

9. Spain

Spain lands in the No. 9 spot with 3.7 deaths per 100,000 people. The WHO estimates report 1,730 total road deaths in Spain throughout 2015. The WHO deems Spain’s drunk driving laws inadequate, according to the report.

8. Singapore/Israel

Singapore and Israel tie for No. 8 on the list. Singapore estimates indicated 3.6 road deaths per 100,000 people, according to the WHO. Israel also reported 3.6 road deaths per 100,000 people. The report indicates 197 estimated total road deaths throughout 2015. The WHO report also deemed Singapore’s drunk driving, speed, and child seat laws inadequate.

7. Maldives/Denmark

Denmark and The Republic of Maldives tie for rank No. 7 on the list. The WHO reports just 3.5 road deaths per 100,000 people for both Denmark and Maldives, with Denmark reportedly experiencing 196 total road deaths throughout 2015.

6. Netherlands

Netherlands takes the No. 5 spot with 3.4 deaths per 100,000 people. In 2015, WHO estimates show Netherlands had 574 road deaths.

5. Switzerland

Switzerland is fourth on the list with 3.3 vehicle deaths per 100,000 people. Switzerland had an estimated 269 total road deaths in 2015.

4. San Marino

The microstate of San Marino, located in Italy, takes the number four spot with only 3.2 road deaths per 100,000 people, and with just one total road death reported in 2015.

3. United Kingdom/Kiribati

There are two countries tied for third on the list. The more notable one being the United Kingdom, with 2.9 vehicle deaths per 100,000 people. It had an estimated 1,827 deaths total throughout 2015. The second country tied for third is the tiny island nation of Kiribati, which is also tied at 2.9 road deaths per 100,000 people, with just 3 total road deaths occurring throughout 2015

2. Sweden

Sweden is the second safest driving country in the world with a ratio of 2.8 deaths per 100,000 people. It had an estimated 272 total road deaths throughout 2015. According to the WHO, this is due to strict drunk driving laws and high vehicle safety standards.

1. Micronesia

According to the WHO report, the Federated States of Micronesia has the safest roads on the planet, with 1.9 road deaths per 100,000 people, and only 2 total road deaths throughout 2015.

To illustrate how different countries have varying safety standards, the below video shows how an American safety-certified compact car stacks up in a crash against a car that adheres to Mexican standards.

Brooks Harvey
Brooks Harvey

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  • Smartacus Smartacus on Nov 24, 2016

    aw yeah Maldives, Singapore, Kiribati, and Micronesia have all those roads LOL And i'll just as happily not live in Spain or Israel, regardless of how "safe" their roads are.

  • Anon Anon on Sep 22, 2017

    The author of this article has zero understanding of statistics. Kiribati and Micronesia have very few vehicles which is why the death rate among the general population is low. It doesn't say anything about how safe their roads are. As an example, Kiribati has 86.9 fatalities per 100,000 vehicles. Do those sound like safe roads to you? Compare that with Sweden and the UK who have 4.7 and and 5.1 respectively. Let that be a lesson to you, Brooks Harvey. Use your brain when interpreting raw statistics into conclusions. The list you've presented are not the "top 10 safest countries to drive". And you've misinterpreted the WHO's very good statistics.