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Which are the safest driving countries in Europe?


Here at Mayday we hope you found our recent guide to driving in Europe useful and that it will help you to drive more safely when you’re overseas. If you are heading off on a driving holiday, do you know which European countries have the safest roads, and which countries you might need to take particular care whilst driving in? We find out in today’s blog!

Which countries have the safest roads in Europe?

Staying at home in the UK would actually be one of the safest options, as based on 2016 data from the European Commission detailing the number of road deaths per one million people, the UK actually ranks second in the list of safest driving countries! The UK had a very low death rate of only 28 people per million inhabitants, pushing it to near the top of the global safety rankings.

If you’re planning a holiday in Europe and are looking for the safest roads on which to drive, you might want to consider heading to Scandinavia: Sweden tops the list of the safest driving countries with only 27 road fatalities per million people, while Denmark lies in fifth position with 37 deaths.

Other countries which offer safer driving include the Netherlands (33 deaths per million), popular holiday destination Spain (37), Germany (39) and Ireland (40).

Which countries have the most dangerous roads in Europe?

While Eastern Europe offers travellers many fascinating and beautiful countries and cities to visit, these countries are unfortunately not the safest in which to drive. The countries with the weakest road safety records were all located in Eastern Europe: Bulgaria topped the list with 99 fatalities per million inhabitants, with Romania not far behind on 97 deaths. Closely following were Latvia with 80 deaths, and Poland with 79.

It wasn’t all bad news for Eastern Europe however, with several countries in the region recording the biggest decrease in fatalities in the EU from 2015 to 2016. Lithuania (which recorded a 22% decrease), Latvia (16%) and the Czech Republic (16%) all registering large falls in road fatalities.

European roads are the safest in the world

Despite the larger number of fatalities in certain Eastern European countries, European roads are still the safest in the world. The average rate of fatalities across Europe in 2016 was 50 per million inhabitants, which compares very favourably with the global average of 174 deaths per million.

The number of road fatalities in Europe has been dropping annually with the previous decade seeing a reduction in fatalities of 43% between 2001 and 2010. The rate of reduction did slow between 2010 and 2016, but a fall of 19% was still recorded during this six year period.

Most European countries have a fatality rate of below 80 and no country recorded a rate above 100, which compares very favourably with statistics from around the globe.

How and where did the fatalities occur?

Many might assume that most fatalities occur on busy motorways but actually, the majority of road deaths in Europe – 55% - occurred on rural roads. 37% of deaths occurred in urban areas whilst only 8% happened on motorways.

The majority of fatalities were amongst car occupants (46% of fatalities), with pedestrians accounting for 21% of deaths, 14% on motorbikes, 8% on bicycles, and 7% on another form of transportation.

Whichever country you’re driving in, all of the team at Mayday wish you a pleasant and safe trip!