Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own.

Most dangerous developed countries to drive in

The United States and New Zealand are some of the most dangerous countries to drive in, and is Australia isn't far behind.

Which country has the worst drivers? It's the kind of question that comes up in conversations now and then, and is usually answered with lots of anecdotal evidence.

Every year though, the Australian government publishes an international road safety comparisons report.

The report includes road death rates for OECD nations (short for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and Australian states and territories.

The latest available international data is based on 2022 data. There were 31 nations included in the report.

We've ranked them worst to best.

Key figures

  • Australia's roads are dangerous but we're not quite the worst. We ranked 18th out of 31 countries for road deaths.
  • In spite of their often icy weather conditions, several Scandinavian countries are the safest places to drive.
  • Colombia came in last place, followed closely by the US. Its roads have actually gotten more dangerous in recent years.

The most dangerous countries to drive in

1. Colombia

Colombia is the most dangerous country to drive in. According to the data, 8,030 people lost their lives on the road in 2022.

It has the highest fatality rate of all 31 countries – 15.54 per 100,000 people. Highways have a speed limit of 90-100 km/h and it's home to one of the most dangerous roads in the world, the Trampolín del Diablo.

2. The United States

Good job the US is the home of the brave because it must take a lot of courage to get into a vehicle. There were 42,795 road deaths in 2022, making it the second most dangerous country for drivers.

It's also one of the few countries where roads have gotten more dangerous. In 2014, the US only killed 10.3 of its citizens per 100,000. It's never fallen below 11 since then. Many experts have attributed the rise in deaths to the increasing popularity of large SUVs and pickups.

3. Chile

The second most dangerous OECD country for driving in South America. 2,137 people were killed driving in Chile.

It has a fatality rate of 10.78 per 100,000 people. The country has a 120 km/h speed limit.

4. New Zealand

A very popular destination for Aussies and driving holidays, New Zealand may have some of the most scenic roads in the world. It also has some of the deadliest. 375 people lost their lives on the road in 2022. It has a fatality rate of 7.33 per 100,000 people.

5. Greece

One of the most popular spots for Aussies in Europe, according to Finder travel insurance data, Greece is the most dangerous OECD country in Europe for drivers.

You can drive up to 120 km/h on the motorway. 641 people were killed on the road in Greece over a 12 month period.

The safest countries to drive

That's right. Norway – a country with narrow roads, icy weather conditions and short winter days is the safest place to drive.

Norway has consistently been the least dangerous OECD country to drive in since 2015 – in 2014, it was beaten by Iceland and Sweden.

A study by the Norwegian Institute of Transport Research found that the two most important reasons for the low death rate were the increased prevalence of safety features on cars and a decrease in average speeds.

Other factors include a decline in the number of young drivers involved in crashes, a decline in the number of crashes involving young moped riders, the construction of motorways and other roads with barriers and the increased use of speed cameras.

The other safest countries to drive include Sweden, Iceland, Japan and the United Kingdom. It's further evidence that icy roads don't necessarily make driving more dangerous if certain safety measures are in place.

How safe are Australian roads?

Not very safe – but not as unsafe as 13 other countries. We ranked 18th out of the 31 nations, with a fatality rate of 4.54.

France, Italy and Korea were some of the countries that performed worse than Australia.

Roads have been getting more safe in recent years. Between 2013 and 2022 Australia's fatality rate declined by 11.4%. However, the OECD median rate declined by 20.8%.

Safest and most dangerous states for driving

There's some good news if you live in NSW. It's the safest state for driving. It has a fatality rate of 3.44 per 100,000 people, putting it on par with countries such as Finland.

Although NSW has the lowest road fatality rate, Finder research shows that it's the second most expensive state for comprehensive car insurance, according to our awards.

You're a little less safe on the road in Victoria. It's the second safest state with a fatality rate of 3.63 per 100,000 people.

Despite its relatively low road fatalities, it was the most expensive state for car insurance.

Like Victoria, fatality rates in South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory are still smaller than the OECD median (3.9 and 3.94 vs 4.28 OECD).

It's less encouraging news for other states and territories though. Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory all have higher fatality rates than the OECD median.

Queensland has a fatality rate of 5.58, comparable to countries including Luxemburg (5.58) and Hungary (5.53) but worse than Italy (5.35), Korea (5.30) and France (4.98).

Western Australia and Tasmania also have a really high fatality rate (6.27 and 8.93) but neither are as dangerous as the Northern Territory. It would rank in last place if it was a country. It has a fatality rate of 18.78 per 100,000 people.

Feeling unsafe on the road? Consider moving to Norway, get rid of your car or maybe just get good comprehensive car insurance?

More guides on Finder

Go to site