You probably think that our roads are fairly safe in the UK, but have you every wondered how we compare to the rest of Europe?
Using the European Commission’s Annual Accident Report 2018, Canvas Holidays has calculated where the safest and most dangerous places to drive in Europe are.
Fasten your seatbelts to find out how many accidents there are per 10,000 residents in the Top 20 most dangerous countries for driving in Europe…
The Dutch are big cycling fans. In fact, some 17 million people own 23 million bicycles. Cars are important too and The Netherlands has one of the best road safety records in Europe. According to the Canvas Holidays research, there were just 11 accidents there per 10,000 residents in 2018. The safest country of the EU28 is Denmark with 5/10,000.
Estonia is the most northerly of the three Baltic states and includes more than 1,500 islands. Its diverse terrain, featuring rocky beaches, forests and lakes, while the weather can be treacherous, so driving conditions can be challenging. Despite that, there are a relatively low 11.1 road accidents per 10,000 residents.
Lithuania. is the largest and most southerly of the three Baltic republics. This view of the capital, Vilnius, with the Mindaugas Bridge in the forefront, looks quiet enough and the roads are generally good, but the jury’s out when it comes to driving standards. Most importantly, there are a relatively low 11.4 road accidents per 10,000 residents.
The number of road deaths in the Irish Republic dropped by 4% in 2018 – the lowest number of fatalities on the roads since records began. The figure is reflected in the more general EU road accident statistics obtained by Canvas Holidays with 12.2 accidents per 10,000 residents.
Sweden is the most unlikely country you’d expect to see in the Top 20 most dangerous countries to drive in Europe, given its automotive reputation for safety. After all, Volvo invented the seatbelt which is estimated to have saved millions of lives across the world and prevented even more serious injuries. However, 13.9 road accidents per 10,000 residents means that Sweden is pipped by several countries (with Denmark topping the list) when it comes to the safest place to drive in Europe.
According to official statistics, 2018 marked a black year in traffic safety in Luxembourg – 35 people lost their lives on Luxembourg’s roads, which is 11 more than 2017. The more general EU road accident figures obtained by Canvas Holidays show that there were 15.6 accidents per 10,000 residents in 2018.
It’s fair to say that Romania doesn’t have the best roads infrastructure in Europe. And being diplomatic, the Romanian driving style is a bit chaotic. However, the dramatic Transfăgărășan Highway is one of Europe’s great driving roads. In Romania in 2018, there were 15.8 road accidents per 10,000 residents.
Hungary’s road safety performance is not the best with 17 accidents per 10,000 residents reported in 2018. Hungarian drivers are said to have an aggressive driving style, while the roads are average. The safest country of the EU28 is Denmark with 5/10,000.
The Baltic state of Latvia has borders with Estonia, Russia, Belarus and Lithuania, while its landscape is marked by wide beaches as well as dense, sprawling forests. Needless to say, driving conditions can be challenging in the winter. Latvia has 19.6 road accidents per 10,000 residents.
11) Czech Republic
Skoda’s homeland is bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast. The roads are OK, but the accident rate is fairly high with 20.2 per 10,000 residents and, according to travel forums, Czech drivers have been known to be aggressive.
10) United Kingdom
The UK’s roads are more dangerous than you might think compared to the other 27 countries in the EU with 21.6 road accidents per 10,000 residents in 2018, according to Canvas Holidays’ research. Looking at it another way, the UK is the 19th safest place to drive in Europe!
Spain has a varied road network, ranging from fast, new highways to old roads in more rural areas in need of a little TLC. One of the most dangerous stretches of road in Spain is between Casar de Talamanca (Guadalajara) and the point where it crosses the M-103 motorway to Algete (Madrid). According to Canvas Holidays’ research, there were 21.9 accidents per 10,000 residents in 2018.
Croatia borders Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Italy. Croatia’s sunny Dalmatian Coast has to be one of Europe’s most dramatic with the blue-green waters of the Adriatic Sea, lined with jagged mountains, dense forests and white pebble beaches. However, if you’re driving you need to keep your wits about you because there were 25.5 accidents per 10,000 residents in 2018.
Italy is home to iconic car brands including Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and Alfa Romeo, plus some spectacular roads, which perhaps contributes to the relatively high number of accidents compared to its EU neighbours – 29.1 per 10,000 residents. The safest country of the EU28 is Denmark with 5/10,000.
This scene in Valletta looks tranquil enough, but driving in Malta can be challenging, a fact acknowledged by some Maltese themselves. The accident rate per 10,000 residents is pretty high for Euorpe with 30.2, but if want to experience the real Malta, you’ll have to get out there. Just take it easy and do your research.
Portugal has some of the most modern main roads in Europe, and elsewhere they are generally good too. This picture from Rally Portugal shows a more extreme rural road! However, some Portuguese drivers do not have the best reputation which may account for the fairly high score of 31.4 accidents per 10,000 residents.
Slovenia is a small country in Central Europe and its terrain features Alpine mountains, thick forests, historic cities and an Adriatic coastline. This image from a rally illustrates some of the country’s dramatic countryside. Slovenia is level-pegging with Portugal (No 5) when it comes to road accidents per 10,000 residents with a figure of 31.4.
This night shot of Brussels traffic looks cool enough, but Belgium is the third most dangerous country to drive in Europe, according to the official statistics for 2018 obtained by Canvas Holidays. In total, there were 35.1 accidents per 10,000 residents. The safest country of the EU28 is Denmark with 5/10,000.
Some 70% of Germany’s Autobahn network has no speed limit. Yet, according to official 2018 figures, motorways accounted for only one in eight road deaths (12.9%). However, using the more general road accidents vs population methodology, Germany’s roads are almost the most dangerous in Europe with 37.2 accidents per 10,000 residents.
According to research from Canvas Holidays, Austria is the most dangerous driving destination in Europe, with a worrying 43.6 accidents per 10,000 residents. Although spectacular, Austria is home to some of the most dramatic driving routes in Europe, including the Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße, located in the Alps. Denmark is the safest place to drive, reporting just 5 accidents per 10,000 residents annually, followed by Cyprus (7.5), Finland (8.5) and France (8.6).