World’s safest countries to drive in – and the most hated driving habits ranked!

Date Posted 25th January 2023
Read Time 7 min read

Have you ever wondered where the safest places to drive are in the world? When you’re stuck in commuter traffic, or a driver cuts in front of you without indicating, or how about when somebody on the road doesn’t oblige by the 30mph rule on a city street? At Hippo Leasing, we often wonder how roads and driving rules in other countries fare against our own. So, we started analysing the relevant data and this is what we’ve found. 

To make sure that our results were as accurate as possible, we gathered the most recent data for road fatalities from every country to create a leaderboard, ranking over 200 locations from all corners of the globe from safest to the most dangerous.

Norway ranked the safest place to drive in the world

Are we surprised at this? Not quite. The Nordic country gets many things right – and driving is one of them. According to the data we sourced from OurWorldInData and Gov.UK, Norway has officially earned the title of the safest place to drive in the world, with only 1.5 traffic-related fatalities per 100,000 people.

In fact, all three Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden and Denmark) rank in the top 5 safest places to drive, with Sweden’s fatalities only slightly higher at 1.7 per 100,000 people, and Denmark just slightly higher again at 2.2. If you broaden the area, you discover that actually, all major Nordic countries rank in the top 20 safest places to drive with Iceland’s fatalities per 100,000 people at 2.4, Greenland at 3.94 and Finland the highest with only 4.

When we look at the speed limits for Norway, we can see a big difference in comparison with the most dangerous countries to drive in. Their highway speed limit is 15.5 kph / 9.6 mph slower than the average highway speed limit of the 10 most dangerous countries, and 14 kph / 8.7 mph lower for rural roads and 10.5 kph / 6.5 mph lower for urban roads. This could be the big contributing factor for Norway’s roads to be ranked the safest in the world.

World’s safest countries to drive in by continent

Central African Republic ranked the most dangerous country in the world to drive in

When looking at the other end of the leaderboard, our data reveals that the Central African Republic ranks as the most dangerous country to drive in, with an astonishing figure of 67.12 traffic-related fatalities per 100,000 people. 

Similar to Norway and its surrounding countries, other African countries follow suit, with  Lesotho (49.17), the Democratic Republic of Congo (42.18) and Eswatini (40.69) all recording fatalities above 40, with many others like Angola (38.73) and Gabon (34.39) in the 30s.

Middle Eastern countries also ranked poorly overall, with countries such as Saudi Arabia (58.22), Oman (55.73), Yemen (47.08) and the United Arab Emirates (43.66) all recording staggeringly high fatality rates.

Could speed limits be the reason? 

To try and explain why these countries have a higher rate than others, we took the speed limits of each of the safest 10 countries and compared them with the 10 most dangerous countries to see if this was the reason. 

We found that the top 10 countries have an average highway speed limit of 115 kph / 71.4 mph. This is just over 9 kph more than the average highway speed limit of the top 10 safest, which have an average highway speed limit of 106.2 kph / 65.9 mph. The same can be seen when looking at rural and urban roads. 

The 10 most dangerous have average speed limits of 94 kph / 58.4 mph for rural roads and 60.5 kph / 37.5 mph for urban roads. Compared to the top 10 safest, they have an average limit of 78.6 kph / 48.8 mph in rural areas and 47.8 kph / 29.7 mph in urban areas.

UK ranked 7th safest country to drive in

Turning our attention closer to home, the UK would certainly be known as a safe place to drive when looking at the data. The UK overall ranks 7th with only 2.4 fatalities per 100,000 people, the same as Iceland and just below Japan, which records 2.6 per 100,000. 

If we split the UK up into its individual countries, England ranks the highest, and thus the safest country to drive in on UK roads, with 2.3 traffic-related fatalities per 100,000 people. England is then followed closely by Scotland and Northern Ireland who both record 2.6 fatalities per 100,000, with Wales in last place recording a marginally higher rate of 2.7 per 100,000.

The UK’s urban speed limit could be playing a large part in why it’s a comparatively safe place to drive versus the most dangerous countries. The UK’s speed limit is 48 kph / 30 mph and is 12.5 kph / 7.8 mph lower than the average urban speed limit of the top 10 most dangerous countries, which is quite a big difference. Highways are also lower, but only slightly at 3.5 kph / 2.2 mph lower. Interestingly, the UK’s rural speed limit of 96 kph / 60mph is higher than the 94 kph / 58.4 mph average of the top 10 most dangerous countries.

Most hated driving habits, according to Twitter

Further analysis found what annoying driving habits drive us around the bend the most. To do this we created a list of driving habits that commonly anger and frustrate drivers when on the road, and then analysed Twitter to see which of those habits drivers couldn’t stand the most. 

Driving habits people rant about the most

Out of the many common habits that we all face on the day-to-day commute, it turns out that over the last 10 years, people have been ranting the most about ‘Speeding’. There were a total of 1,104 tweets about Speeding, which is just over double the number of people ranting about being ‘Cut off’, which ranked in second place with 549 tweets. 

Surprisingly, ‘Middle lane hogging’ ranked as the least annoying driving habit, with only 197 tweets posted in the last 10 years, with ‘Tailgating’ closely following with 197 tweets.

Top 10 driving habits people rant about

RankingIssueNo. of tweets (Global)
2Cut off549
3Full beams on459
4No Indicator410
5Sudden braking349
6Slow driving305
7Lane switching261
10Middle lane hogging197

Driving habits that cause the most anger

Once we had these figures, we then ran the tweets through a sentiment tool to see which of the habits caused drivers the most anger. 

In first place, replacing ‘Speeding’ was ‘Cut off’ making it the most anger-inducing driving habit in the UK, moving from second to first, with ‘Speeding moving from first to sixth. ‘No indicator’ moved up two places to make it the second most anger-inducing driver habit with ‘Middle lane hogging’ jumping from last place to the bronze medal position

RankingIssueAverage tweet sentiment
1Cut off-2.02
2No Indicator-1.59
3Middle lane hogging-1.46
4Sudden braking-1.17
8Full beams on-0.80
9Slow driving-0.79
10Lane switching-0.27

Leasing with Hippo Leasing

Now that your worries have been eased thanks to the knowledge that the UK has some of the safest roads in the world, why not get yourself a brand new lease so you can enjoy our roads in style? Here at Hippo Leasing, we have a huge range of car leasing deals available. If you need any help during the process, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


To find the data for this piece we scoured various data sources from multiple trusted sites, such as Gov.UK, and brought them all together into one large data spreadsheet. We then sorted through the data, emitting any old data and individually sourced any countries missing from the large data batches in order to cover as much of the globe as humanly possible with the most recent and reliable data possible. 

Hippo leasing created a list of 10 common bad driving habits, then analysed Twitter for tweets mentioning each habit to uncover which receives the most tweets and the sentiment of those tweets. Analysis was done on January 10th 2023 and looked at tweets over the last 10 years.

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