1. Home
  2. Car insurance
  3. The world’s most and least stressful countries to drive in

The world’s most and least stressful countries to drive in

Driving in a different country can be a great way to explore a new destination and put your road skills to the test. But the process of driving on the roads abroad in a foreign nation is not without its stressful elements too.

Busy road carriageway with traffic flowing both ways and pedestrians walking down the middle

From buying the correct car insurance, to adhering to a new country’s driving rules, there’s a lot to think about when navigating unfamiliar roads.

So which countries around the world are particularly frustrating to drive in? From road quality and congestion levels to the number of speed cameras and accidents on the roads, we’ve analysed 48 countries across a range of different factors. We’ve then given each country an overall weighted score out of 100 to reveal which are the most stressful to drive in.

 

The top 20 most stressful countries to drive a car in

Busy cross junction with cars, buses and motorbikes

The United Arab Emirates tops the rankings as the country that is the most stressful to drive in, with a score of 88 out of 100. The UAE scores particularly highly for fatal accidents per population (2,724.23 per 100,000 population - the highest of all countries analysed).

Bulgaria, Turkey, Italy and Hong Kong follow to make up the top 5 most stressful countries to drive in. South American countries feature frequently in the top fifteen most stressful countries, with Brazil, Argentina and Colombia all scoring over 68 out of 100. Five European countries ranked in the top 10 (Bulgaria, Turkey, Italy, the Czech Republic and Belgium).

Rank Country One speed camera every km of road Quality of road infrastructure (/100) Fatal accidents per 100,000 population Number of cars per km of road Stressful driving score (/100)
1
United Arab Emirates
1.45
83.4
2724.33
552.5
88
2
Bulgaria
100.06
40.2
6.66
171.1
80
3
Turkey
37.02
67
97.17
173.4
78
4
Italy
43.53
56.8
4.01
77.7
76
5
Hong Kong
0.17
85.6
216.16
390.1
76
6
Czech Republic
52.15
48.5
4.83
96.7
74
7
Belgium
42.02
56.4
4.2
48.4
72
8
Malaysia
995.88
72.4
22.93
91.5
72
9
Brazil
114.86
33.5
18.61
19.7
71
10
Argentina
259.01
43.4
12.61
41.6
71
11
Canada
222.93
67.2
51.2
103.6
70
12
Colombia
568.87
39.7
14.71
16.6
69
13
Philippines
0
44.8
9.69
16
68
14
Poland
541.5
55.2
6.56
53
67
15
Romania
765.32
32.6
8.52
65.7
65
16
Chile
416.05
70.1
980.94
44.9
64
17
Singapore
12.59
90.9
2.51
192.2
63
18
United Kingdom
54.72
64.4
2.44
86.4
61
19
Netherlands
148
90.5
36.8
61.8
61
20
Morocco
230.12
61.5
10.73
49
57
 

1. United Arab Emirates

Bird’s eye view of road highway surrounded by sand and trees

The United Arab Emirates scored 88 out of 100 in total in our research, placing it in first position as the most stressful country to drive in. With lots of cars on the road and the highest number of fatal accidents per population of all countries analysed, it’s worth taking extra care when driving in the UAE.

2. Bulgaria 

Traffic at traffic lights on a dark road in Sofia

Bulgaria ranks as the second most stressful country to drive in overall, scoring 80 out of 100. The country scored particularly badly for road infrastructure, and accidents on the road.

3. Turkey 

Empty road with Turkish road sign above and red truck to the right

Turkey is the third most stressful country to drive in, scoring 78 out of 100. Turkey scores highly for the number of cars on the road, with 173.4 per km of road, and an overall stressful driving score of 78/100.

4. Italy 

Traffic and people surrounding St Peter's Square

In fourth position is Italy, which scored 76 out of 100. Italy is known for its unpredictable traffic, meaning you should always allow extra time for congestion on the roads.

5. Hong Kong

Parked cars along street surrounded by restaurants

Hong Kong rounds off the top 5 most stressful countries to drive in, due to its high scores for fatal accidents per population and number of cars per km of road.

 

Positions 21-49 of the most stressful countries to drive in

Empty stretch of road surrounded by grassland and blue skies

Ranking in positions between 21 and 49 were countries including India, China and New Zealand, each with a score of more than 46 out of 100.

Denmark, Japan and Finland ranked as the 3 least stressful countries to drive in, each with a score under 28 out of 100. Each country scored particularly low for fatal accidents, with each of 3 countries reporting under 4 accidents per 100,000 population.

Europe dominated the top 10 least stressful countries to drive in, with 9 countries from the continent all scoring less than 40/100 for stressful driving factors.

Rank Country One speed camera every km of road Quality of road infrastructure (/100) Fatal accidents per 100,000 population Number of cars per km of road Stressful driving score (/100)
21
Israel
102.38
64.3
3.28
143.4
57
22
Germany
133.89
71.7
3.28
72.1
57
23
India
427184
58.6
1138.71
5.5
56
24
Greece
303.9
60.7
5.4
44.9
54
25
China
0
59.7
41.11
32.4
54
26
Zimbabwe
24316.75
30.6
10.66
9
53
27
Thailand
800.24
56.6
31.58
51.4
52
28
Switzerland
105.08
88
2.64
64.9
52
29
Austria
91.48
83.5
3.86
35.8
46
30
New Zealand
1220.78
57.6
7.02
35.4
46
31
Mexico
1531.34
58.4
1.26
74.4
44
32
South Africa
1407.13
59.1
25.12
9.1
44
33
Portugal
733.63
83.2
5.05
55.9
43
34
Iran
173.11
48.1
1.91
63.4
43
35
France
293.7
73.9
3.9
30.7
43
36
Peru
5626.88
36.4
0.84
11.6
42
37
Slovenia
314.4
65.8
3.82
28.7
40
38
Norway
241.48
59.2
1.73
28.7
39
39
Ireland
9983
56.7
3
20.5
39
40
Slovakia
3557.88
49.8
4.1
38.8
36
41
Hungary
765.42
50.3
4.75
16
35
42
Sweden
248.11
71.9
1.98
8.3
33
43
United States
951.96
74.5
10.87
18
30
44
Australia
628.47
65.5
0.52
16.2
29
45
Saudi Arabia
543.91
69.6
0.1
22.2
29
46
Spain
328.29
78.4
2.89
33.1
28
47
Japan
87055.14
84.8
3.67
50.8
28
48
Finland
425.89
71
4
5.8
27
49
Denmark
3727.9
76.2
2.66
33.4
27
 

The top 10 countries with the most speed cameras

Yellow UK speed camera facing road

Speed cameras are undoubtedly put in place to improve the overall experience of drivers, by keeping them safe. No matter where you are in the world, drivers should always adhere to the speed limit.  However, lots of speed cameras on the roads can add to the stress of driving. Also, if you’re not familiar with the road you’re driving on, looking out for cameras on the roads can be distracting.

Hong Kong tops the list of countries with the most speed cameras, with a speed camera being found for every 0.17km of road. The UAE, Singapore and UK also rank in the top 10 countries with the most cameras, with the UK having a speed camera for every 54.72km of road. Outside of this, European countries dominate the top 10, with 7 of the 10 countries being located in the continent.

Rank Country One speed camera every km of road
1
Hong Kong
0.17
2
United Arab Emirates 1.45
3
Singapore 12.59
4
Turkey 37.02
5
Belgium 42.02
6
Italy 43.53
7
Czech Republic 52.15
8
United Kingdom
54.72
9
Austria 91.48
10
Bulgaria  100.06
 

The top 10 countries with the worst quality roads 

: Empty road featuring a pothole filled with sand

Road quality plays a huge part in a driver’s enjoyment or stress levels. From unclear traffic signs to poor road surfaces and lane markings, there are many indicators of bad (or good) road infrastructure. According to data from the World Economic Forum, Zimbabwe scored the worst for road infrastructure, scoring just 30.6 out of 100.

South American countries dominated the top 10, with countries including Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Brazil all scoring under 45 out of 100.

Rank Country Quality of road infrastructure (0-100)
1
Zimbabwe
30.6
2
Romania
32.6
3
Brazil
33.5
4
Peru
36.4
5
Colombia
39.7
6
Bulgaria
40.2
7
Argentina
43.4
8
Philippines
44.8
9
Iran
48.1
10
The Czech Republic
48.5
 

The top 10 countries with the most fatal accidents per population

Battered rusty car on roadside surrounded by desert terrain

Road accidents are distressing for any driver - whether you witness an accident or are involved in one yourself. The number of accidents taking place on the roads can therefore be a huge indicator of how stressful driving in a country may be.

The United Arab Emirates tops the list of countries with the most fatal accidents, with 2,724 fatal accidents per 100,000 population. India and Chile follow in second and third positions, each with around 1,000 deaths per 100,000 population.

Rank Country Fatal accidents per 100,000 population
1
United Arab Emirates
2724.33
2
India
1138.71
3
Chile
980.94
4
Hong Kong
216.16
5
Turkey
97.17
6
Canada
51.2
7
China
41.11
8
Netherlands
36.8
9
Thailand
31.58
10
South Africa
25.12
 

Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, comments:

“As a driver, there are a lot of factors that contribute to whether your driving experience is a safe and stress-free one or not. If you’re planning on driving in a new country, it’s important to do your research before deciding to drive around. Ensure you’ve got the correct car insurance, as well as planning out your route and stops. As our research highlights, driving conditions and rules can really vary from country to country.

“Luckily, many of the factors that contribute to stressful driving - including accidents, congestion and poor road infrastructure - can be improved. Many of the countries around the world are dedicating time and resources to improving their roads and making driving a safer experience for their drivers.”

Sources and methodology

We've used a number of different sources, from the World Health Organisation to the World Economic Forum, to rank countries for four different factors: road quality, number of speed cameras, fatal accidents per country population, plus the number of cars per KM of road, to reveal the countries where it's most stressful to drive.

Number of cars per km of road: to calculate this, we found the total number of vehicles (sourced via The Economist), plus the total road network in kilometres (sourced via CIA data) for the 49 countries.We then divided the total number of vehicles for each country by its total road network, to reveal the number of cars per kilometre of road for every country listed.

Road quality: to calculate the road quality for each country, we used figures from the World Economic Forum, in which every country was scored out of 100 (with 0 being poor quality road infrastructure and 100 being extremely good infrastructure).

One speed camera every KM of road: we used data from SCDB to reveal the number of 'total' speed cameras in every country, and then compared this figure to the km of road in every country, to reveal how many kilometres apart you would see a speed camera in each country. 

Fatal accidents per population: we used data from reports from the World Health Organisation and European Transport Safety Council to reveal a) the population of each country and b) how many road accidents were reported in a year (the latest available data for each country was used in our analysis). Using these two figures, we then calculated the fatal accidents per 100,000 people of each country's population.

Once we'd collected all four factors, we then scored each country on each factor, giving them a score of 100 if they ranked 'most stressful' or worst on a factor, and 4 if they scored 'least stressful' or best on the factor.

For each of the factors the following scoring method was used:

  • Number of cars per km of road - country with the highest number of cars per km of road scored 100, country with lowest number of cars per km of road scored 4
  • Speed cameras every km of road - country with the most speed cameras per km scored 100, country with the least number of speed cameras per km scored 4
  • Road accident score - country with the most fatal accidents per 100,000 population scored 100, country with the least fatal accidents per 100,000 population scored 4
  • Road quality score - country with the lowest scoring (poorest) road infrastructure score scored 100, country with the highest (best) road infrastructure scored 4

Allowing each country to have a score out of 100 for each factor, we then calculated an average score out of 100, and used this score to rank the countries from most to least stressful to drive in.

As road quality and deaths per population are likely to cause more stress to drivers than congestion and speed cameras, we also calculated a weighted average in which the congestion and speed camera factors each account for 20% of the average score and road quality and fatal accidents each account for 30% of the average score.

Editor’s note: Russia and Ukraine have been left out of this analysis due to current ongoing events.

All data correct as of 28 February 2022.