Highway to hell? The most dangerous countries to drive in Europe

country road landscape in south europe. photo by arihak.

Planning a road trip in Europe? I recently did it – a road trip all the way from south Europe to the Nordics. It was a long journey across 11 countries that gave me a good perspective how traffic culture varies from nation to nation. And it does change. A lot. Fortunately, the European Transport Safety Council compiles statistics on road accidents so that travelers like me can take a look if experiences on the road reflect the official statistics. Here are the most dangerous and safest European countries to drive in.

Vignetteswitzerland.com put together charts that are based on European Transport Safety Council statistics. These are the 10 most dangerous European countries for drivers (the number after the country indicates road deaths per million inhabitants in 2022):

  1. Romania 85.81
  2. Serbia 82.65
  3. Bulgaria 77.64
  4. Croatia 71.20
  5. Portugal 62.30
  6. Greece 60.71
  7. Latvia 60.24
  8. Luxembourg 55.78
  9. Hungary 55.22
  10. Italy 53.70

Top 10 safest countries to drive in Europe (as measured by road deaths per million inhabitants in 2022):

  1. Norway 21.38
  2. Sweden 21.72
  3. United Kingdom 25.89
  4. Denmark 26.22
  5. Switzerland 27.58
  6. Ireland 30.83
  7. Germany 33.35
  8. Finland 34.43
  9. Israel 36.61
  10. Spain 37.08

Northern and central European countries dominate the ranking for the safest countries to drive in.

How did my recent trip from south to north Europe go? Did I discover the highway to hell? Yes, I did find it in Italy. The extremely busy, narrow and constantly zigzagging highway A 10 from Ventimiglia to Genova was a nightmare for everyone who wasn’t familiar with the road or wasn’t used to speeding cars a few centimeters from your side mirror. Poland’s position in the most dangerous country ranking is 11th, but for me it felt more dangerous than, for instance, Latvia.

One more thing: if you are planning a road trip in Europe, you have to know about highway tolls. Many, but not all, European countries collect tolls from vehicles that use highways. The usual methods are toll booths on the road or a vignette that must be purchased in advance. A remarkable source of information for this is the Motorway tolls and vignettes web page that also maintains a chart of average fuel prices per country.

highway to hell in italy: a 10 autobahn - jammed or a race track. photo by arihak.
Highway A 10 in Italy has two operation modes: crawling or a high speed race track.