Driving around in the Czech Republic within cities, country roads and mainly on the highways, can be a nightmare. It’s fairly common that the following happens:
- While changing from the slow to the fast lane, the car a fairly long way away in the fast lane seeing your indication, instead of maintaining a steady pace, often tends to speed up in a hurry to pass you by.
- Similar scenario, except that you’ve changed lanes already and then the driver behind chases you almost bumper to bumper so that you get out of the way. It seems to be a sport. Usually, the bigger the car the worse is the road sense or driving manners.
- You’re driving in the slow lane and a vehicle wants to join the motorway. Instead of driving carefully and waiting until the time is right, the vehicle comes careening down and joins the highway with complete disregard to safety. This alarmingly includes heavy vehicles.
- You are driving down winding roads and a fair percentage of the vehicles coming from the opposite direction come speeding up right in the middle of the road including at blind turns.
- Drivers recklessly cutting in and out of lanes.
Having experienced all of the above day to day, I wanted to check the statistics on which are the countries safest to drive in within Europe and which ones are the most dangerous. The obvious measure is the rate of accidents.
The Countries with the Safest Drivers
According to the official website of the European Union, Sweden and the Netherlands are the safest countries to drive in. Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia have the highest rate of accidents and fatalities per 100.
Not surprisingly 24 percent of those who die on the European roads are women and 76 percent are men. Women are safer drivers and not too many of them are likely to play Rambo.
Another interesting aspect is that almost 14 percent of those killed on the roads in the EU are aged between 18 and 24 even though they belong to 8 percent of the population.The proportion of the mortality among the elderly on the roads due to accidents has been rising steadily.
The Worst Drivers
According to official statistics almost 100 persons per million are killed in Bulgaria and Romania each year and about 27 in Sweden. This, even though the population of vehicles on a percentage basis must be higher in Sweden compared with Romania and Bulgaria. The Czech Republic is not too far behind at 58 deaths per million.
Civic sense is astonishingly missing among many drivers who often don’t care to give way even to pedestrians at designated crossings in many of the countries. Another interesting aspect that stands out in a more or less way is that the lesser the per capita income in a country, the more inconsiderate is the driving.
According to the official website of the EU, 30 ‘advanced’ safety features will become mandatory. These include intelligent speed assistance, laughably and obviously from a computer aided system and will have nothing to do with common sense and consideration from the driver. I don’t know of the other 29. According to the officials these safety features will help save 25,000 lives each year and a mind boggling 140,000 serious injuries. But only by 2038.
What about making dashboard and rear view cameras compulsory so that drivers will behave? Not only that, it may actually help save lives, reduce serious accidents and help governments collect more money by way of penalties while people are policing each other through these cameras. No doubt the authorities would have to invest in having the videos monitored.
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