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The 10 Best & Worst Countries For Drivers

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Countries with the highest and lowest auto fatality rates (via UMTRI)

Countries with the highest and lowest auto fatality rates (via UMTRI)

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There are lots ways to die. There are also lots of people on Planet Earth tracking when and how people die. Two of those people -- Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle -- have compiled much of that data to show us where folks are most prone to die on the road.

The study is called Mortality from Road Crashes in 193 Countries: A Comparison with Other Leading Causes of Death (PDF). The title's a little somber for our tastes, but in fairness, the report deals with a very somber subject, so we'll it slide.

To compile their report, Sivak and Schoettle, who head up the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, pored over fatality statistics published by the World Health Organization in 2008. Though the two were keenly interested in traffic-related deaths, they also took note of fatalities from three other causes: heart disease, malignant neoplasms (shorthand: cancer), and cerebrovascular disease (shorthand: strokes). Then, they mapped that data, calculating the highest and lowest fatality rates associated with each illness, the fatality rates associated with auto accidents, and how the former and latter overlapped.

ALSO SEE: Grisly Tech: Interactive Map Displays Traffic Fatality Rates Around The World

The good news is that, on average, strokes, heart disease, and cancer are much bigger threats to human beings than car accidents. The bad news is that in some countries, that's not entirely true. In Namibia, for example, you're 53 percent more likely to die in automobile collision than from cancer. And in Qatar, you're more than five times as likely to die in a car accident than from a stroke. You've been warned.

Here are the ten deadliest countries for all four measured causes, with the number of deaths per 100,000 residents in parentheses. Not surprisingly, many of these countries are in the developing world and/or in regions experiencing significant civil conflict.

1. Chad (1717) 
2. Guinea-Bissau (1675) 
3. Central African Republic (1671) 
4. Ukraine (1638) 
5. Malawi (1627) 
6. Afghanistan (1612) 
7. Democratic Republic of the Congo (1607) 
8. Somalia (1560) 
9. Lesotho (1559) 
10. Mozambique (1559)

And here are the deadliest countries with regard to just automobile accidents, along with the number of fatalities per 100,000 residents. Note that there's only one overlapping country, Malawi. ("Congo" refers to the Republic of the Congo, not the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is a completely separate country.)

1. Namibia (45) 
2. Thailand (44) 
3. Iran (38) 
4. Sudan (36) 
5. Swaziland (36) 
6. Venezuela (35) 
7. Congo (34) 
8. Malawi (32) 
9. Dominican Republic (32) 
10. Iraq (32)

And now, to the other end of the chart: the lowest fatality rates from all four causes of death...

183. Nicaragua (439)
184. Costa Rica (434) 
185. Saudi Arabia (404) 
186. Maldives (380) 
187. Syria (364) 
188. Oman (331) 
189. Brunei Darussalam (310) 
190. Bahrain (296) 
191. Kuwait (175) 
192. United Arab Emirates (155) 
193. Qatar (141)

And the lowest fatality rates from auto accidents. Again, there's little overlap, other than Maldives:

184. Switzerland (5) 
185. Netherlands (4) 
186. Antigua and Barbuda (4) 
187. Tonga (4) 
188. Israel (4) 
189. Marshall Islands (4) 
190. Fiji (4) 
191. Malta (3) 
192. Tajikistan (3) 
193. Maldives (2)


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