Which country is safest?

Europe is an incredibly varied place and there can be a world of difference between the chaotic traffic jams of central Athens to the endless, empty roads of Scandinavia. Statistically, your chances of being in an accident depend a great deal on which country you are in.

Safest countries

According to the International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group (IRTAD), Denmark is the European country where you are least likely to get injured in a road accident. In 2006, 100 people per 100,000 were injured on the roads there. However, the Netherlands has the lowest fatality rate of any European country - just 4.5 people per 100,000 died on Dutch roads in 2006.

UK statistics

The UK fares relatively well on both counts, with 321 people per 100,000 being injured in 2006 and 5.4 people per 100,000 being killed.

Most dangerous countries

At the other end of the scale, you are most likely to get hurt on the roads in Slovenia, where 578 per 100,000 are injured. While the risk of death is highest in Greece, where 14.9 per 100,000 die in road accidents.

Holiday hotspots

So, what of the most popular destinations for British motorists abroad and how do they fare? Well, France's statistics are relatively low (131 per 100,000), while the fatality rate there is 7.7 per 100,000, which ranks it ninth-best in Europe.

Spain, the other popular holiday hotspot, is less safe, with 227 per 100,000 people injured and 9.3 killed on the roads. These figures are quite high, but Spain has improved its safety record by around 30% in the last four years.

The roads of Portugal are even less safe with 351 injuries per 100,000 and 11.8 deaths - the third worst behind Greece and Hungary.

Take care

Most European countries have safety records worse than the UK. Added to the fact that you won't know the roads and that you will be driving on the right-hand side of the road - see our article on road safety, the best advice is to drive carefully, wherever you are and if you should find yourself involved in an accident make sure you have taken out adequate European Breakdown Cover before heading off on your trip.