We are constantly bombarded with data about the most dangerous roads in the world. But where are the worst cities to drive a car? If you’re thinking about planning an international road trip with friends, you may want to consider skipping the following destinations.
According to several sources, these are the world’s worst cities to drive in. They are in no particular order, the most annoying, most frustrating, downright worst places to drive in the world are.
The rules of the road are rather lax in the Philippine capital city. Triple-lane changes, using opposite lanes of traffic to get out of jams, turning left from the far right… these are all things that car rental drivers can expect to experience during their morning drive. Manila drivers also have an aversion to signaling and tend to breeze through red lights without so much as a second glance. Pedestrians always having the right of way may seem natural to drivers in America, but this concept is not so intrinsic in Manila. Unfortunately, this means that driving and crossing roadways on foot are both treaturous territory in this city. If you’re not native to the Philippines, chances are good that you will be left with the blame in a roadway incident. What’s more, there is a coding system put in place which designates who is allowed to operate a vehicle on certain days and who isn’t, making this place even more confusing for its drivers.
The Canadian city of Toronto is home to North America’s busiest highway – the 401. Nearly a half a million people travel the Toronto stretch of this highway everyday, creating traffic congestion like you’ve never seen. It doesn’t matter that the road is 18-lanes wide at times – all of them come to a standstill the minute rush hour hits. Toronto has many things to offer its visitors, but an exciting and fun driving experience is not one of them. The Toronto area is home to a portion of one of the largest and most congested highways known as highway 401. This massive roadway stretches 18 lanes across at its widest and it can be a nightmare to navigate for those who don’t know their way around. As if it needs mentioning, this highway at the busiest time of day is anything but a vacation. To top it all off, passing on the right is legal on the highways, contrary to driving laws in many other cities, so knowing where you’re entering and exiting well in advance is essential.
If you’re planning to drive your car rental in Seoul, remember this word of warning: public transit vehicles are legally allowed to ignore traffic signals. Apparently punctuality is more important than safety in this Korea metropolis. As for the regular drivers… well, they aren’t much better. Drivers have no problem ignoring traffic lights and pedestrians are considered minor distractions. And watch out for scooters. These daredevil drivers will take to any patch of pavement in order to improve their progress and bypass stopped traffic. As with many of these other locations, drivers in Seoul are in a hurry and prefer to drive with forceful intention. It is not uncommon to see motorcyclists driving on the sidewalks, illegal as it may be. It seems many of the road laws that pertain to lane markings and changes are seen as suggestions rather than specific guidelines, so constant attention is a must when driving on the city streets. What’s more (surprise, surprise), parking is a near disaster in this city.
The “Happiest Place on Earth” is actually one of the most frustrating places to drive. Cars headed to and from the gigantic malls and theme parks cause insane bottlenecks and ridiculous traffic congestion. And let’s not even get started on the number of carjackings that take place in broad daylight.
There are more than three million vehicles on the road in Beijing right now – and more than 1,000 new ones joining the fleet every day. As with other cities on this list, the basic rules of the road are widely ignored. This includes lane markings, traffic signs and merging instructions. But don’t feel bad if you’re repeatedly cut off during your daily commute. Beijing-ites extend the exact same respect to police and emergency service vehicles. It isn’t uncommon to hear car rental drivers honking in frustration if a cruiser is blocking traffic at the scene of an accident. Although driving rules and laws do in fact exist in Beijing, the foreigner often finds this hard to believe as the flow of traffic seems random, confusing and above all, dangerous. The reigning problem here, however, seems to be the amount of traffic congestion. Beijing has over five million registered cars blocking up the roadways all over the city. The best example of this issue goes back to 2010 during the infamous China National Highway Traffic Jam when cars were backed up for over 60 miles and drivers were stuck, in some cases, for several days. Thankfully, Beijing has been making efforts to clear some of the traffic congestion by setting up alternating travel days for car owners.
Drivers enjoy very little affection in the City of Love, thanks to narrow streets and the single most confusing traffic roundabout in the world: the Arc de Triomphe. This insanely large roundabout has roughly 13 different entrances, no markings and no lines. Throw in a couple dozen confused car rental drivers and you’ve got yourself a recipe for driving disaster. Be sure to watch for children running into traffic, drivers cutting ahead, and just general all-around mayhem. The ever-lovely city of Paris is often referred to as the City of Lights. What they don’t tell you, however, is that those lights are mostly bright red tail lights. It is usually advised to avoid driving in this city if you can help it. Parking is often a big reason for the headaches, as there is little space and lots of competition. What’s more, the French use many traffic roundabouts, but they hardly ever seem to include lane markings and therefore drivers navigate them in sudden, and sporadic movements. Luckily for its visitors, this city has a top-notch public transportation system.
Only a quarter of the roads in this major population center are paved – and paved poorly. If you’re planning on heading outside the city in your Mongolian car rental, make sure you’re driving a vehicle equipped with four wheel drive – only a fraction of the country “roads” are maintained. While some individuals may go years without ever knowing that the city of Ulaanbaatar exists, many others know of it for its infamy in the realm of poor driving conditions. These sorry road conditions are a large part of the problem, but the lack of traffic signals makes for a whole new breed of bad driving. To top it all off, the lack of roadways in the city makes for an upward scaling amount of congestion as well. This city’s roads seem to embody the perfect storm of terrible driving: low quality and overcrowded.
Driving in the Greek capital is anything but civilized. A general disregard for traffic laws and a lack of parking results in most streets being blocked by double- and triple-parked vehicles. One of the most difficult things about driving is Athens is having to play hide-and-seek with the road signs. Drivers have noted that this information can sometimes only be found in extremely obscure locations, including high up on the sides of buildings, and is often hidden by one obstruction or another. One important distinction to make is that while in America flashing your headlights at another car usually means “go ahead,” it inversely seems to mean “get out of the way!” in Athens. Lastly, motor cyclists are responsible for many of the roadway incidents in Athens as they often weave between cars on the road ignoring the existence of lanes altogether.
Imagine all of the terrible things your driving instructor told you not to do when you were taking your driving training. Now, imagine encountering all of these dangerous maneuvers at once. That’s pretty close to what you’ll experience while driving the streets of Mumbai. Car rental drivers are often overtaken on blind corners and it’s not uncommon to encounter cars accelerating off side streets without looking. And that’s before you throw in overburdened buses, roaming animals and tuk-tuks. Although a recent article in Times of India claims that Mumbai is now one of the safest cities to drive in the country, countless stories from individuals who have driven elsewhere would discount this statement. In India, the road is shared by many, and this sometimes includes animals. Cows, a sacred animal in Hinduism, always get the right of way, so be wary of running into one while on the road. What’s more, many of the roadways in India are of questionable quality with several lanes of poorly paved and tarnished road. Do not be surprised if you see several individuals clinging onto the back of a van or hatchback vehicle while its speeding down the path. These awkward, high-occupancy vehicles are a common occurrence in India. Last of all, people love to lay on their horns in India, which makes it a very noisy travel experience.
Car rental drivers should prepare for the worst when they get behind the wheel of their Roman rental car. Tailgating isn’t just a common problem; it’s a national pastime. Rearview mirrors are accessories, as drivers never bother to look behind them. And seatbelts? Those are merely suggestions. There are literally dozens of collisions on the roadways of Rome every day, so be careful. That Fiat that’s riding your bumper will likely be on top of your bumper shortly. Driving in the picturesque italian countryside is a truly romantic image, but don’t be fooled by that fantasy when it comes to the capital. Drivers in Rome are aggressive and seem to be proud of it. Like many others, this city has gone through some traffic changes and those who live in the city have put in place their own road guidelines outside of what official driving laws dictate. Any new driver in Rome would have to go through a trial period of unlearning everything he has ever known about road laws just to get around. Luckily for its visitors, tourists are not legally allowed to drive in what’s called the “ZTL” or “Zona a Traffico Limitato”, which includes much of the city, so save your rental cars for the italian countryside, unless you want to pay a heap of fines.
Finding well paved roadways is a difficult feat in the city of Lagos so be weary of large potholes in your route. Similarly, many traffic signs off of the main roads are completely hidden, whether on purpose or simply overtaken by brush, so driving unknowingly down one way streets or “Do Not Enter” spaces is a cause for concern. It is rumored that many of the drivers on the roads of Lagos never actually attended driving school, which makes the unkept roads even more dangerous as road rules fluctuate with the drivers on the road.