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Be Cautious When You Drive in These Countries

No matter where you live in the world, one thing is almost universal: motor vehicles are dangerous. The World Health Organization expects roadway fatalities to be the fifth-leading cause of deaths around the world by 2030. Of course, the rates can fluctuate based on a myriad of factors, both between countries and within a single nation. In the relatively tame Australia, for example, you can compare car insurance at Compare the Market to see how fluctuating roadway safety in various regions affects the car insurance rates paid by drivers. And that's not even the worst of it: Australia's car accident rates are just one-sixth of what's seen in some of the most dangerous countries. Here are five nations where you might be better off walking home.

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is one of two countries to have road traffic death rates higher than 40 deaths per 100,000 citizens. Factors contributing to the country's high death rates relate to weak laws: specifically, lax laws governing helmets and speed limits, and ineffective laws concerning drunk driving. The types of vehicles used may matter, too: 58 percent of all roadway fatalities involved a two- or three-wheeled vehicle.

Russia

If you ask former Russian President, Dimitry Medvedev, careless behavior by Russian drivers is one reason the country endures 35,000 motor vehicle deaths every year. But there are other factors at play. Poor road conditions create hazardous scenarios and increase the risk of an accident. And rampant police corruption makes drivers less inclined to obey authority.

China

On the surface, it might make sense that heavily populated China would lead all countries in annual road traffic deaths, with 220,000. But China only has about one-third the number of vehicles as the United States. The main reason, according to the Washington Post, is that traffic rules in the country are often ignored. That has prompted the government to crack down hard on traffic laws in hopes of improving safety.

India

Traffic is notoriously congested in India, where there are 196,000 deaths a year. While the official reason for many of these accidents is recorded as drunk driving, those familiar with driving practices in the country have a different theory. In cities, as well as in rural areas, traffic congestion and an ignorance to traffic laws is a top contributing factor to the country's high death rates. Residents are pushing for tighter regulation of traffic laws to improve safety and reduce this high fatality rate.

Niue

Judged by the numbers only, Niue is a roadway death trap. Its per capita road traffic fatality rate is nearly two times greater than Dominican Republic, the next-deadliest country. But context is important when judging Niue, a small island in the Pacific Ocean, because the country's sample size is fairly small. In a nation populated by 1,400 residents, the accidents can start to add up quickly, particularly when judged on a per capita basis. And, indeed, when given a closer look, Niue's roads might be a little less gut-wrenching. According to Pacific Standard Magazine, its world-leading road traffic fatality rate can be credited to one single death.

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