Who are the worst drivers in Europe?

Who are the most aggressive drivers in Europe? What about the most likely to speed or beep their horns? A new survey claims to have the answers.

Who are the worst drivers in Europe?
Who's the rudest, and who's the most likely to drive too fast? Photo: AFP

Main points: 

  • French and Greeks are the rudest
  • Swedes most likely to drive too fast
  • Swedes also most likely to drive too close to another car
  • Dutch the most likely to undertake
  • Spanish most likely to use their horn

Drivers in most of Europe say they have adopted safer and more courteous behaviour behind the wheel, with the notable exception of the French and Greeks who share the top spot for hurling insults at other road users, polling data suggested on Wednesday.

In a poll of self-reported behaviour, drivers in most European countries said they were less likely to resort to insults than a year ago, to lean on the car horn, to overtake on the right, or to drive too closely to the car in front of them.

However, the poll found the Greeks were most likely (47 percent) to drive on the tail of the car in front of them and, with the French, to insult other drivers (70 percent).

READ ALSO: 'No consideration for anybody except themselves': The damning verdict on Danish driving

The Spanish, at 66 percent, were quickest to jump on their car horn, according to the research conducted in 11 countries by the Ipsos polling agency for roads operator Vinci Autoroutes.

The Greeks, the study found, topped the list for dangerous road behaviour while the British came last.


Overall, 88 percent of European drivers admitted to exceeding the speed limit on occasion – one percent down from 2019, and 61 percent – a drop of three percent – to not respecting the safety distance.

The Swedes were the most likely to drive too fast or too close to another car, or to take their eyes off the road, the poll found.

Dutch drivers were the most likely – almost half of them – to overtake on the right in lanes meant for slower traffic.

Not on target

On a positive note, the poll found that only two of the 14 indicators of dangerous driving behaviour were on the rise – speaking on the telephone and setting the GPS while driving.

A fifth of drivers – a rise of one percent from 2019 – said they had got out of their car to settle an argument with another road user. The Poles, at 37 percent, were most guilty of this.


A fifth of French drivers, compared to 16 percent in Europe, said they were “not really the same person when driving”, and judged themselves to be more nervous, impulsive or aggressive than otherwise.

According to EU data, some 22,800 road traffic fatalities were recorded in the 27 European Union countries in 2019. This was about 7,000 fewer than in 2010, representing a decrease of 23 percent.

The number fell by two percent from 2018.

While the underlying trend remains downward, progress had slowed in most countries since 2013, and the EU target of halving the number of road deaths by 2020 from 2010 would not be met, the European Commission said in a report.

“2020 still may prove to be an outlier with early indications that the number of road fatalities is likely to drop significantly in view of the measures taken to tackle coronavirus but not by enough to meet the target,” it said.

Member comments

  1. This is another set of statistics that treats Greece as homogenous. My experience is different.

    On Santorini, almost everyone I talked to said that the most dangerous drivers were American tourists—especially male tourists from specific stated (guess which ones). I didn’t try to drive on Santorini.
    But I drove all over East Crete and I never felt insulted or endangered. The only place I had trouble was the center of Heraklion, after dark, and even my Cretan friends wouldn’t drive there, given a choice.

  2. I spent three months dry retching when I first started driving in southern Italy. This after 35 years extensive driving in the UK. The obsession to overtake, tailgate, inability to look left, no use of indicators. They are crazy, that is why the insurance is so expensive. However they do it all with a smile, a cheeky grin and a shrug of the shoulders. “You got eyes and brakes – use them.” Driving in France is so polite.

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How should you prepare your car for autumn (and winter) in Denmark?

It’s common for motorists in Denmark to switch between summer and winter tyres once autumn sets in, but do conditions in the country call for anything else?

How should you prepare your car for autumn (and winter) in Denmark?

You might not have noticed based on the weather, but calendars are proof that autumn has arrived in Denmark.

With that in mind, it’s inevitable that conditions on the roads will be taking a wetter and colder turn sooner or later. What steps are usually taken by motorists in Denmark at this time of year to set their vehicles up for the coming months?

Winter tyres 

Winter tyres are not a legal requirement in Denmark but they are generally recommended, including by FDM, the membership organisation for motorists.

Tyres which qualify as winter tyres are marked “M + S”, which stands for “Mud and Snow” and have a mountain and snowflake symbol.

While the law does not require you to use winter tyres, you do have to have matching tyre types. So it is illegal to, for example, keep normal tyres on the front of your car and just change the rear tyres in the winter.

It is common to switch over to winter tyres in the ‘autumn holiday’ or efterårsferie around the second half of October. Many car owners keep a second set of wheels with winter tyres in their basements or garages, or at “tyre hotels” in workshops who can also change the wheels for you and store the summer tyres in place of the winter set.

READ ALSO: Driving in Denmark: When should you change to winter tyres?

Check your battery

Car batteries work harder when it is cold, particularly when the temperatures drop below zero. If you have an older car or an older battery, it might therefore be a good idea to ask a mechanic to check it.

When it’s cold, you’re likely to be using functions like the internal fans and heaters which will put additional drain on the battery.

Make sure your windscreen is clear

It’s important to get your windscreen clear before you head out, even on shorter journeys. This goes for both ice and condensation and a windscreen that is not properly cleared and therefore limits your vision can get you a “clip” or points on your driving licence, as well as being a safety hazard.

Make sure you have a good quality ice scraper in the car, and get the motor and windscreen heaters running in good time before you set off.

“Wing mirrors, headlights and number plates must also be free of ice and snow” said Rasmus Boserup, head of communications with energy company OK, in a press release. OK operates petrol stations across Denmark.

READ ALSO: How strict are the punishments for driving offences in Denmark?

Change your wiper blades

Drivers often use their windscreen wipers to help scrape the remaining frost from windshields. This can wear down the wiper blades, resulting in squeaking and inefficient performance in rainy weather conditions.

Ideally, you should avoid this and stick to a scraper and the heating system to clear ice. It’s nevertheless a good idea to treat your vehicle to a new set of wiper blades if you notice a deterioration.

Put a high-viz jacket or vest and hazard triangle in your car

If you break down and pull over to the side of the motorway or road, you’ll need a relective hazard triangle (advarselstrekant in Danish), which must be placed behind the car to warn approaching drivers about your stricken vehicle. These are required by law if you’ve broken down (although it’s technically not a legal requirement to have one in the car) – so it’s worth having one in the boot/trunk.

In addition to this, a high-visibility jacket, vest or other clothing is a very good idea if you have to pull over, and even more so when it’s dark or in the winter when visibility is generally poorer than in summer.