We’ve all been there; stuck in traffic, perhaps during a heat wave, with patience worn so thin it would probably be transparent if held up to the sunlight. Turning on the radio is the only source of comfort, but the announcer only serves to inform that the congestion is going to stay solid for at least another two hours, convincing us that we live in one of the worst places to drive.
It’s the curse of the modern day commuter, and also the reason why therapists make a large percentage their money counselling those involved in road rage incidents. Chances are, you think you’ve got it bad, but unless you live in one of the following cities you don’t have any room to complain.
Terrible Traffic Congestion
Traffic congestion is a serious problem for many major cities around the world. It’s simple mathematics; populations are growing, which in turn means more cars are hitting the roads, and more cars will keep hitting the roads until the end of human civilisation. Hence; if the roads aren’t built to handle the increase in traffic flow, congestion is the inevitable result.
Kolkata in India has the worst traffic congestion on the planet. So bad, in fact, that it is estimated that the average travelling speed for motorists is around 11mph. A quick Google search will reveal a number of aerial shots of the area, and as expected, the rows of cars stretch out as far as the eye can see. It’s a nightmare scenario for those who have road rage tendencies. On the other hand, drivers in the area have plenty of time to engage in a few recreational activities and can play a bit of online roulette or read a magazine while waiting to move forward at snail’s pace.
Indian residents really seem to have it bad as far as congestion is concerned, as Mumbai and Bangalore also make the top 10 list. Other areas with chronic traffic congestion include Mongolia, Vietnam, Mexico and Turkey.
Traffic congestion is one thing, but at least it’s not life threatening, assuming you don’t get involved in any of those road rage fistfights! Bad drivers, on the other hand, are a true menace, and potentially put the lives of everyone at risk. Not to worry, though, as long as you steer clear of the following areas, your chances of survival are still fairly high.
Manila, the Philippine capital, is rumoured to, without a doubt, be one of the worst places to drive. Word is that traffic laws are a mere suggestion, and that motorists often ignore red lights, use incorrect lanes to skirt around traffic, and even jump the curb if the mood suits them. Those unfamiliar with the conditions will probably find the situation horrifying, so if you’re planning a holiday there, maybe take the bus.
The situation is likewise bad in Seoul, where reckless scooter drivers flood the streets in their thousands, and public transit vehicles are, by law, allowed to ignore the rules of the road. It’s also apparently common to see vehicles cruising up the sidewalks, so not even pedestrians are safe amidst the chaos. If visiting, it’s best to simply write a will before stepping out the door, and travelling via road.
Best Cities for Motorists
All this talk of bad driving may have got you a little anxious, and longing for road conditions that don’t see you putting your life on the line. The good news is that for every city where chaos reigns supreme, there are other cities where conditions are flawless.
Düsseldorf in Germany is rated as the nicest place to drive, with virtually no congestion, and drivers so friendly and polite you would swear they were trying to sell you something. Dubai boasts similar conditions, so if you can’t get in with the Germans, you might try the United Arab Emirates.
Your third choice is Zurich in Switzerland, where the average travelling speed is 25mph, and traffic congestion is rated at a low 31%. Keep in mind that the congestion rating in Kolkata is 69%. Plus, word is that the Swiss make some seriously good chocolate, so you’ll not only miss the perils of sitting in traffic, you’ll have some world class chocolate waiting for you when you get home.