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These Are the Hardest Countries for Foreigners to Drive In

Road Trips News Insider Guides
by Olivia Harden Feb 17, 2022

Let’s be honest: driving in a country where you don’t know the exact rules of the road can be intimidating. You might even wonder if it’s worth it when there are other options like taxis, Ubers, and trains.

To put your mind at ease, a driver’s ed company, Zutobi, conducted a study to determine which countries are the best for foreigners to drive in. The results might convince you to get that international driver’s license and go for a ride.

The study compared these data points:

  • The amount of congestion
  • Safety
  • Road quality
  • Cost of car rentals
  • Cost of fuel
  • Parking
  • Attractions
  • “Instagramability”
  • Number of Google searches

In third place is Spain, with a lot to offer in different regions. Find gorgeous beaches, beautiful accommodations, mountains ranges, and lots of food, history, and culture. The country has low congestion, with safe roads and cheap rental cars. Enjoy taking in cities like Valencia, Barcelona, and Madrid, landing the country a 6.34 score out of 10.

The number two spot is held by Italy, a country where there’s something for every type of traveler. The country scored the highest for its overall number of attractions that you can find along its beautiful Mediterranean coastline, including the Amalfi Coast or the Dolomites mountain range. The country also scored highly for the quality and safety of its roads and cheap rental car prices. This country scored a 6.38 out of 10.

Finally, the number one country suggested for foreigners to drive in overall is the United States. With iconic road trip destinations, the country had the highest interest in road trips on both Instagram and Google and had the lowest average amount of congestion. Remember, though, that’s an average — if you’re visiting a city like Los Angeles, you’re bound to have more issues. The country’s overall score was 7.7 out of 10

Other countries with the highest score in specific categories include Singapore with its road quality and safety, Slovakia for charging an average of just $21 to rent a car, Malaysia for averaging just 49 cents at the pump, and Lithuania for averaging $1.23 for two hours of parking.

In terms of countries to avoid, Israel was ranked the worst country for foreigners. It stumbled in categories like congestion, the average cost of fuel, and the number of attractions, scoring it a mere 3.84 out of 10. Colombia scored the second worst, but its congestion score is even higher than Israel’s at 53 percent, and its “Instagramability” scored even lower (though, it should be noted, Colombia is endlessly beautiful). It’s also expensive to rent a car in Colombia, earning it a 3.86 out of 10. The third worst country is Brazil, earning an overall score of 4.14 out of 10.

In descending order, these are the top 10 worst countries for foreigners to drive in the world.

  • Russia — 4.77/10
  • Chile — 4.68/10
  • Mexico — 4.63/10
  • Hungary — 4.62/10
  • Argentina — 4.52/10
  • Romania — 4.24/10
  • Peru — 4.21/10
  • Brazil — 4.14/10
  • Colombia — 3.86/10
  • Israel — 3.84/10

So yes, in certain countries, it is definitely worth it to rent a car. But in many cases, you don’t know for sure until you give it a try.

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