Canada has many things of which to be proud. Roads aren’t one of them.

If you think Canada’s roads are among the worst in the world and only getting worse, I’ve got news for you.  You’re absolutely right.

A new study by online global driver education firm Zutobi ranks Canada as having the 19th worst roads in the world, behind countries such as Serbia, Mauritius, Croatia and Malta. Kuwait ranked as having the worst roads in the world, joined in the top 5 of the worst by Costa Rica, Georgia, Panama, and New Zealand.

The countries with the best roads in the world were, in order, Singapore, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, and Denmark.

Factors that went into the rankings were road quality, road traffic accident death rate per 100,000, and kilometers of road per 100,000 square-kilometers. Canada’s five-year change in the rankings is headed in the wrong direction, down 6.37%. We lost 4.58 people per 100,000 in road traffic accidents in 2019. Our total score was a measly 3.88 out of 10.

Compare that to Singapore, which scored a 9.44 out of 10. We have work to do.

Of course, studies of this nature don’t always tell the complete story. Canada’s ranking is influenced by having just 10,439 km of road per 100,000 sq.-km., but vast swaths of our nation is largely unpopulated. The U.S., by contrast, has 66,994 km of road per 100,00 sq.-km. of land. It doesn’t fare much better, with a global ranking of 36th out of 59 ranked nations.

Within the U.S., West Virginia had the dubious distinction of having the worst roads, with a score of just 0.68 out of 10. The percentage of acceptable roads in the state went from 87% in 2015, to just 70% in 2020, Zutobi reported.

cracked road surface
(Photo: iStock)

Other states with a woeful state of roads included New Mexico, Arizona, and Mississippi.

If you’re looking to travel better quality roads in the U.S., look for loads to or through Iowa, Minnesota, Virginia, North Dakota, and Vermont. Wait…Minnesota and North Dakota? So, it is possible to have good roads in areas that face harsh weather conditions. Who knew?

Having bad road conditions is obviously detrimental to the trucking industry. Bad roads reduce fuel economy, wear out tires and equipment, increase maintenance costs and take a toll on drivers. That’s why it’s important to identify countries and provinces with bad roads, hopefully shaming local, provincial and federal governments into committing the funds necessary to support badly needed infrastructure upgrades.

The CAA has its own Worst Roads campaign in Ontario, inviting drivers and other road users to nominate roads in need of repair.

“Over the years, we have heard about potholes, congestion, poor road signs and other safety concerns. Voting for Ontario’s Worst Roads helps shine the spotlight on where more work is needed,” the organization said in a release announcing 2022 results. “Your feedback helps us start a dialogue with the government to help pave the way for safer roads across Ontario.”

Here is a roundup of Ontario’s Top 10 Worst Roads in 2022, according to CAA:

1. Barton Street East, Hamilton
2. Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto
3. Barker Street, Prince Edward County
4. County Road 49, Prince Edward County
5. Carling Avenue, Ottawa 
6. Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto 
7. Lake Shore Boulevard East, Toronto
8. Finch Avenue West, Toronto
9. Bronson Avenue, Ottawa
10. Queen Street, Kingston 

It is municipal election season. When political hopefuls show up at your door in the coming weeks, ask them what they plan to do about local roads. Same for provincial and federal candidates, when the time comes. We can do better than this when it comes to the quality of our roads.

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.


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  • Highway 401 is no picnic either and neither is Route 20 in Quebec, especially exit 17 westbound. It feels like you’re a stuffed toy and being shaken by a terrier when you hit that stretch of road.