For members


MAPS: Which Swiss canton has the worst drivers?

While Switzerland has a reputation for being orderly and calm, not all cantons are created equally when it comes to road safety. Which canton has the worst drivers in Switzerland?

MAPS: Which Swiss canton has the worst drivers?
A road in the southern Swiss canton of Grisons, which straddles the Italian border. Photo by H. Emre from Pexels,

For a country which is small on geographical size, Switzerland is incredibly diverse. 

From cultural norms to political attitudes – and of course linguistic variance – things change significantly from canton to canton. 

And according to a new study by AXA Switzerland, an insurance firm, that is certainly the case when it comes to road safety. 

And the worst drivers come from….

Rather than the ‘worst drivers’, it is probably more accurate to speak of the ‘drivers with the worst safety records’, given that the study looks primarily at accident numbers. 

Drivers in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino suffered the highest number of car accidents between 2016 and 2020. That is more than 20 percent over the Swiss average.

From 2016 to 2020, AXA received 16,900 claims in the canton of Ticino. 

This is in comparison to 870 claims in Uri over the same period, which is the canton with the best record when it comes to road accidents. 

After the canton of Uri, Schaffhausen’s and Luzern’s drivers were also relatively safe. 

Collision damage claims in those regions were significantly lower than the Swiss average.

For anyone wanting to get an idea of how Switzerland as a whole fared, Aargau is the canton which is closest to the Swiss average. 

The larger cities of Geneva and Zurich both fared poorer than the Swiss average. 

A tram in Zurich. Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger from Pexels

Generally speaking, the German-speaking regions of Switzerland ranked the best, while the French-speaking regions ranked poorly.

Ticino, as the only Italian-speaking canton, ranked the worst. 

Why Ticino? 

While many social media users were quick to point to the linguistic and cultural connections between Ticino and Italy as a reason for the results, the authors of the study feel that the underlying reasons are more than just cultural. 

AXA expert Freddy Egg said the narrow, sloping streets of Ticino posed particular challenges for drivers and were therefore an underlying reason why accident rates were above the national average. 

Sasha Küng, a driving instructor in Ticino, told 20 Minutes that the poor quality of the roads was another reason, but that cultural connections between Italy and Ticino should not be discounted. 

“In Ticino we also have a lot more two-wheelers that overtake on the left and right,” Küng said. 

Sepp Gisler, President of the Uri Driving Instructors Association, said geographical factors were also key to Uri’s good result, as were strong training regimes. 

“I don’t know why we have so few accidents. We certainly have less complex situations in Uri than in Geneva or Zurich,” he said, 

“We driving instructors and the Road Traffic Office simply attach great importance to solid basic training before we go to the test. So you are at a good level to be able to avoid accidents”.

Where are the best and worst drivers in Switzerland?

The following map shows the cantons with the best and worst road safety records. 

The safety records are expressed as a comparative percentage in the canton with that of the nation as a whole. 

Therefore, a higher score than 100 means a worse driving record than Switzerland. 

Map: AXA Switzerland

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For members


Five signs you’ve settled into life in Switzerland

Getting adjusted to Swiss ways is not always easy for foreign nationals, but with a lot of perseverance it can be done. This is how you know you’ve assimilated.

Five signs you've settled into life in Switzerland
No lint: Following laundry room rules is a sign of integration in Switzerland. Photo by Sara Chai from Pexels

Much has been said about Switzerland’s quirkiness, but when you think about it, this country’s idiosyncrasies are not more or less weird than any other nation’s — except for the fact that they are expressed in at least three languages which, admittedly, can complicate matters a bit.

However, once you master the intricacies and nuances of Swiss life, you will feel like you belong here.

This is when you know you’ve “made it”.

You speak one of the national languages, even if badly

It irritates the Swiss to no end when a foreigner, and particularly an English-speaking foreigner, doesn’t make an effort to learn the language of a region in which he or she lives, insisting instead that everyone communicates to them in their language.

So speaking the local language will go a long way to being accepted and making you feel settled in your new home.

You get a Swiss watch and live by it

Punctuality is a virtue here, while tardiness is a definite no-no.

If you want to ingratiate yourself to the Swiss, be on time. Being even a minute late  may cause you to miss your bus, but also fail in the cultural integration.

‘The pleasure of punctuality’: Why are the Swiss so obsessed with being on time?

Using an excuse like “my train was late” may be valid in other countries, but not in Switzerland.

The only exception to this rule is if a herd of cows or goats blocks your path, causing you to be late.

A close-up of a Rolex watch in Switzerland.

Owning a Rolex is a sure sign you’re rich enough to live in Switzerland. Photo by Adam Bignell on Unsplash

You sort and recycle your trash

The Swiss are meticulous when it comes to waste disposal and, not surprisingly, they have strict regulations on how to throw away trash in an environmentally correct manner.

Throwing away all your waste in a trash bag without separating it first — for instance, mixing PET bottles with tin cans or paper — is an offence in Switzerland which can result in heavy fines, the amount of which is determined by each individual commune.

In fact, the more assiduous residents separate every possible waste item — not just paper, cardboard, batteries and bottles (sorted by colour), but also coffee capsules, yogurt containers, scrap iron and steel, organic waste, carpets, and electronics.

In fact, with their well-organised communal dumpsters or recycling bins in neighbourhoods, the Swiss have taken the mundane act of throwing out one’s garbage to a whole new level of efficiency.

So one of the best ways to fit in is to be as trash-oriented as the Swiss.

READ MORE: Eight ways you might be annoying your neighbours (and not realising it) in Switzerland

You trim your hedges with a ruler

How your garden looks says a lot about you.

If it’s unkempt and overgrown with weeds, you are clearly a foreigner (though likely not German or Austrian).

But if your grass is cut neatly and your hedges trimmed with military-like precision (except on Sundays), and some of your bushes and shrubs are shaped like poodles,  you will definitely fit in.

You follow the laundry room rules

If you live in an apartment building, chances are there is a communal laundry room in the basement that is shared by all the residents.

As everything else in Switzerland, these facilities are regulated by a …laundry list of “dos” and “don’ts” that you’d well to commit to memory and adhere to meticulously.

These rules relate to everything from adhering to the assigned time slot to removing lint from the dryer.

Following each rule to the letter, and not trying to wash your laundry in someone else’s time slot, is a sign of successful integration.

Voilà, the five signs you are “at home” in Switzerland.

READ MORE: French-speaking Switzerland: Seven life hacks that will make you feel like a local