Bad Drivers in Israel? Let’s Look at Some Facts.

Filed in Getting Around by on 27/12/2012 0 Comments
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Bad Drivers in Israel – What are the real facts?

You are on your way to Israel and have rented a car but you have heard that Israel has bad drivers and lots of road accidents. Well here are the facts:

David Shinar, the head of Ben-Gurion University (BGU) Center for Research in Ergonomics and Safety, whose 40 year career has been dedicated to researching traffic safety and driving behavior in the U.S. and Israel, says that there is a misconception that driving fatalities are disproportionately high in Israel. The reason: in Israel every road accident makes headlines whereas in other countries most accidents are not reported in the news.

“The reality is that more people die in the United States in car crashes than in Israel, proportionally speaking. Statistically, Israel isn’t doing that bad at all.”

Israel one of 10 Safest Countries as far as Road Accident Fatalities

On November 4, 2012 National Road Safety Day it was revealed that Israel is one of the 10 safest countries in the world regarding the number of fatalities from road accidents. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed that Israel must work harder to reduce the numbers even further. He said:

Even though Israel is currently ranked among the ten safest countries in the world, in terms of deaths per kilometer traveled, this does not make things easier for the families and the tragedy of lives caught short in road accidents. It is very important to reduce the number of injuries.

Drop in Fatalities

In fact, 2012 has seen a drop in fatalities from road accidents by 31% according to police commissioner Yakov Danino. This has been attributed to tracking down repeat offenders, drunk drivers and enforcing new traffic regulations.

Technology to the Rescue

A new Israeli invention, an Advanced Driver Assistant System (ADAS) will help reduce traffic accidents and save lives and should be available to every car in the world within the next 10 years. ADAS is the brainstorm of a Jerusalem based R&D company called Mobileye Products headed by CEO Isaac Litman. So far, places in the United States using the ADAS have seen a 40-50% reduction in traffic accidents. This amazing invention has the ability to warn drivers of an impending accident in time for the driver to stop the car. The invention can even stop the car itself, if the driver does not do this in time. A camera behind the rear view mirror, unseen by the driver, is the sensor for seeing the impending crash.

Differences in US and Israel Traffic Regulations

The Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel has an excellent blog article pinpointing differences between what traffic regulations allow in the US compared to what is allowed in Israel. Learning about these differences ahead of time allows drivers to drive defensively while in Israel. Israel differences highlighted in the AACI article include:

  • It is illegal to ever turn left on a red light. You must wait behind the white line until the left turn light turns green
  • Do not turn right on a red light. When the light is green a pedestrian still has the right of way over you.
  • A solid white line between lanes means you may not cross for any reason.
  • Drivers are not obliged to stop for a school bus.
  • Instead of turning in the middle of the block it is best to use the nearest roundabout as there is no extra lanes in the middle for turning.
  • There are no four way stops. Stop at all stop signs, when clear, proceed with caution.


In Israel a mobile phone in your car must be anchored in one place and you must not speak without a fixed headset – it is illegal to: use the speakerphone, send a text message (NIS 1000 fine) or receive a text message (NIS 500 fine).

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