Travel Hazards

Accidents and Injuries

In most developing countries, the greatest health hazard is not an exotic infectious disease. Instead, injuries resulting from accidents, especially motor vehicle accidents, are among the leading causes of preventable hospitalizations and deaths among travelers. Travelers should use the best available transportation and drivers. Overcrowded public vehicles should be avoided. Driving in foreign countries presents many challenges not encountered in the U.S. Countries may have different or non-existent traffic laws, opposite-side driving, poor road quality or foreign-language signage. When available, seatbelts should be worn at all times, and travelers should avoid night driving, especially in rural areas. Riding on motorcycles, especially without helmets, can be hazardous. If you anticipate car travel with an infant or child, it is important to make sure they will be well protected with an appropriate seat.

Travelers should also understand that most developing countries have less stringent or minimal safety standards and fire codes. It is important to be aware that safety features such as emergency exits, fire escapes and protective railings may not meet U.S. standards, or may not be present at all.