A state or city’s average weather and nightlife activities are useful to know before traveling. But what about the quality of its drivers? This data is available as a city’s average years between collisions. More years between car crashes indicate better drivers. Yet, the range of years between accidents in the U.S.’s most populated cities is as wide as the open road.
For example, a driver in the worst city gets in a car accident once every 4.19 years, on average. Compared to the U.S.’s national average (one accident every 10.57 years), that’s pretty bad. On the other hand, some cities have average car crash frequencies closer to just once every 14.95 years. If you could decide whether to get in a car accident once every 4.19 years or once every 14.95 years, which would you choose? It all comes down to which U.S. states and cities are home to the best drivers (on average) versus the places that should consider mandating monthly driver’s ed.
View Best and Worst Drivers in a full screen map
The driving data of 200 U.S. cities used to create the map was obtained from Allstate’s 2019 best drivers report. The report took into account accident claims from major U.S. cities and compared them to the national average (one accident every 10.57 years). The map can help help you steer clear of the cities with the worst drivers, but let’s first draw attention to some of the best.
Out of the 200 cities on the map, 10 stand out. These cities are where drivers go longer between car crashes than the national average (10.57 years) and any other city in the nation. The more years between car accidents, the better the average driver, so the following 10 cities must be the best in the country:
- Brownsville, Texas (14.95 years)
- Boise, Idaho (13.65 years)
- Huntsville, Alabama (13.39 years)
- Kansas City, Kansas (13.21 years)
- Laredo, Texas (13.02 years)
- Olathe, Kansas (12.66 years)
- Fort Collins, Colorado (12.6 years)
- Overland Park, Kansas (12.44 years)
- McAllen, Texas (12.42 years)
- Cape Coral, Florida (12.24 years)
Brownsville, Texas’s place as the #1 city with the best drivers is unquestionable for two reasons. First, Brownsvillians only get into accidents every 14.95 years. That’s 4.38 years longer between accidents than the national average. It’s also an entire 1.3 years longer between collisions than even the next best city. Secondly, Brownsville held the first place spot two years in a row. That’s right, Brownsville was also the #1 best driving city in 2018. Plus, it ranked at #2 back in 2017. No one can deny that Brownsville is home to some of the nation’s best drivers.
The second best driving city is Boise, Idaho. Drivers in this city only get in accidents every 13.65 years, on average. Boise moved up to #2 from third place the year prior. Kansas City (the current #4) may not be too happy about that seeing as Kansas City used to be #2. The city is now relegated to fourth place with drivers crashing every 13.21 years, on average.
Like Kansas City, there are other cities hovering around the top 10 that were bumped up or down in 2019. None may be as bummed about their placement as Madison, Wisconsin (#11). Madison dropped several spots from 2018 to 2019. Previously #5, the city narrowly missed the top 10 in 2019 as its residents collide on average every 12.18 years. It should be noted though that drivers in Madison still go much longer between crashes when compared to the national average of 10.57 years. The only other member of 2018’s top 10 to fall in the ranks in 2019 is Cape Coral, Florida. Previously #8, Cape Coral still resides in the top 10 in 2019.
On the other hand, Olathe, Kansas, which was #11 in 2018, rose five spots in 2019, easily making the top 10. It’s drivers get in accidents every 12.66 years, on average. Similarly, Overland Park, Kansas, which ranked at #13 in 2018, also rose up five spots to make it to #8. To discover how your city ranks, use the search bar on the map.
Now, if you were to adjust for factors like population density and rainfall totals by city, you’d end up with a different top ten. Group the map by these categories (“Ranking Standardized for Population Density” or “Ranking Standardized for Annual Precipitation”) to see how Brownsville and Boise fare when these are factored in.
Overall, the top 10 is comprised of one city from Idaho, Alabama, Colorado, and Florida. Kansas and Texas are then home to three top driving cities each (including Laredo, Texas, which is also the U.S. city with the most twin towns and sister cities. That means 60% of the top 10 are from one of two states. Does that make Kansas and Texas the safest states to drive? Let’s find out.
Americans get into car accidents once every 10.57 years on average. However, some states are home to several cities that go longer between collisions. We zeroed in on the cities doing better than the national average and identified the states where many of these cities are located.
Arizona is home to the most cities with better than average collision frequencies: six. These include Scottsdale and Mesa (years between collisions of 11.63 and 11.6, respectively), Chandler (11.21 years), Peoria (10.84), Tucson (10.75), and Gilbert (10.75). Texas is also where five cities with better than average collision frequency are located. The #1-ranking Brownsville (14.95 years between collisions) is in good company with Laredo (13.02 years), McAllen (12.42), Corpus Christi (11.53), and Amarillo (11.49).
Other notable states with plenty of safe cities to drive in are Kansas and Colorado; each have four cities where drivers go longer between collisions than the national average. Three cities each in Alabama, Florida, and North Carolina are also better than average. Tennessee, Missouri, and Nebraska each have two better than average cities while Nevada, Alaska, Kentucky, Illinois, Oregon, Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio have one each.
While the following cities may not be in the top 10 of best drivers nor be located in one of the safest states, they are pressing on the gas to rise in the ranks of best drivers. On the other hand, some cities are crashing and burning in the ranks.
Cities that took a slight detour in the best driving ranks include multiple cities in California, namely Pomona, Escondido, Fresno, and Elk Grove. Pomona previously ranked as the 112th best driving city but in 2019, the city dropped 38 points and now sits at #150. Both Escondido (previously #98) and Fresno (previously #117) saw a 25 point-difference in their rankings for 2019. Escondido’s rank in 2019 is #123 while Fresno is at #142. Elk Grove was #81 in 2018 but resides at #104 on 2019’s list, a 23 point drop.
On a more positive note, there were also many cities that rose in the ranks in 2019. For example, Little Rock, Arkansas sat at #158 on the list of America’s best drivers in 2018. But this year, Little Rock earned the #112 spot. Vancouver, Washington also rose through the ranks from #151 to #114 while Syracuse, New York cracked the top 100, going from #121 in 2018 to #85 in 2019.
We’ve focused on the 10 cities with the best drivers, the safest states in which to drive, and the places that rose in the ranks or took a slight tumble in 2019. Now it’s time to note the cities with the bad drivers. But you better watch out, they’re coming in fast (and likely without a turn signal).
- Baltimore, Maryland (4.19 years)
- Washington, District of Columbia (4.36 years)
- Boston, Massachusetts (4.89 years)
- Worcester, Massachusetts (5.14 years)
- Glendale, California (5.31 years)
- Los Angeles, California (5.81 years)
- Springfield, Massachusetts (5.82 years)
- Providence, Rhode Island (6.19 years)
- Alexandria, Virginia (6.22 years)
- Oakland, California (6.31 years)
Coming in dead last are the drivers of Baltimore, Maryland. These speed racers get into accidents more frequently (every 4.19 years, on average) than any other city in the U.S. Not only was Baltimore ranked last in 2019, but the city was in the same spot in 2018. Safe to say drivers in Baltimore can expect to swerve quite often.
Washington, D.C. drivers also frequently collide: every 4.36 years on average, to be exact. Three Massachusetts cities face similarly increased rates of crashing: Boston, Worcester, and Springfield. Drivers in these places must ask themselves why there are so many bad drivers daily. To learn more about the rest of America’s bad drivers, including the three cities in California in the bottom ten, sort the map by “Average Years Between Collisions” and select the two lowest ranges: “4.36-4.19” and “7.33-4.89”.
We can’t wait to see which U.S. city rises in the ranks or drops a point or two next year. In the meantime, you can plan your road trip of Route 66 and the historic locations you can still find or make your own map with BatchGeo today.