Worse Drivers in US – Yes SF is on the list!

If you’ve had enough of road hogs and cutoff artists who flagrantly risk both their lives and their expensive cars (not to mention yours) in their ongoing quest for highway superiority, consider moving to a smaller town. Or at the least, avoid some of the most traffic-clogged cities in California, Florida and the Northeastern states. That’s according to the annual America’s Best Drivers Report just released by the Allstate ALL -0.17% Insurance Company in Northbrook, Ill..

Based on rankings of the country’s 200 most populated areas, the comparatively sleepy city of Fort Collins, Colo. leads Allstate’s list with motorists that are 28.2 percent less likely than the typical U.S. driver to cause a wreck and who spend a leisurely average of 13.9 years between accidents. By contrast, areas suffering the most wreck-prone motorists include many of the nation’s most densely populated metropolitan areas, with Washington D.C. again leading the pack in that regard. Residents of the nation’s capitol are 109.3 percent more likely to get in accidents than the general population, and go a mere 4.8 years between crashes.

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We’re featuring the 10 cities Allstate’s study pegs as having America’s worst drivers in the accompanying slideshow. While the top offenders include some major metropolitan areas – including Baltimore, Philadelphia, Miami and San Francisco – the nation’s largest cities surprisingly rank farther down the list. Car-clogged Los Angeles placed “only” 14th overall, with New York City and Chicago, which boast efficient public transportation networks, sitting in 23rd and 45th place, respectively.

In Pictures: U.S. Cities With The Most Reckless Drivers.

Other cities joining Fort Collins on the top 10 list of safest driving locales include: Boise, Idaho; Sioux Falls, N.D.; Brownville, Texas; Madison, Wis.; Reno, Nev., Huntsville, Ala.; Visalia, Calif.; Montgomery, Ala.; and Eugene, Oregon. The most crowded of these burgs is the college town of Madison, Wis., where its 240,323 residents place it 82nd on the list of largest U.S. cities, as estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau based on 2012 figures.

Among the country’s biggest cities – those having a million or more residents – Phoenix, Ariz. was deemed the safest, with motorists only 2.0 percent more likely than average to pilot their way into a crash. Phoenicians typically spend an average 9.8 years between collisions. Other safer major metro areas include San Diego, San Antonio, Chicago and Houston.

Clearly, driving prudently in a major metropolitan area can be more risky than in a sparsely populated area, but each affords its own challenges, particularly among those unfamiliar to the region. To that end, auto-safety experts suggest those planning to visit a big city by car heed what the locals might consider obvious safe-driving tips:
•Allow plenty of time to reach your destination. Backups, long traffic signals, pokey pedestrians and the inevitable year-round construction routes and detours are almost certain to adversely affect one’s travel times. Expect to stop or slow down for what is perhaps an unexpected volume of pedestrians, emergency vehicles, delivery trucks, parking cars, taxicabs and city buses along the way.
•Be alert for changing traffic conditions. Listen to traffic reports on the radio or use a navigation system that displays congestion information and explore alternate routes to minimize delays.
•Plot a course ahead of time on a map or use a GPS to find the most efficient way to get to a destination; if lost, safely pull over and ask for directions or call the authorities if you feel threatened.

In Pictures: U.S. Cities With The Most Reckless Drivers.

Meanwhile, big-city folk traveling to less-populated areas should be especially careful to follow these guidelines:
•Mind the speed limit. The roads may have less traffic and higher speed limits, but fight the urge to unduly open the throttle, particularly if it’s an unfamiliar area.
•Keep an eye out for pedestrians who might cross an otherwise open road without the benefit of marked crosswalks.
•Maintain a safe distance from the traffic ahead, especially from large trucks which may have limited visibility; make sure there’s ample space and opportunity to pass a truck, particularly on a two-lane road.

The Fine Print: Allstate’s study was based on an analysis of reported property damage claims data culled from America’s 200 largest cities over a two-year period (from January 2010 to December 2011) to ensure the findings would not be impacted by external influences such as weather or road construction. The report defines an auto crash as any collision resulting in a property damage claim. Allstate’s auto policies represent about 10 percent of all U.S. auto policies, which the company says makes this a realistic snapshot of what’s happening on the nation’s roadways

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