Worst Cities To Drive In: A US Case Study
Are you planning a road trip around the country with your friends? If so, you may want to consider skipping driving in the cities below. They are listed as the worst cities to drive in the U.S. If you want to stay safe on the road, steer clear of these dangerous cities.
Weather, driving conditions, driving habits, and many other factors play their part in making driving very difficult and unsafe. Today we’ll be guiding you through the worst cities to drive in the US and how you can stay safe if traveling there.
Driving in the U.S.
Driving is one of the most popular ways to get around in the U.S., but it’s not always safe. There are a number of risks associated with getting in your car every day that we don’t think about or block out of our minds.
Car crashes, air pollution, whether—driving a car is a risk we all take. Most of the densely populated cities in the country include deadly driving zones. Prior to the COVID – 19 pandemic, more than 80% of the workers in America drove to work on a daily basis. Now, due to the pandemic, 20% of the people without cars are suddenly considering buying one just so they can avoid public transportation or taking car service.
With over 120 million vehicles on the road, the risks associated with driving have increased. Despite the popularity of road transport as means of commuting, the dangers are immense. All this time on the road commuting to work, doing errands, or going up north to get away from it all adds up. On average we spend 310 hours on the road every year. For the average person, that adds up to about two and half years of driving over a lifetime.
Sure, there are incredible scenic routes in every state but, for some, it’s nearly impossible to even leave your neighborhood by vehicle. Many of the worst metropolitan areas to drive in the U.S. can be found in just a few states, notably California, where congestion and high gas prices can make driving worse in many cities. Take Los Angeles for example, where residents would highly suggest avoiding gridlock hours entirely. On top of that, owning a car can be a major hassle and expense. Driving can be incredibly costly depending on where you live, both because of how slowly your city is crawling towards repaired roads and of course because of gas prices.
Roads in the U.S.
America is a country of roads. Every state has its own highway system, while nationally there is the interstate and numbered highway system. All in all, there are 2.7 million miles of road in the U.S. — enough to go around the Earth 107.2 times!
The United States is among the countries with the highest rate of traffic–related fatalities per one million population. It is one of the busiest countries in terms of road traffic and has most of the worst cities for driving, with more than 227.5 million drivers holding valid driving licenses.
The level of traffic is one of the reasons leading to more traffic accidents. In the first nine months of 2020, which includes about six months of data during the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic fatalities rose 4.6 percent from the first nine months of 2019. The increase in traffic fatalities in the second quarter of 2020 was likely caused by faster driving and the trend seems to be continuing in the third quarter of the year.
In addition to paying for insurance and gas, drivers also have to handle repairs and routine maintenance. The roads these cars drive on also need routine maintenance, yet many major roads, highways, and bridges have fallen into disrepair across the country. This declining infrastructure can damage the cars and even pose a great threat to the safety of drivers and their passengers.
The deaths on these roads represent a number of teenage lives being cut short. Vehicle accidents are responsible for a large percentage of the total number of teenage deaths. Most of these roads record a higher number of drivers aged between 16 to 19 years old per mile than those above 20 years old.
Cities with Dangerous Roads
Not all roads are dangerous, and the level of risks varies. Roads in big and busy cities are riskier than those in the suburbs. According to NHTSA, some of the worst places to drive in the U.S. are found in specific states like Texas, California, and Florida.
Besides states with high rates of road accidents, some cities are notorious for posting high fatality rates. Cities with high – population densities also tend to have dangerous roads. Los Angeles is one of the worst places to drive in, which posted the highest numbers of fatalities. Road users in this city should pay extra attention.
What makes these cities dangerous for driving
One thing seems to be similar in all the cities recording the highest accident rates and fatalities resulting from the same. They are among the country’s densely populated cities, and that is the reason for high rates of drunk driving, accidents, and deaths.
The same cities also tend to have a lot of traffic in similar places. While these roads are highly risky, the rate of risk increases depending on the time of day. Research proves that there are more accidents during the night compared to daytime.
When people are hurrying to get back home during rush hour, road users need to be more vigilant because the risks of the roads are bigger. All these traits are risk factors that increase the possibility of fatal accidents occurring.
While this morbid list might make it look like the U.S. is one of the worst places to drive in the world, compared to the rest of the world, it is not. According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. is one of the 25 safest countries to drive, based on total fatalities per billion kilometers driven.
America’s worst cities to drive in
We get constantly attacked with data about the most dangerous roads in the U.S. While traffic problems can occur anywhere, there are certain major cities in America where accidents, long commutes, and gridlock can make driving frustrating.
But who are the worst places to drive?
The 10 worst cities to drive in are spread out among 7 states, with 2 in the West, and 5 in the North.
California has by far the most cities on this list at 4, and every other state on the list has one.
According to sources, these are the worst U.S. cities to drive in:
- Cost of ownership and maintenance: 86th
- Traffic infrastructure: 84th
- Safety: 60th
- Access to vehicles and maintenance: 50th
- Don’t enjoy riding in the rain? Seattle has the rainiest days. Also, it has one of the five highest auto maintenance costs.
- Cost of ownership and maintenance: 75th
- Traffic infrastructure: 98th
- Safety: 78th
- Access to vehicles and maintenance: 17th
- Newark had the most crashes in 2019 of any other city in the state; 28 per day and 22 were fatal.
San Bernardino, CA
- Cost of ownership and maintenance: 93th
- Traffic infrastructure: 71st
- Safety: 70th
- Access to vehicles and maintenance: 72nd
- Although San Bernardino is the eighth-worst city to drive in, it is in the top five most auto repair shops per capita.
- Cost of ownership and maintenance: 79th
- Traffic infrastructure: 99th
- Safety: 54th
- Access to vehicles and maintenance: 33rd
- This city has among the fewest auto repair shops if anything goes wrong on the road, but also is in the top five cities for most hours spent in traffic per commuter.
Los Angeles, CA
- Cost of ownership and maintenance: 99th
- Traffic infrastructure: 89th
- Safety: 44th
- Access to vehicles and maintenance: 26th
- In Los Angeles, drivers are most likely to get in an accident than in any other city in the country. And what happens when you try to get your car fixed? Los Angeles, alongside Chicago, is in the top five cities for the fewest auto repair shops.
New York, NY
- Cost of ownership and maintenance: 90th
- Traffic infrastructure: 100th
- Safety: 14th
- Access to vehicles and maintenance: 51tst
- The Big Apple – in the top five cities for time spent in traffic per commuter, highest auto maintenance costs, and has the fewest auto repair shops per capita.
- Cost of ownership and maintenance: 77th
- Traffic infrastructure: 93rd
- Safety: 98th
- Access to vehicles and maintenance: 53rd
- Michigan in general is known as the worst place to drive in the nation. It’s known as the most dangerous state for winter driving. Detroit has the most uninsured drivers in the state and it is one of the worst cities to drive in the U.S.
San Francisco, CA
- Cost of ownership and maintenance: 97th
- Traffic infrastructure: 95th
- Safety: 62nd
- Access to vehicles and maintenance: 66th
- San Francisco had the highest average gas prices last year – $3.35 per gallon.
- Cost of ownership and maintenance: 85th
- Traffic infrastructure: 97th
- Safety: 82nd
- Access to vehicles and maintenance: 77th
- Philadelphia is one of the most confusing cities to drive in and driving here is miserable. This city is in the top – five cities for the highest parking rates and most traffic congestion.
- Cost of ownership and maintenance: 98th
- Traffic infrastructure: 92nd
- Safety: 85th
- Access to vehicles and maintenance: 44th
- Oakland is in the top five cities for the likelihood of accidents and also for gas prices.
How to stay safe on the road?
- Major U.S. cities can continue establishing carpooling programs to reduce the number of vehicles on the roads, in addition to adding public transit to address the issue of congestion. Some cities are also looking at congestion tolling to try and reduce traffic, which would raise the costs associated with driving and thus encourage fewer cars on city streets.
- It goes without saying that drivers should be aware of all the risks along their journey. There are a lot of bad drivers all over the U.S., but some cities have a much greater share than others. Whether you’re traveling in, out of, or through the USA’s most dangerous cities for driving, you should steer clear of these dangerous driving cities and their metro areas.
- And if you happen to live in one of these poor driving cities, we recommend you to enroll in a defensive driving course to improve your skills and become a much safer driver than before.
- As Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote “Life is a Journey, not a destination”, and when it comes to driving the road you take determines how enjoyable your journey is.
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