Everything’s Bigger in Texas, Including the Risk of an Accident
Do you live or work in Dallas, TX? If so, you might be interested to learn that every morning you drive to work you are cruising along on some of the riskiest roads in the country.
Allstate analyzed car accident records for a two-year period in 200 US cities with a population of 50,000 or more. The results showed that drivers in nine cities in the Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) area are the most prone to accidents. The Best Drivers in the Country survey ranked Dallas drivers #172 out of 200 cities nationwide. The neighboring suburbs of Arlington (#162), Garland (#175) and Irving (#180) are just as low as Dallas on the totem pole.
In fact, Dallas drivers are involved in collisions 48% more often than drivers in the rest of the country, averaging once every seven years. Experts blame the heightened risk on the density of the suburbs, which leads to higher than average road traffic at all hours of the day. More traffic means a higher likelihood of accidents. DFW isn’t exactly a commuter’s paradise. If you are involved in an accident it may be necessary to obtain an accident lawyer to handle compensation for property damage.
Which Came First: Bad Drivers or Bad Roads?
It’s not just the drivers, it’s the roads that are in bad shape too. DFW suburbs are booming, but the crumbling road infrastructure can’t handle the influx of drivers. While Dallas and its neighboring areas have plenty of roads, highways, and interstate loops to get around on, they are about as smooth as a washboard. To add to the woes, the area needs $200 million to repair the outdated traffic control system.
Potholes, cracks in bridges, crumbling curbs and rough pavement team up every day to wreak havoc on DFW vehicles. Shocks, suspension, tires and alignment are constantly under attack as they battle the crumbling roads. Each “thunk” sounds means accelerated depreciation dropping off your vehicle’s value. Keeping yourself safe and your car, truck, or SUV in good running condition in Dallas traffic is truly a challenge.
The Worst Drivers in America
Sure, it’s easy to poke fun at Texas. They wear pointy-toed boots, big hats and seem to think their state should be its own country. But when it comes to really bad drivers, nobody can hold a candle to the fine folks of Glendale, CA, Worcester, MA, Boston, MA, our favorite Washington D.C., and the goat…Baltimore, MD. These towns hold the last five spots on Allstate’s list of Best Drivers in the Country.
Coincidence? I Think Not
Beantown has the third worst drivers in America AND the absolute worst commute in America (168 hours of driver time lost per year). The DMV has the second worst drivers and the second worst commute (155 hours lost per year). It also appears that the towns with the lousiest commutes are also the towns with the highest alcohol and drug impaired drivers. D.C. has the most alcohol-impaired driving fatalities nationwide, while Worcester, Boston, and the entire state of Connecticut have drugged drivers behind the wheel at a rate about 20 percent higher than the national average.
And then there’s Baltimore, rated the home of the all-time worst drivers in America. Remember how we mentioned that Dallas drivers averaged an accident once every 7 years? The folks behind the wheel in Baltimore manage to get into an accident at a rate of once every 4.1 years. The one place to stay away from in this capital of crashes: Interstate Highway 695, known to locals as the Baltimore Beltway. It seems that the only thing worse than Baltimore’s baseball team is their drivers.
For a list of the riskiest roads in the 15 cities ranked at the bottom of the Best Drivers Report, click here.
Gold Stars for Good Driving
The top ten cities where drivers are least likely to experience a collision are:
#1: Brownsville, TX
#2: Boise, ID
#3: Huntsville, AL
#4: Kansas City, KS
#5: Laredo, TX
#6: Olathe, KS
#7: Fort Collins, CO
#8: Overland Park, KS
#9: McAllen, TX
#10: Cape Coral, FL
The U.S.: A Developed Nation with Undeveloped Highway Safety
The World Health Organization found that the U.S. leads the developed world in the number of traffic deaths. The report reviewed laws and crashes in 175 nations, which revealed that the U.S.’s traffic fatality rate is 50 percent higher than similar nations in Western Europe, plus Canada, Australia and Japan.
There stretches of highway are the biggest culprits:
- I-10 in Arizona. Specifically the 150 mile stretch between Phoenix and the California border. This lightly populated patch has seen as many as 85 deaths in a year in a state that only has 700 per year for all of its roads.
- Highway 550 in Southwest Colorado. We don’t have actual statistics for this one so maybe we should just call it one of the scariest mountain pass roads in America. Reaching 11,000 feet and excavated from the side of a mountain, this road has no guardrails in order to facilitate snow and avalanche removal.
- Highway 2 in Montana. It’s not that this road is scary, it’s just in the middle of nowhere and it takes forever to get an ambulance to the wreck. Response times in rural areas can exceed 80 minutes while in New York City, 15 minutes is considered a long time. Highway 2 crosses the northern and most remote part of the state. Montana held onto its Wild Wild West ways until 1999, when it finally implemented a speed limit.
- I-95 in Connecticut. Not all of it, just an 8-mile section around the city of Norwalk. This little path accounts for 10% of all the interstate accidents in the state. Local congestion, curvy design, and poor sight lines are the reasons offered up by local officials.
- I-15 L.A. to Vegas. Over 8 million people drive over this 180 mile stretch each year. There are more fatalities on this route than any other in Nevada and AAA says that in at least half, the fatalities were not wearing seat belts. Drinking and distracted driving are also significant contributors to the excessive number of deaths.
Bad Drivers + Bad Roads = Cha Ching for Auto Repair Shops
Bad drivers and worse road conditions are a serious headache for anyone on the road, but the toll it takes on vehicles is a real cash cow for anyone working in the automotive aftermarket. Plus, the average age of vehicles on U.S. roads is at an all-time high (11.8 years).
If you live in an area plagued by bad roads, pay close attention to your car’s alignment. It’s not only an important key to your safety but also to the life of your tires. If your alignment is off, then it impacts the way your tires wear, which reduces the tire’s lifespan. One tire might begin to wear more than the others, which increases the chances of a flat or a blowout. Poor roads can wear on your vehicle’s suspension system too. If your car bounces or sways more than usual making it harder to control or steer, even at low speeds, then it’s time to get your suspension checked out by a trusted mechanic.
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