Special Report

Most Dangerous Cities for Driving

During the Covid-19 pandemic, American motorists have decreased their amount of driving precipitously as they worked remotely instead of commuting and stayed at home instead of going out to restaurants, shows, and sporting events. Counterintuitively, however, that has not resulted in safer roads. Here’s more on the impact of COVID-19 on traffic in America’s largest cities.

Unfortunately, the pandemic and the resulting economic dislocations and stay-at-home orders have been accompanied by a sharp increase in risky driving and fatal crashes,” wrote the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in January, in ”An Open Letter to the Driving Public.”

Before 2020, driving was already risky enough. In 2019, road accidents killed more than 36,000 people in the U.S. and injured more than 2.7 million, according to NHTSA.

Preliminary data for 2020, the agency said, suggests a sharp increase in risky behavior behind the wheel and more fatal crashes. People were driving faster in select metropolitan areas, were driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol, and were not wearing seat belts. (In April of last year, double the usual number of people were thrown from their vehicles during crashes.)

Some U.S. cities are more perilous than others. In addition to differences in driver behavior, this may be due to the fact that speed limits and other traffic safety laws vary from state to state, and the fact that road maintenance is better in some places than others. These are America’s 50 worst cities to drive in.

This ranking of America’s most dangerous cities for drivers as of 2019 is based on information collated from both governmental and private sources by the RV rental company Outdoorsy.

Click here to see the most dangerous cities for driving.

Researchers from Outdoorsy, an RV rental company, analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey, and Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report 2019. Outdoorsy created a composite index, combining relative likelihood of a collision, total motor vehicle fatalities, and share of fatal collisions involving a drunk driver. Only major American cities with data available from all three data sources were included, and in the event of a tie, the city with the longest period between collisions ranked better.

Two states did rank particularly poorly: Texas, with eight places on the list, and California, with five. There’s no reason to think that final statistics from 2020 will look any better.