Traffic congestion is no surprise to Chicagoans and even those visiting Chicago. But what many people do not know is how bad Chicago drivers rank on a national scale. In a recent Allstate ranking of best drivers from 200 U.S. cities, Chicago sits well into the bottom half – 133, to be precise.
That is nearly 60 spots lower than Indianapolis (75) and over 70 spots lower than Milwaukee (61). Some surrounding Illinois cities—like Aurora at 60—rank higher. But Chicago’s years between driver claims and “hard-braking events” has them well below the national average.
Once about every 8 years a Chicago driver will have to file a claim for an accident. And they will experience nearly 29 hard-braking events for every 1,000 miles driven. This is not to say that all Chicago drivers are bad. In fact, many are polite and courteous. But it does mean that your chances of involvement in an accident are greatly increased for driving in Chicago.
Poor road planning, construction and other external factors can affect a driver’s chances of winding up in an accident at no fault of their own. But there are several things drivers can do to improve driving and increase their average years between claims.
Patience is key. While not every accident is avoidable, many are the result of impatient drivers who pass vehicles when it isn’t safe or tailgate slower motorists. If you are regularly late to your meetings or social events, consider planning further ahead. You can also check current traffic conditions online and potentially avoid taking a slower route.
It may seem obvious but following the basic rules of the road may propel this great city to a safer place. When we are frustrated or in a hurry, we are less likely to consider the common laws and courtesies we learned when we first began driving. Sticking to the basics like keeping your eyes on the road, driving the speed limit and using turn signals and proper headlights can make a difference in keeping you and those around you safe. And, of course, staying clear of drugs and alcohol prior to operating a vehicle will also help.
Driver and safety rankings provide Chicagoans an opportunity to see where they are on a national scale and make the changes necessary to create safer roads for our families.