If you’ve ever gone on a road trip, you may have noticed that driving styles and quality vary from city to city. New Yorkers are notorious for horn honking and tailgating. Miami drivers are renowned for ignoring the turn signal. Portlanders are famously slow and polite behind the wheel. Los Angeles drivers are more prone to road rage than the rest of the country.
QuoteWizard, an online company that compares insurance rates for consumers, looked at the nation’s largest metropolitan areas and ranked them from worst to best. The company used more than two million data points from 2016 in its analysis of the “Best and Worst Drivers By City,” according to four categories: accidents, speeding tickets, driving under the influence and other traffic citations.
Seven California cities made the list – the most of any state.
According to the report, Sacramento came in first because it has the highest rate of traffic citations in the country. Sacramento drivers also came in close to the top for accidents and DUIs.
As for other California cities, the analysis found that Riverside drivers rank as the third-worst drivers in the United States, while San Diegans came in fifth, followed by Los Angeles motorists in sixth. Bakersfield drivers rounded out the top 10. Drivers from the Bay Area came in 13th and Fresno motorists ranked 15th.
So, what does this mean to us Californians? Unfortunately, it would mean we are more prone to accidents and injuries, if not death.
How do we avoid becoming a statistic in a traffic accident?
We all encounter drivers who run red lights and stop signs, drive too fast and commit unsafe driving moves such as texting while driving, eating, drinking and more. The best way drivers can protect themselves and lower their risk of being in a crash is to learn to be a defensive driver.
Being a responsible driver is more than just following the rules of the road – it’s also being aware of others around you and your environment.
Protect yourself with these defensive driving tips from the CHP and the Nemours Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports several health initiatives:
- Stay focused. Think about road conditions, your speed and position, observing traffic laws, signs and signals, following directions, and being aware of the vehicles around you. Staying focused on driving – and only driving – is critical. Distractions like talking on a cellphone or eating while driving make a driver less able to see potential problems and react to them.
- Stay alert. Being alert – not sleepy or under the influence – allows a driver to react quickly to potential problems, like when the driver in the car ahead slams on the brakes. Alcohol and drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, affect a driver’s reaction time and judgment.
- Watch out for others. Be aware of other drivers and check your mirrors. Anticipate what other drivers or pedestrians might do and make the appropriate adjustments, if needed. If a vehicle is showing signs of aggressive or reckless driving, slow down or pull over.
- Think safety first. Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you. Always lock your doors and wear your seat belt to prevent you from being thrown from your vehicle in a crash.
- Have an escape route. Position your vehicle so that you leave yourself a place to move if your immediate path of travel is blocked. Leave some space between your car and other vehicles in front of you and on the sides.
- Follow the 3-to 4-second rule. The 3-to 4-second rule helps establish and maintain a safe following distance and provides adequate time to stop to avoid a crash with the vehicle in front of you.
- Don’t speed. Posted speed limits apply to ideal conditions, so follow the limits and drive safely for road and weather conditions. The faster you drive, the harder it is to control your vehicle if there is a hazard.
- Practice driving with the high visual horizon. Many drivers only look as far as the bumper of the car in front of them and they don’t look further ahead. You want to be able to look past wherever you are driving for hazards.
- Take a class. Finally, the National Safety Council, the Automobile Club of Southern California and some driving schools are among the organizations that offer defensive driving courses. Some courses are online and there are driving courses just for teens and senior citizens. The CHP offers a “Start Smart” program for new drivers that focus on dangers and safe driving. Contact your nearest CHP office to learn more.
Have a serious injury and need legal advice? Contact Howard Blau.
Please Be Sure to Read the Following References:
“Calif. Drivers Among Worst In Country: Report.” Agoura Hills Patch. Retrieved 5 July 2017. https://patch.com/california/agourahills/s/g63jy/calif-drivers-among-worst-in-country-report
“The Best and Worst Drivers by City.” QuoteWizard Insurance News. Retrieved 5 July 2017. https://quotewizard.com/news/posts/the-best-and-worst-drivers-by-city
“How to Stay Safe on the Road this July Fourth.” QuoteWizard Insurance News. Retrieved 5 July 2017. https://quotewizard.com/news/posts/how-to-stay-safe-on-the-road-this-july-fourth
“ON THE ROAD: How to stay safe? Drive defensively.” The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved 5 July 2017. http://www.pe.com/2016/02/28/on-the-road-how-to-stay-safe-drive-defensively/