D.C. Drivers Once Again Judged The Worst

Repeating results that we’ve seen before, D.C. drivers have once again been judged the worst in the country:

A report out Tuesday from Allstate Insurance Company named D.C. the least safe driving city in the entire country. The report, based on claims data from Allstate, ranked the top 200 largest cities in the country in terms of how frequently drivers get into accidents.

According to Allstate, the average D.C. driver has an accident every 4.8 years. For context, the national average is 10 years between accidents. Our neighbors to the north, Baltimore, came in second-to-last place, with those drivers getting in accidents once every 5.4 years on average.

Happily, I am above average as far as D.C. drivers go. The rest of you, though, are another story.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Neil Hudelson says:

    An average crash every 4.8 years? Average? That means half are having WAY more crashes. Is there someone getting in a crash twice a day?

  2. Pinky says:

    I marvel at how rarely there are accidents, considering the maneuvers that many drivers think of as run-of-the-mill. The DC specialty seems to be the multi-lane change.’

    Hey, if there’s a 2024 DC Olympics, the federal government will spend a few billion on road improvements before then, right? That’d make things a little better, although the drivers are more of a problem than the roads.

  3. al-Ameda says:

    DC is really busy, has, along with Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area , some the worst commute traffic and congestion in the country, so who can be surprised by this?

    I have to say that I’m disappointed that the Bay Area is not number one – although as a very high cost region we probably have a higher cost per accident than DC (I just know that there’s a silver lining in those Range Rover-Audi accidents.)

  4. inhumans99 says:

    @al-Ameda: I am often startled at how many accidents I witness on a weekly basis during my commute home from work (most of the accidents I drive-by are in the afternoon, around 4 pm). These are not minor fender benders, but full on call a tow truck, because the vehicle is probably considered totaled accidents (if you are curious, I see less accidents on 880, which I enter at Milpitas, and more along 237, which I enter from 101 in Mountain View).

    I grew up in Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley), so I know congestion and even as a non-driver for most of my life, can easily recognize bad driving habits. Most of the accidents I witness could be avoided if people just slowed the heck down (or maybe they are not speeding, but are on the phone, who knows)!

  5. al-Ameda says:

    I must be jaded, I’ve been commuting too long – there are so many near misses – must be due to the fact that commuters are on alert all the time. Motorcyclists routinely rocket between cars going 65-80 mph.

    Highway 101 on the Peninsula is a zoo – merging to get to SFO, or to take 92, or one of the Palo Alto-Mountain View exits – it’s always a food fight. 280, from Sand Hill up to South City, is very fast, however once you get to San Francisco, all bets are off. In the case of 880 (the eastshore from Carquinez down to Fremont or so) people already have the lowest possible expectations, so it’s always better than the toilet we’ve come to expect. 101 in Marin up to Sonoma County is extremely underrated as a bad commute (it’s far worse than many people expect.)

    I’m of the opinion that the Bay Area’s highway-freeway system is quite often very close to capacity, and it does not take much for it to go septic.

  6. roger says:

    Regarding a possible 2024 DC Olympics, I’ve heard predictions that driverless cars should be in use by then. That should help…hopefully.

  7. Pinky says:

    @roger: DC has a lot of cell phone talkers and texters, making the vehicles functionally driverless. I wonder though, how many of the people staring at a little portable unit are visitors using a GPS? I’m convinced that those things aren’t any safer than phones while you’re driving.

  8. DC Loser says:

    We are all above average 🙂

  9. Rob in CT says:

    DC has some of the worst roads/congestion, so duh.

    Other places that can be a nightmare to drive around: Boston, MA (though the Big Deal completion has helped some), the obvious bits of Cali, NYC (in my opinion, driving in Queens should be its own circle of hell).

  10. John Burgess says:

    I think every region develops its own bad habits, but the people living there get used to them and know how to avoid accidents. Things like pulling into traffic blindly, left-turns from the middle lane, cutting corners short on left-turns, skipping through stop signs…

    In DC, you get everybody’s regional quirk — plus those from overseas, what with it being the capital and all — and nobody’s prepared to deal with all of them.

    Add in bad road surfaces, bad signage, the cell phones (as already mentioned), and an incredible level of self-importance on the part of most DC-area residents, and it’s a miracle that everyone doesn’t have an accident twice a day.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:


    I wonder though, how many of the people staring at a little portable unit are visitors using a GPS?

    HA! A few weeks ago went to visit my sis in MSP (whose roads are a spaghetti of major freeways that go from limited access to full access at any point). My wife is a big fan of those things (she still can’t find the North Star) while I (old school caver) think I can find anyplace with a map and a compass (and pretty much can). Anyway she was running the program on her ipad and it was helping… Until she said, “Look at this!” for the third time as I was trying to thread some heavy traffic that follows rules of the road I don’t know.

    OK, I snapped at her, my fault, and she said “That was uncalled for!” and I replied, “Honey, what was uncalled for was somebody telling me to take my eyes off the road in this kind of traffic!”

    I’d like to say that she said, “Yeah, your right.” but I can’t, instead I got the silent treatment for the next hour or so which was just as good as an admission of guilt.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Oh yeah, and I forgot the best part about MSP roads: They are ALL under construction at some point during the summer months which is the only time they can work on them. So you have detours too.

  13. Mikey says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Sounds like Michigan, where I grew up–we always said “Michigan has two seasons: winter and construction.”

    What’s the state tree of Michigan? The orange barrel. (Alternatively, “the orange road pylon.”)

    The worst place I’ve ever driven was Kuwait City. DC is a relaxed drive on country roads by comparison.

  14. Pinky says:

    @Mikey: My guess, in the 1980’s there were more people trying to kill you in the bad parts of DC than in the bad parts of Kuwait City. Then there would have been a few months where the tables were turned – but that may have been around the time you were in Kuwait City, or headed there.

  15. roger says:

    This past weekend, we drove up to the Woodbury Outlet Mall in Central Valley, NY.

    In hindsight, driving from PA, we should have taken a different route instead of I-80 through I-287/RT 117. Nasty congestion on very worn roads.

    Reminded me of when I made the mistake of driving down the DC Beltway one Friday rush hour a few years back.

  16. grumpy realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Sort of like the description of roads in Cambridge, MA: “124 miles of road, 122 of which are torn up at any one time.”

    And it looks like here out in Illinois we’re getting the equivalent of loafing-around-for-six-days-and-then-pulling-an-all-nighter version of construction. Nothin’ all summer, and now I-57 is patch after patch of orange cones. (I think there is an unwritten law in Illinois that says Thou Shalt Have Construction Near Kankakee. They were working on stuff when I was here as a grad student back in the ’80s, they’re still working on stuff now.)

  17. Craigo says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Average, without a qualifier, generally indicates the mean, not the median.