Atlanta, GA

Research Proves Atlanta Doesn’t Have Absolute Worst Drivers in U.S. After All

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

Analysts have evaluated which U.S. cities have the best and worst drivers and Atlanta's not at the bottom for 2021.
Atlanta drivers are not the worst in nation despite having the reputation for being soRaysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine

As cities reopen this year, many of us are eager for our lives to get back to normal after a year of social distancing, isolations and closings. We are starting to see restaurants, bars, clubs, gyms, hair salons and other places we had once taken for granted reopen, and many cities have rescheduled concerts, festivals and other large in-person gatherings which we were forced to live without over the previous 15 months.

There’s at least one part of pre-pandemic life that most people, if asked, will say they did not miss that is also starting to reappear. That is traffic and other driving related announces, including the behavior of others who are behind the wheel. According to the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, car traffic has definitely been increasing this year and in some cases traffic and other driving headaches have even begun to exceed pre-pandemic levels. Perhaps due to “cabin fever,” it seems that everyone wants to go somewhere and the way most are are getting there is by car.

While it’s exciting that there are places to go again, driving to get to them is not always pain-free. The need to share the road with drivers who ignore the rules of civil traffic conduct can be downright stressful. In some cities, these badly behaved drivers are more common than in others.

Anyone who has driven in Atlanta will understand how frustrating it can be. Over time, “rush hour,” has come to stretch from about 6:00 in the morning to 11:00am, lunch time rush hour runs from around 11:30 to 2:30 and the evening rush hour starts at 4:00pm to and continues until at least 7:30pm and often later. In 2018, INRIX, a transportation analytics company, rated Atlanta the fourth-worst city in the country for traffic. For people who live there, about 108 hours is spent in traffic jams each year. Traffic leads to a bunch of safety issues, such as:

  • Stop and start traffic which significantly increases the risk of rear-end accidents
  • Distracted driving due to so much time spent in traffic as with 108 hours drivers are more likely to participate in driving habits such as cell phone usage, creating lists for errands or even reading
  • Atlanta drivers enjoy driving fast and putting that together with busy roadways increases the likelihood of accidents or aggressive driving when someone gets in the way.
  • Aggressive driving is a big problem in Atlanta with numerous traffic delays increasing stress and frustration which can lead to angry or aggressive driving episodes
  • It’s not unusual in Atlanta for drivers to violate traffic rules to make up time when driving in heavy traffic, if they think they won’t get caught by the police for doing so. These included running red lights, or going through a red light before it changes if no one is coming in the other direction, rolling stops at stop signs, and driving on the shoulder of the road to get around other cars are all common in the metro area.
  • When in traffic, Atlanta drivers often stay right on the bumper of the car in front, refusing to let others in. This also can increase rear end collisions and aggressive drivers from those who have waited a long time to merge and may have people honking behind them

Because of this, Atlanta has been referred to as having the worst drivers in the country. But a new study shows that’s not the case and actually to the contrary.

Analysts from QuoteWizard a site that allows you to compare insurance quotes from different companies, have annually evaluated which U.S. cities have the best and worst drivers.

They evaluate two million car insurance quotes from drivers in America’s 70 largest cities. Cities are ranked on four factors to determine overall driver quality. Those factors include:

  • Accidents
  • Speeding Tickets and Moving Violations
  • DUI’s
  • Citations for such things as running a red light and using a cellphone while driving

Cities that have the greatest number of dangerous driving episodes were rated among the worst, while cities with the lowest number of dangerous driving episodes are rated as the best.

Cities in the U.S. with the Worst Drivers

For 2021, Atlanta did not receive the dubious distinction of being one of the 35 cities with the worst drivers. The top ten cities on the list are:

1) Omaha, NE

2) Riverside, CA

3) Bakersfield, CA

4) Columbus, OH

5) Richmond, VA

6) Fresno, CA

7) Sacramento, CA

8) Salt Lake City, UT

9) Austin, TX

10) Baltimore, MD

After a three-year absence, Omaha, NE has is once again ranked the city with the worst drivers in the country. Omaha had more DUIs than any other city and ranked in the top 15 in every dangerous driving category. They were also ranked in first place for DUI’s.

Cities in the U.S. with the Best Drivers

Now take a look at the cities with the best drivers in the U.S. Those of you who are convinced that Atlanta should have shown up in the rankings above may want to sit down before reading this. The top 10 cities for best drivers in the U.S. are:

1) Birmingham, AL

2) St. Louis, MO

3) Little Rock, AR

4) New Orleans, LA

5) Memphis, TN

6) Louisville, KY

7) Detroit, MI

8) Atlanta, GA

9) Baton Rouge, LA

10) Grand Rapids, MI

Drivers in Birmingham AL like to take things at a more relaxed pace. Drivers in Birmingham had fewer speeding tickets and driving citations than any other city. That safe-driving culture is also why the city ranks low in their numbers of DUIs and accidents. After all, when you’re in Birmingham, you prefer to take it slow so you can appreciate the magic of the “Magic City.”

If after reading through the entire list, you think your eyes need to be checked, rest assured. Yes, Atlanta does appear ranked at number 8 for best drivers! And that’s not all. Atlanta came in third for cities with the least number of speeders (Chicago had the most), and fourth for cities with the least number of citations, (Philadelphia had the most).

So next time you’re stuck in an Atlanta traffic jam because they’ve blinded you with their high beams or have taken up two parking spots at a packed mall, or they are obliviously driving about 10 miles an hour in the left lane just remember: You could be in Omaha!

This is original content written by Natalie Frank for NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.

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Chicago, IL

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