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Is Washington, D.C., home to the worst drivers in America?

September 1, 2011 |  5:35 pm

Drivers

Want to avoid a car accident? Here's a hint: Stay away from Washington, D.C.

According to Allstate Insurance Co.'s annual report on the 200 largest U.S. cities and how safe it is to drive in them, the nation's capital ranked at the bottom of the pile.  Drivers in D.C. are 107.3 % more likely to have a car accident as compared to the national average.

Overall, they ranked 193 on the Best Drivers Report (not 200, because some cities share a ranking). The surrounding areas didn't fare much better. Arlington, Va., ranked 180, and Alexandria, Va., ranked 184.

Some other places you might not want to drive -- as anyone who has encountered New Jersey drivers might expect -- are Elizabeth, N.J., ranked 181, and Jersey City comes in at 186. Those two cities in the Garden State received particuarly low rankings.

As for the safest cities in which to drive in America, the data suggest you might be more likely to find motorists checking rear-view mirrors, side-view mirrors and glancing over their shoulders before changing lanes in Fort Collins, Colo. That city was ranked as being the safest in which to drive. Boise, Idaho, was a close second, and Lincoln, Neb., came in third.

The authors of the report note that drivers in cities with populations over 1 million are significantly more likely to experience a collision, but of the bigger cities, Phoenix is where you're least likely to have a collision, followed by San Diego and then San Antonio, Texas.

Allstate determined these rankings by analyzing insurance claims received by the company.

"Internal property damage reported claims were analyzed over a two-year period (from January 2008 to December 2009) to ensure the findings would not be impacted by external influences such as weather or road construction," the company said in a release.

Of course, accident rates have a lot to do with weather, so dry cities such as Phoenix and San Diego would be expected to have lower crash rates than cities with unpleasantness such as rain and snow.

And D.C. defenders might point out, justifiably so, that the roads in the area were laid out before the American Revolution.

One note: The Allstate data exclude cities in Massachusetts.

Beep beep.

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--Deborah Netburn

Image: Drivers climb out of their cars to survey a traffic jam on 14th Street NW in Washington, D.C., after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake rattled the East Coast on Aug. 23. In this case, we can't (and won't!) blame the backed-up traffic on their poor driving skills. Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

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