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Just How Bad Are Drivers in Columbus?

Walker Evans Walker Evans Just How Bad Are Drivers in Columbus?Photo by Walker Evans.
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If you’re out traveling around the city this summer, there’s a likelihood you’re going to encounter some traffic, an accident or just some terrible driving in general. Perhaps you’ll shake your fist at the sky and exclaim “Drivers in Columbus are the worst!” But if you’ve ever wondered if that claim holds water, now there’s an official answer.

A new report from Allstate Insurance ranks the top 200 US cities on driving behaviors, and Columbus lands pretty close to the middle in 121st place. That’s certainly nowhere near the best in the country (Brownsville, Texas) but also pretty far from being the worst (Boston).

“The Best Drivers Report spotlights America’s safest cities as we continue to heighten awareness around increasing roadway collisions that have unfortunate consequences, such as rising fatalities and potentially higher insurance costs,” said Glenn Shapiro, executive vice president of claims at Allstate.

The report gives cities a score based on behavior-specific criteria including average years between crashes and collision likelihood, but also factors in two big external factors: city population density and annual precipitation — both rain and snow.

As far as the rest of Ohio goes, Toledo is the best city for drivers in the state, landing in 51st place, with Cleveland close behind in 68th. Cincinnati is much further down the list in 160th place.

To view the full report list, visit www.allstate.com (PDF).

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  • Ryan Swank

    Safe does not necessarily equate to good. Especially the metrics the insurance industry uses. Check out what is factored into determining discounts for the “safe driver big brother fob.” Dings for rapid deceleration encourage running yellows/reds. Dings for fast acceleration encourage long waits to pull out on busy streets leading to angry drivers behind in the queue or worse, encouraging a slower than safe pull out into the traffic increasing danger of collision.

  • Revive hip hop

    I thought the drivers in Southern California were bad then I moved to Columbus. This city has by far the worst drivers I have EVER experienced. I wondered why my insurance went up when I moved here and I quickly understood why!

  • SteveKZ087

    I have worked in DC, New York, Chicago, and lived for a few years in Boston. Columbus drivers are comparatively far and away the most erratic, unpredictable, unsafe, inattentive, and generally maddening drivers I’ve ever seen in my life. Literally not a single day goes by where someone doesn’t pull out in front of me, nearly sideswipe me, or enter the highway and immediately cross-block multiple cars on their way to the passing lane where they stagnantly cruise at the speed limit or below. I have no idea what the solution is, but the problem is an absolute pandemic.

    • Sam

      I thought this too, then I went to Nashville. They have all the same traits as here plus aggression. They do the same crap as here, but do so intentionally and aggressively.

      • JakeNic

        Just last week I drove across Tennessee for the first time. I consider myself a safe, albeit fairly fast driver. I don’t mess around, but also try to always make my intentions clear, exercise defensive driving by expecting everybody else to do something silly, etc. And it seems to be working for me as I’ve not had an accident or anything in ohh, 20 years. (knock, knock, knock)

        But driving through Tennessee and especially around Nashville, holy cow, white knuckles all the way!!!

    • Rick Clapp

      For a daily fantasy to enjoy, imagine a Colorado snow plow with those huge blades set to run around 270 on automatic set for 65 in the fast lane. Anyone not doing would be flipped off of 270. Makes for a nice fantasy for commuting time… LOL

  • Columbus drivers aren’t that bad in fair weather. When it rains, some people seem to forget how to drive.

  • neroden

    Why does Boston being worst not surprise me. (Worcester, near Boston, is second-worst; Springfiled is fifth-worst) Boston drivers have a REPUTATION.

    Baltimore and Washington DC (third-worst and second-worst) do surprise me, but they probably shouldn’t. I’ve been very, very uncomfortable in taxis in both cities due to erratic weaving and dangerous passing.

    • Rick Clapp

      If Boston got any worse, there would be a helmet law – for the car drivers.. !!

    • Sam

      There’s a reason Boston drivers are called Massholes!

  • stanley68

    No matter what city I’m in – I seem to be the only one that still thinks the left lane is the passing lane!! ugh…

    • Rick Clapp

      I see the three lanes as Fast ( at least 5 over), middle is at least the speed limit and far right, the slow lane and sub speed limit people.

  • X.

    As someone who travels all over the country for work, I am comfortable with the study’s assessment that Columbus is as middle-of-the-road (ugh) as it gets, but not for reasons of safety alone. The South and many cities surrounded by rural expanse are filled with passive slow-movers, East Coast cities are overly aggressive but much more efficient in low-congestion areas. West Coast drivers tend to work more cooperatively, zipping and unzipping with ease. Seattle is the most sensible, I think. East Coast drivers have the driving skill, but as each individual screws over as many people as possible to keep cars from “getting the better of them,” the emergent pattern becomes more congested. Everyone in every city thinks their drivers are the worst. Sorry, Columbusites, you’re just going to have to settle for mediocre again.

  • Jerry

    The west side has the worst in Columbus.

  • Rick Clapp

    I am not sure most Columbus Drivers even know HOW to turn on a turn signal. With no warning at all many will swerve right in front of you with no warning. And guess who gets the ticket when you hit them. Ohio law is badly written so the person in back is pretty much always at fault – no matter who really causes it. It needs rewritten so the cops can nail the real idiot in a mess.

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