Do you drive in one of the most dangerous cities in the United States? Outdoorsy, the RV rental site, recently completed a major study of the top ten most dangerous, and top 10 safest, cities in which to drive. They compiled information on traffic crashes, DUIs and drunk driving laws, and the quality of roads we are driving on to determine which cities present the biggest risk to drivers. RSG contributor Chonce Maddox-Rhea explains what Outdoorsy found and shares some tips on how drivers can stay safe while on the road.
As a rideshare driver or food delivery driver, where you work can play a significant role in how much you can earn but also how safe the roads are.
The bigger the city, the more opportunity for work, but there’s also a higher chance that it has more traffic, potentially confusing streets, pedestrian and cyclist interaction, and more. A recent Outdoorsy study rounded up the top 10 most dangerous cities for drivers in the U.S.
Prior to the pandemic, many people commuted to work. As many as 85% of Americans drove their vehicle to work every day and this clearly contributed to the traffic and congestion in these major cities. The number did decrease in 2020 and according to Outdoorsy even with the 14.5% decrease in miles driven in the first 9 months of the year, there was still a 4.6% increase in fatalities over that same time frame.
While these numbers are pretty shocking, I do believe it helps to focus on what we can control as individuals. Getting into a vehicle period can be a dangerous thing if you don’t follow certain protocols and guidelines. Below I’ll highlight the top 5 most dangerous cities to drive in as deemed by this study and also share some tips to help you create a safer experience on your end while rideshare driving.
- Some of the most dangerous cities are in the South – but California is on the list, too!
- How can you protect yourself? With appropriate auto insurance coverage, a reliable mapping app and outward-facing dash cam (to help your case if you get into an accident)
- More of our driver statistics articles can be found here: DoorDash Statistics, Instacart Statistics, Uber Statistics and Lyft Statistics
US Cities With Most Dangerous Drivers
1. Dallas, TX
Dallas is the nation’s 9th most populous city. With a population of over 1 million, the amount of traffic on the road can become very packed especially during rush hour time frames. The more drivers on the road, the more chance of an accident waiting to happen, unfortunately. Many interstates run through Dallas including I-20, I-35, I-635, I-45, and I-30.
A notable place where some of these expressways meet is the ‘high-five interchange’. This is located at the junction of US 75 and I-635. It opened in 2005 and stands about 12 stories tall. The interchange sees over 500,000 cars in total per day on its 37 different bridges. Dallas is a massive place with many motorists. Overall, 42.4% of the fatal collisions involve a drunk driver which is the highest of the top 5 most dangerous cities to drive.
As someone who recently returned from a trip to a Dallas area, I can say firsthand that while it’s a beautiful city, you do not want to be off your game when driving on the highways. Everything is well organized and taking the expressway can help you get to your desired destination fast, but you must plan out your trip ahead of time, especially if you’re new to the area. I’ve noticed that some of the merging ramps are quite short and like all major cities, traffic does build up quite a bit during rush hour times.
2. Baton Rouge, LA
Baton Rouge is one of the smaller cities on the list, with over 220,000 people living in the city. The rate of fatal crashes per 100,000 residents is 21.9, which is one of the highest on Outdoorsy’s top 5. The average number of years between a driver’s collision in Baton Rouge is 6.8, which is one of the lowest on Outdoorsy’s study. In this case, being lower is not good.
A 2014 study done by Nerd Wallet cites Baton Rouge’s annual automobile insurance around $2,600. While a 2021 article from Policy Genuis states the average US annual premium totals around $1,100.
Of course, there are many factors when it comes to automobile insurance premiums. Baton Rouge was a little on the high side according to that 2014 study. Higher premiums typically mean accidents and tickets are on the policyholder’s record.
Looking for more affordable auto insurance rates as a driver? Check out our rideshare insurance guide here.
3. San Bernardino, CA
The big hazard for rideshare drivers in San Bernardino is the potential for vehicle theft in the city. According to Neighborhood Scout, there are around 2,100 motor vehicle thefts per year and a motor vehicle theft rate of 1,007 per 100k people. Imagine jumping out of your car to deliver food and returning to an empty parking spot. This wouldn’t be good, so I think it’s worth the effort to turn your car off and take the keys even if you’re just making a quick drop-off during your shift – especially if you live in San Bernardino!
San Bernardino has over 215,00 people living in the city. If you love bigger cities, this might not be a bad place to be but again, more people pose the risk of more traffic and road issues. Madison.com ranks them as one of the top five cities with the highest car theft rates. Your best bet in San Bernardino is to have some anti-theft protection on your car, always lock it (even if you’re ‘just’ doing a short drop off), and keep an eye out when you park. If something doesn’t feel right, get out, make a loop around – keep yourself safe!
4. New Orleans, LA
New Orleans is a popular city to visit. Destination cities can bring good money to pocket if you’re transporting tourists or delivering some delicious NOLA cuisine. At its peak, a total of well over a million people would visit Mardi Gras sometime during the 2-week celebration. During this time and throughout the year biking is a popular way to get around.
New Orleans is actually number 5 (2.9% per capita) in the US for most bike commuters. Only 8.2 miles of bike lanes in New Orleans have dividers or some sort of protection in place. The city has over 100 miles of on and off-street routes for bikes to travel. Drivers have to be more cautious of their surroundings and look out for cyclists in New Orleans.
5. Atlanta, GA
Atlanta and its metro area have made multiple lists as one of the most dangerous places for drivers on a few different occasions, not just this list. A 2019 study by GasBuddy with data from the U.S. Census Bureau ranked Atlanta as one of the cities with the most aggressive drivers in the nation. This was found by tallying what they called an aggressive event including things like hard braking, speeding, and accelerating.
This same survey said that Atlanta drivers are 20% more aggressive than the average US driver out there. Atlanta has a population of over 500,000 people. 27% of crashes in the city involve a drunk driver.
How Drivers Can Stay Safe
If you’re driving in a ‘dangerous’ U.S. city according to this research, I wouldn’t worry too much. Even as newbies, our first time driving through Dallas on its multiple highways was not that bad once we got used to it.
It’s important to focus on what you can control when driving and realize that while the payout might be great, there are still some risks associated with driving in bigger cities.
Here are a few things drivers can do to protect themselves.
Make Sure You’re Properly Insured
Insurance is very important to have. Accidents can happen at any time you’re on the road. Both Uber and Lyft do offer insurance options through their platforms, but without supplemental auto insurance you won’t be completely covered during all phases of the trips you accept. For example, Uber and Lyft insurance may not cover you if you are waiting for a request and someone hits your car.
Coverage generally starts when you’re en route to a passenger or if they are already in your vehicle. It might be better to have another policy in place because Uber or Lyft won’t help until you pay the 1,000 or 2,500 deductible first.
If you have insurance through your auto insurance company you can save the difference between your deductible and Lyft’s deductible. You can find our top recommended rideshare insurance companies, plus compare rates, at our insurance guide.
Know Your City
If you’ve lived in an area for a while, you might have an idea of which parts of the town to avoid. I’ve been in taxis that try and take long routes to a destination just to get more money. Don’t go to that extent, but if you know alternate routes that are safer for you and your passenger, be sure to use them. If you know a route that avoids heavy traffic and you won’t lose much time taking it, use that too.
Knowing your city can also help you plan your schedule and driving hours accordingly. You may find it worth it to get up early before the morning traffic rush to get some trips under your belt or utilize slow times during the mid-day lunch hour.
Get a Dash Cam
Dash cams can be a huge benefit to any driver who decides to add one to their vehicle. Rideshare Guy contributor Scott highlighted four reasons why drivers need a dashcam. A few of those reasons are being able to catch bad behavior or potential sexual harassment allegations, but it could also come in handy if a driver gets in an accident. If you need to prove that an accident was not your fault, dash cam footage could be solid evidence.
Some are not cheap, but they could be well worth the extra protection. You can never be too safe especially when driving in some of the nation’s most dangerous cities for drivers. You can find our top rated dash cams for Uber and Lyft drivers here.
Drive or Deliver in Smaller Cities
Rideshare passengers are everywhere whether the city is super big or smaller. Food or grocery delivery is the same way. That said, you can probably make big bucks if you live in a large city, but don’t be afraid to switch it up and venture into nearby suburbs sometimes too. The whole pace might be a little slower and you can still expect to make a decent profit.
For example, while Dallas is a massive city, the Dallas area is just as big. There are several larger suburbs or cities nearby that you could work in and still be just as likely to secure lots of trips and deliveries. Test it out and see how your experience compares.
While it’s important to know which cities are more dangerous for drivers to work in, this shouldn’t deter you from venturing out and making money. Knowledge and awareness is everything and there are several things you can do on your end to protect yourself and your passengers.
Readers, do you live in one of the top 10 most dangerous cities for drivers? What do you think about this list – agree or disagree?
-Chonce @ RSG