This is Washington’s third consecutive year coming in last place (#200 out of 200), behind our neighbor to the North, Baltimore, Maryland; nortoriously troubled with traffic’s Los Angeles, California; and beat downtown Newark, New Jersey. Cue the pearl clenching!
Given the state of D.C. area traffic — conditions that a national traffic survey called the worst congestion in the nation and that a Washington Post poll showed pushes more than a third of drivers to “wild rage” — the Allstate study isn’t exactly a shocker. The reportsays that D.C. drivers are the worst when it comes to avoiding accidents, averaging one accident approximately every 4.8 years. On the other hand, the average driver in Fort Collins, Colo., which was named the safest driving city, has a car accident every 14 years, on average.
“We don’t want drivers in Washington, D.C. to be discouraged by their ranking. Instead, we want the report to challenge drivers in Washington, D.C. to make positive changes to their driving habits that will in turn make the city a safer place to live, work and raise families,” said Dave Prendergast, Allstate Field Senior Vice President.
— Minimize distractions: Engaging in any other activity while driving — talking on your cellphone, text messaging, changing a radio station, putting on makeup — is a distraction.
— Be aware of road conditions: Ice, snow, fog, rain — all of these weather conditions require extra caution and slower speeds.
— Leave a safe distance between your car and others around you: Maintain at least one car length space between your car and the vehicle in front of you for every 10 mph of speed.
— Steer clear of road rage: Reduce stress on the road by allowing plenty of time for travel, planning your route in advance and altering your schedule or route to avoid congested roads. Remember not to challenge aggressive drivers and stay as far away from them as possible.
— Maintenance matters: Ultimately, safety also depends on the maintenance of your car. Ensure that your car brakes, exhaust system, tires, lights, battery and hoses are in good working order.
Perhaps 2012 wil be our year to break out of last place, but until then buckle up, keep your eye on the road and maybe wear a helmet!