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Report: Arlington Drivers Among Country’s Worst

by Katie Pyzyk August 29, 2012 at 2:20 pm 7,604 75 Comments

Arlington drivers are bad and getting worse, according to a new insurance company report.

Allstate released its annual “America’s Best Drivers Report,” which ranks the country’s 200 largest cities in terms of frequency of car collisions. The report is based on Allstate claims data.

Arlington ranked 12th on the worst drivers side, coming in at 53% more likely than the national average to be involved in a collision. That’s up from 14th worst in 2011 and 20th in 2010.

Some surrounding areas fared even worse, with Washington, D.C. topping the worst drivers list, Baltimore coming in second and Alexandria ranking at number seven.

The full “worst drivers” list can be found on Forbes.

File photo

  • novasteve

    Too bad they didn’t also see what % of the transmissions were automatics.

    • JamesE

      I drive a manual and accident free

      • Tre

        Cookies. Get these men some cookies.

  • SomeGuy

    Hat tip to SomeGuy for mentioning it 10 minutes prior to this story’s publication.

    • WeiQiang

      Kudos, SG! Brilliant!

      • SomeGuy

        Thanks. I just like to give back to the community site that so dutifully moderates me.

        Let the statistically insignificant anecdotes about local drivers commence!

        • WeiQiang

          Well, let me be the first to confirm that people in YOUR neighborhood drive like shiz and all the drivers in my neighborhood don’t.

          There was that one time at the intersection of …

  • Great

    Can’t wait for my insurance premiums to go up because of this report.

  • Bicyclist

    What a surprise!

    • drax

      It’s your fault they drive bad though.

  • South Side Chris

    Sounds about right. Got rear ended on the Shirlington on ramp to 395 north on August 1 and only just now getting it fixed because both Pohanka and Arlington Collision were completely backed up. I’m in the wrong the business.

  • nom de guerre

    I’m guessing the ratings have something to do with the large number of cars with automatic transmissions in the DC area.

  • Corey

    “Frequency of car collisions” does not equal “worst drivers”.

    • Observer

      What explains it then?

      • Rich

        Constant (and confusing) merges?

        • Clarendong

          constant and confusing merges … isn’t that what happens at closing time at the Ballroom?

          • Clarendon Skank

            Let’s meet up and find out.

        • drax

          More congested traffic could be the cause.

          • Robert A Buoy

            Then they are bad drivers for getting too close. No matter what, barring some mechanical problem, it takes a misjudgement by a driver to create an accident.

      • Corey

        Umm…a greater density of people and vehicles seems much more likely given the “safest” cities on the list are also the smallest and most rural. I don’t know, any number of things could explain it.

      • Chris Slatt

        We’re all stuck driving on roads with terrible Maryland Drivers? 😉

      • Zelora

        Egocentricity explains it here. Everyone who lives here thinks s/he is better than you, yes YOU are, and deserves Royal Right-of-Way!
        Except, maybe, um, you. And me.

        • drax

          Not me. I’m better than all those idiots who think they’re better than everyone else.

      • Georgia Sam

        Ever drive Wilson Blvd in rush hour? It’s like an obstacle course. You would have to have eyes in the front, back, & both sides of your head to keep track of everything that might hit you. Add all the dumb tricks by drivers & pedestrians, & it’s a wonder that there aren’t a lot more collisions.

    • Juanita de Talmas

      Especially when Maryland is the next state over.

    • Ryan

      I agree, that is a sloppy way to characterize the findings. I’m sure the design of the roads have more of an impact than the actual skill of the drivers.

      • ChrisS

        Blame government!

  • B22201

    I don’t even fully understand how people run into Rhodeside. I’ve seen it more than once.

    • novasteve

      Automatic transmissions enable incompetent drivers to do incompetent things.

    • WeiQiang

      Cirrusly … that’s not an intersection with difficult geometry.

    • Hank

      I don’t know… I think the two cars that drove directly into Rhodeside’s front door/bay window two winters ago were operated by people who really just wanted to get the best seat. Or they proactive about creating a drive-thru service. Either way, I don’t think these incidents were accidents and we should applaud them for their entrepreneurial spirits.

  • DarkHeart
  • Pedestrian

    I think the rating is due to the incredibly high percentage of Type-A smartphone users who think they are so important they can text and check messages while they drive.

    • veeta

      I’m not surprised by this at all. This community is full of entitled drivers who think they can drive as fast as they want to, ram through a crosswalk (as a driver did at Highland and Wilson yesterday, blocking the lane), stop in the middle of the road to let passengers out, and NEVER give one thought to using a turning signal.

      • John K.

        Or as slow, or as focused on texting, or as not-passing-on-the left as they want… this county (as well as the larger metropolitan area) if full of awful drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists… [I’m not one of them… ever. Of course.]) Courteousness and attentiveness is dying.

  • bemused bystander

    Where is the news in this report?

  • Suburban Not Urban

    My vote is the increasing use of pedestrians and bicycles as traffic calming measures. Narrowing roads, mid-block un-lighted cross walks and failure to create good sight lines at intersections and reaction space between park cars and traffic.

  • K22206

    I almost got side-swiped yesterday on Army Navy Dr. when a lady’s lane ended and she just casually swerved into mine, without looking. She was, of course, jabbing away on her phone, but did have the nerve to shoot ME a dirty look. She then proceeded to almost rear end the car in front of her three times when they stopped for someone turning left, but stayed on the phone the entire time.

    I blame cell phones and arrogance. “Those cell phone rules don’t apply to me – I’m far too good of a driver to be distracted by phone calls/texting/checking email.”

    • b0rk

      +1,000 People need to go back to basic driving school and re-learn the rules of operation. I’ve said this many times, but there needs to be a re-certification every 10 years for drivers that gets increasingly difficult. You should be mastering this skill over the time on the road, not getting worse because you make up laws and can’t merge correctly.

      • nom de guerre

        Do you mean mastering the skill of talking on the phone/texting/checking email while driving?

        • Cookie



  • Ryan

    So they don’t give many details on methodology, but it sounds like it means crashes that occur in Arlington, not crashes involving Arlingtonians. That means it includes Maryland drivers.

    It also doesn’t take into account that Arlington has more traffic than other cities it’s size due to it’s location. Drivers from the outer suburbs heading into DC have to drive through Arlington every day.

    • Ed

      Right. And DC was the worst on the list. Which must include some Arlington drivers.

  • Sri

    A worst driver in Antarctica is better than a good driver in Arlington.

  • Alex

    I can definitely believe this statistic. *sigh*

  • Becoming indifferent

    No surprise–I was almost run over for the millionth time by some soccer mom in minivan while on a phone as I walked to work this morning. And yes I was in a crosswalk, and yes I had the light–at the intersection of North Barton and Clarendon.

    • Louise

      Yes! They are the worst!

  • What about all the dump trucks…. Can’t go down a street without finding them in front, behind, and beside you. No wonder that the drivers are losing it.

  • brendan

    a couple things to note… In addition to the density issues, the area is highly transient, so you have a lot of people moving here that most likely haven’t driven in such bad traffic. Additionally, I’d guess the DC area has an unusually high number of tourists that drive instead of fly or bus in. All that combined with crowded roads, outdated traffic patterns and a web of connections and turns to get anywhere. Have been to nearly every mid to major US city and few, if any, are nearly as complicated to get around during rush hour as the DC area, requiring multiple high speed and stop and go merges. (St. Louis is tough, tho only because they neglect to post signs)

    Then as others have mentioned, we are an entitled bunch… viewing ourselves as having priority and rushing everywhere while emailing and what have you. That and there are just a number of incompetent and crappy drivers. Few things are more upsetting than seeing someone in a Mercedes c63 not be able to accelerate into a merge. 🙂

    • GreatRosslynDriver

      But I AM a Very Important Person. I should get priority.

  • Novanglus

    The headline calling us bad drivers is misleading. The data is based on location of the accident, not the residence of the at-fault driver.

    Here’s a study that ranks state residents based on driver safety knowledge:

    DC is worst in the nation and Maryland is 49th, but Virginia is average. Alexandria and Arlington have a lot of accidents because of our proximity to DC and Maryland, not because we’re bad drivers.

  • gnushell

    I guess I’m the exception to the rule and report. I learned to drive in Montgomery County Maryland, and have only driven manual transmissions since 1975. And I’ve never had nor caused an accident, EVER! Almost everyone who rides with me says what a good driver I am.

    Perhaps I’m in the wrong business too? Is it time to start a driving school?

  • Maggie

    It’s based on only Allstate’s claims. I’d be more interested in stats from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

    • IIHS

      “for” not “of”

  • James

    The majority of VA drivers are horrible….do you all even know what a merge/acceleration lane is?

    Didn’t they teach you this in driver’s ed?

    • gnushell

      I can’t tell you how many times I’m behind some clown who enters a highway in VA going 25-35 mph.

      • that’s what she said

        This. There’s a special place in hell for people who apply brakes on an on-ramp to an interstate when the road ahead is clear. But it happens all the time around here.

        • drax

          I hate the jerks who merge from behind you and cut you off. Be patient.

  • Robert

    It’s Obama’s fault. May as well add it to the list.

  • Jason S.

    Arlington civil engineering is comparable to what one would find in a third world country. The street layouts are terrible, the light timing and positions are horrendous, and frankly the county is run by fools. I don’t think the drivers are tops around here, but with the idiots the voters put into office, nobody should expect a well run county.

    • drax

      The county consistently gets unusually high satisfaction ratings from its residents. You’re a small minority.

      • ChrisS

        But the bad roads are causing accidents!

        • drax

          The street layout is terrible because it was never planned. Like most suburbs, it was just thrown up peicemeal.

          • MikeQuick

            Plenty of planning went into the streets, what are you talking about? Actually the system seems quite regular when you compare it to place like Fairfax County.

            The grid system with alpha / numbers means you can easily get a general sense of where an address is in the county. Most streets are also straight. That is all because of the planning. This is not the western Chicago area were it’s completely flat and everything gets layed out perfect, but it’s a far cry better than trying to find 14550 Quail Cannon Road in Fairfax without a USGS mapping crew.

  • dumpbox

    I can’t believe no one has made the obvious step of connecting this story to the new school busing policy. Great combo: little kids, no sidewalks in many neighborhoods and terrible drivers.

  • The Bible

    “I was expecting the streetcar to swerve first.”

  • Westover

    All transplants to the area should be required to take a driving in the DC area class, 20 hours classroom/20 hours behind the wheel.

    • You got that right. Also, I don’t know that last time I have seen someone use their turn sign to change lanes.

  • George

    Driving should only be a privilege afforded to a specific class who are proven to be effective to preserving the environment. All others should be required to transit via public transportation. Just this small change would eliminate the vast majority of accidents.

    • cyclist

      I’ll wave to you as a ride past you.

  • YTK


    ONLY 15TH WORSE????

  • Leah K.

    I”ve always said this. I’ve lived in a lot of cities in the US and the DC Metro area is definitely full of sh–ty drivers.

    • Westover

      All of you from those other cities show up here and bring your crappy unpreditable driving habits and norms with you.

  • HenryBennetXIII

    Good thing we are car free.

    I would suggest that part of our problem is bad road design courtesy of Wayne Wentz and his predecessors …. exhibit A ‘improvements’ to Lee Hey and George Mason intersection.

    I would then suggest that another part of our problemis the social engineering of traffic calming which is just pissing people off with humpty dumpty here and no turn there which make sense to no one but a roque civic association muckity muck and a brow beat traffic engineer.

  • PerksGal28

    I still cannot understand how so many cars leave the lot without working turn signals. Someone should look into that, seems like a QC issue with the car manufacturers. Too many drivers take a “Jesus take the wheel” approach to driving…it can be terrifying!


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