Amid the dodging, honking and close calls of everyday driving, it may be easy to embrace the conventional view that Salt Lake City drivers are bad. Actually, they are about average and getting better, according to a new study by Allstate Insurance.
Drivers in Salt Lake City and West Valley City combined because they share many ZIP codes ranked No. 63 among the nation's 200 largest cities in the annual Allstate America's Best Drivers Report. That's an improvement of nine spots from the previous year.
The report says the typical driver in the two Utah cities will be involved in a crash every 10 years, which is essentially even with the national average.
"Our local drivers are making great progress toward keeping America's roadways safer," said Gail Howells, an Allstate agency owner in Salt Lake City.
But watch out if driving in Washington, D.C. The nation's capital ranked in last place for the sixth year in a row. Typical D.C. drivers are involved in an accident about every 4.8 years, twice as often as the national average.
It was joined on the bottom of the rankings by Baltimore; Providence, R.I.; Hialeah, Fla.; and Glendale, Calif.
Fort Collins, Colo., was named "America's Safest Driving City" for the third time in the study's nine years. Drivers there are involved in an accident every 13.9 years on average. Other cities atop the overall rankings were: Boise; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Brownsville, Texas; and Madison, Wis.
Allstate said the top cities for their size were: Phoenix, for cities with more than 1 million people; Denver and Lakewood, Colo., for cities between 750,000 and 1 million; Tucson, Ariz., for cities between 500,000 and 750,000; and Mesa, Ariz., for those with fewer than 500,000.
The study is based on property claims filed with Allstate over a two-year period.
Allstate said that about 70 percent of vehicles involved in auto claims are considered drivable, indicating most crashes occur at low speeds in stop-and-go traffic. "But it's important to keep in mind that even lower-speed accidents can have serious outcomes," said Mike Roche, Allstate's senior vice president of claims.
The company also released numerous suggestions that it said help reduce crashes. They include: allowing plenty of time to reach your destination; getting directions to where you are going; keeping a safe distance, especially around large vehicles; and staying alert and especially looking out for pedestrians and children.