Drivers in the Chicagoland area are no stranger to the frustration of its terrible traffic. Chicago is regularly mentioned among the nation's worst traffic cities. The daily frustrations of such awful traffic can lead to a slew of irrational driving behaviors, including speeding and other aggressive driving habits.

To be fair to the drivers in the Chicagoland area and the state of Illinois, our data actually shows drivers in the Prairie State to be some of the best in the country. In our 2018 best and worst drivers study, Illinois ranked near the top as the fifth-best driving state. Chicago also ranked among the better driving US cities. Being such a highly rated state for driver quality, we wanted to find out which cities in Illinois are the best of the best, and which cities are among the worst.

To determine overall driver quality in Illinois, we ranked the 50 largest cities in the state. We analyzed over 120,000 insurance quotes from Illinois drivers using and ranked cities by the highest rate of incidents. Incidents include accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, and citations.

Illinois' Worst Driving Cities

Rank (worst) City
1 Park Ridge
2 Plainfield
3 Crystal Lake
4 Normal
5 Mount Prospect
6 Downers Grove
7 Moline
8 Rock Island
9 Bloomington
10 Schaumburg
11 Elmhurst
12 Bartlett
13 Skokie
14 Orland Park
15 Oak Lawn
16 Berwyn
17 Lombard
18 Naperville
19 Elgin
20 Bolingbrook
21 DeKalb
22 Belleville
23 Buffalo Grove
24 Quincy
25 Aurora

Park Ridge

On the doorstep of O'Hare, nestled between two busy interstates, resides the worst driving city in the state, Park Ridge. Typical of any city with so much traffic passing through, you'd expect to see a high rate of incidents. Park Ridge certainly fits that mold despite its proximity to one of the state's best driving cities, Des Plaines. Given that some of the best driving cities can withstand the interstate and airport traffic, the poor quality of driving could very well be rooted in the residents of Park Ridge.


Heading west from Chicago into the suburbs, you'll run into the second worst drivers in the state, Plainfield. Dealing with less traffic volume than Park Ridge, Plainfield is a highway intersection hub. Six highways entering the city from all different directions creates a hotbed for traffic incidents. Will County had a rate of 8.52 traffic fatalities per 100,000 people in 2017, falling right in line with the state average of 8.57.

Crystal Lake

An hour and a half northwest of downtown Chicago is Crystal Lake, home to the third-worst drivers in the state. For a city without much traffic going through it, and with a population of only around 40,000, Crystal Lake has all the makings of a safe driving city; however, its high rate of incidents suggests fingers should be pointed at the drivers in town. McHenry County had 10.68 road fatalities per 100,000 in 2017, slightly above the state average.

Illinois' Best Driving Cities

Rank (best) City
1 Evanston
2 Des Plaines
3 Arlington Heights
4 Cicero
5 Peoria
6 Joliet
7 Rockford
8 Hanover Park
9 Carol Stream
10 Streamwood
11 Urbana
12 Palatine
13 Decatur
14 Champaign
15 Wheeling
16 Carpentersville
17 Waukegan
18 Chicago
19 Romeoville
20 Glenview
21 Hoffman Estates
22 Oak Park
23 Wheaton
24 Tinley Park
25 Springfield


Off the beaten path from the major highways in the area, Evanston has a very coastal, slow-paced feel to it. That slow-paced life likely translates to equally slow-paced driving. Keeping the speed down reduces tickets and, most importantly, accidents. Another factor could be the smart kids at Northwestern University. Data here backs up their superior driving prowess compared their counterparts down in Champaign-Urbana.

Des Plaines

Just to the west of I-294, next to the worst driving city in Illinois, is the second-best driving city. Go figure! The geographical environment of highways and heavy traffic would give Des Plaines drivers a similar disadvantage as their neighbors in Park Ridge; however, with such high ratings, you really have to give credit to the residents of Des Plaines for their safe-driving displays.

Arlington Heights

Just a little further west, we run into the third-best driving city in Illinois, Arlington Heights. Being in the same area as both Des Plaines and Park Ridge, Arlington Heights shares a similar high-traffic environment. Just like Des Plaines, Arlington Heights can hang its hat on its residents' being great drivers.


The QuoteWizard research team evaluated driver quality from the 50 largest cities in Illinois by population. We analyzed 2018 data of over 120,000 insurance quotes from Illinois drivers using QuoteWizard to find the rate of overall incidents in each city. Incidents include accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, and citations.

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