America loves cars. But getting into a car accident is a fear that plagues many drivers, whether during their morning commute or annual road trip. That fear isn’t without reason – in 2017, more than 40,000 people died in car crashes. And that number is on the rise, with a six percent increase in traffic deaths since 2015.
No matter what part of the country you live in, being on the road is always a risk. But driving is apparently more dangerous in some places than others. It seems that drivers in certain cities have a higher likelihood of crashing their car than others. This begs the question: which city has the highest rate of car accidents? We used over a million data points on car accidents to find out. How does your city stack up?
From the most accidents to the least, these are the 25 most car accident-prone cities in the US:
- Columbus, OH
- Louis, MO
- Los Angeles, CA
- Sacramento, CA
- New Orleans, LA
- Charlotte, SC
- Columbia, SC
- Washington DC
- Baltimore, MD
- Greenville, SC
- Portland, OR
- Salt Lake City, UT
- Omaha, NE
- New York, NY
- Atlanta, GA
- San Diego, CA
- Richmond, VA
- Louisville, KY
- Bakersfield, CA
- Hartford, CT
- Boston, MA
- Durham, NC
- Virginia Beach, VA
- Riverside, CA
- Birmingham, AL
The Five Most Accident-Prone Cities
More and more people are flocking to this Midwestern city, and it’s grown by 10 percent since 2010. Maybe the newcomers haven’t heard the news – Columbus, Ohio is QuoteWizard’s most car accident-prone city in America.
Why? We’re not exactly sure, but the stats paint a clear picture. In 2017 there were a whopping 24,460 car crashes in Columbus. Those accidents damaged some 45,000 cars and caused nearly 9,000 injuries. Interestingly, most car crashes in Columbus were the result of a rear end. That’s not so surprising when you consider how common distracted driving is nowadays. Pro tip: stay off the cellphone and be extra careful driving on Fridays in Columbus – it had more crashes than any other day of the week at 4,168.
St. Louis, Missouri rings in as the second most accident-prone city in the US. In 2016, car accidents killed 940 people in Missouri, with 62 deaths occurring in St. Louis. High car crash rates can and do impact the entire community. In fact, a chain reaction crash even damaged the mayor's car in nearby East St. Louis.
Is it St. Louis’ erratic weather? We’re not entirely sure what’s got St. Louis drivers crashing into each other so often, but it seems that the infamous Midwest Nice doesn’t extend to the city’s roads.
When it comes to driving, the City of Angels isn’t so Angelic. Los Angeles, California comes in as the third most accident-prone city in the country. Is anyone surprised? From 2016 to 2017, traffic collisions in LA increased by five percent. Considering Los Angeles is the fifth fastest growing city in the country, those collision numbers are poised to continue growing.
Along with palm trees and sandy beaches, you’ll also find some of the most heavily congested roads in the world. Maybe the high number of crashes has to do with the fact that LA has the worst traffic in the country. Weaving through traffic becomes a lot more dangerous when cars are creeping along at a snail’s pace.
Sacramento, California residents might not be too surprised to see their beloved city make the top five. After all, Sacramento got third place in QuoteWizard’s 2018 worst drivers study. But what makes this California capital such a hub for bad drivers?
One reason: several major freeways run through the heart of the city, and freeways are a pressure cooker for bad drivers. Most of Sacramento's fatal crashes happen on 99 between Fruitridge and Florin road, at the intersection of I-80 and the Capitol City Freeway in West Sacramento, and the Capitol City Freeway near Ardin. Luckily, the city seems to be cracking down on risky motorists. Sacramento brought back a full-time traffic team in 2015.
It may come as a shock that this vibrant city known for jazz, beignets, and so much more is also one of the most accident-prone cities in the US.
Statewide fatalities and serious injuries caused by collisions are on the downward trend in Louisiana. But NOLA is a different story – our study ranks New Orleans, Louisiana as the fifth most car accident-prone in the US. Maybe the area’s crash rate is so high because of the increasing traffic congestion. NOLA residents spend an extra 26 minutes per day traveling. Even that small sliver of extra time in the car allows more room for error on the road. And if it’s not the bad traffic that’s responsible for the city’s high crash rate, it’s probably the proliferation of drive-thru daiquiri stands.
QuoteWizard analyzed self-reported driving infractions data from our site users, which includes accidents. These rankings account for more than one million data points on accidents from 2017. Cities ranked ‘most accident-prone’ have the highest rate of accidents.
How Accidents Affect Your Car Insurance Rates
There are several factors insurance companies consider while pricing your policy. One of the main factors is your driving history. Specifically, are there car crashes on driving record? People with accidents on their driving record always pay higher insurance rates.
Even if your driving record is squeaky clean, living in an accident-prone city like Columbus or St. Louis will hurt your rates. That’s right – drivers in areas with a higher-than-normal accident rate pay more for insurance, even if they’re not involved in said accidents. If you have several accidents on your record, or if you live in an accident-prone city, you'll face high insurance rates. Your best bet to keep prices low is to shop around and compare car insurance quotes from different companies.