Arizona is full of deep canyons, an arid landscape, and striking national parks. The Grand Canyon State has plenty of highways stretching across the state, leaving plenty of room for drivers to make mistakes on the road.
In 2017, there were more than five million licensed drivers in Arizona and over 127,000 collisions. The number of drivers will rise, as Arizona is one of America's fastest growing states. More drivers leads to more crashes, especially since crash rates are increasing across the country.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to stay safe behind the wheel. Good news: our study found that Arizona is the 11th best driving state in America! But how does each city within Arizona rank? Which cities are safest?
To find out, we compiled over 40,000 data points from QuoteWizard users in Arizona on speeding tickets, accidents, DUIs, and other citations in the last year. We then calculated the rate of incidents across each city. Cities with the lowest rate are ranked safest.
These are the top ten safest driving cities in AZ:
- Bullhead City
- Lake Havasu City
- Casa Grande
- Prescott Valley
Read on to find out what makes these the ten safest cities for driving in Arizona.
Kingman sits on the west side of the state, a short driving distance to both Nevada and California. The famous Route 66 runs through the town of about 29,000 people. The historic road is even celebrated in the town with the local Route 66 Museum. Maybe respect for the route makes residents skilled behind the wheel, because Kingman is ranked as the safest driving city in Arizona!
According to the Kingman Police Department, 2017 saw 668 crashes, 1,593 citations, and 9,494 traffic warnings, all increases from the previous year.
2. Bullhead City
Situated across the Colorado River from Nevada, Bullhead City is the home of many casino commuters who work on the other side of the state line. Regardless of the commuting, drivers are still better than average, making Bullhead City the second safest driving city in Arizona. Busy highways 95 and 68 intersect in the town, but that doesn’t faze local drivers.
In 2016, the most recent year data is available, the Bullhead City Police Department reported 829 traffic accidents.
If you take Interstate 19 or Highway 82 all the way south, you’ll drive straight into Nogales right before you cross into Mexico. The city encompasses 22 square miles with 22,000 residents, and rests on the US and Mexico border.
The number of DUIs in the area has dropped significantly from 2010 to 2013, the most recent year data is available. In 2010 there were 103 DUIs, as opposed to 45 in 2013. That drop offers some insight into why Nogales is now the third best driving city in Arizona. Regardless of the highways that snake through the city, numbers show that residents and travelers alike navigate the roads safely.
4. Lake Havasu City
Lake Havasu City is surrounded by natural beauty and industrial monuments. You can admire the scenic lake and mountains as you drive over the London Bridge, relocated from England. The bridge may be the city’s claim to fame, but their impressive driving also deserves recognition. In 2017, the Lake Havasu City Fire Department responded to 297 motor vehicle incidents, more than the previous years. That doesn’t hold Lake Havasu City drivers back – they're the fourth safest in the state.
The small town of Tolleson sits on the western edge of Phoenix, the state’s largest city. Tolleson has just under 7,000 residents and only five roads. That doesn’t include I-10, a major commuter route that runs through Phoenix from the west. Only one fatal car crash happened in 2013, the most recent year data is available.
“Per capita we have more officers on duty patrolling our city than most of the departments throughout Maricopa County,” said Sergeant Lee Garrett from the Tolleson Police Department. “We have one sergeant and four patrol officers patrolling the City of Tolleson that is just over six square miles. This allows us to be more proactive in traffic control and provides high visibility policing.”
6. Casa Grande
A little over 50,000 people live in Casa Grande. The city is halfway between Phoenix and Tulsa, so commuters often pass through on the I-10, a major highway that connects California to Florida. As a major driving hub across the US, the I-10 has a reputation for ample collisions. In Casa Grande, there were four fatal car crashes in 2014, the most recent year data is available. City residents are cautious drivers, earning their home the title of the sixth safest driving city in Arizona.
7. Prescott Valley
Prescott Valley is in central Arizona, surrounded by rolling hills and striking desert views. Although the city is removed from busier traffic, highways 69 and 89A run through the area. Many locals use these highways in their daily commute, and out-of-towners use them to visit nearby National Forests. The laid-back lifestyle of this valley city must translate to driving, as Prescott Valley is the seventh safest driving city in Arizona. In 2014, there were only two fatal crashes in the area, the most recent year the data is available.
The local police department aims to create safe driving within the community through citizen education. The Traffic Unit does this through different programs and partnerships with local businesses, schools, and organizations. “We recognized that enforcement is only a temporary solution to an ever-growing problem,” said Sergeant Brown from the Prescott Valley Police Department. “We believe knowledge and self-responsibility is the key to maintaining a long-lasting change of behavior.”
The city of Payson is nestled between Tonto National Forest and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, among stunning waterfalls and eye-catching landscapes. The 19.5 square-miles of natural refuge is home to just over 15,000 residents. Payson is not only a great place to hike, but also to drive – it’s the eighth safest driving city in Arizona.
Between 2004 and 2008, there were a total of 1,147 crashes, most of which occurred along SR 87 and SR 260, which intersect in Payson.
“It is the philosophy of the department to take traffic enforcement seriously and insure that our community members, visitors to the community, and those conducting business in the Town of Payson can accomplish their needed daily activities in a safe manner,” said Payson Chief of Police Donald B. Engler. “Certainly, each resident does their part in making reports of unsafe conditions and they also strive to insure they are setting good examples for others to follow as well.”
Marana is a town of about 43,000 residents north of Tucson. The town has two neighboring national parks and I-10 running through its center. I-10 is often used as a commuter route for people traveling between Phoenix and Tucson. Luckily, with that heavy use, Marana is improving both the I-10 and Ina Road, which will (hopefully) ease the intersection’s flow of traffic. According to a map of car collisions, most car accidents in the Marana area happen around the I-10. But that didn’t keep the city from earning a spot in our top ten.
Located 23 miles south of Tucson in lower Arizona, Sahuarita is a desert town with about 28,000 residents. Highway 19 runs through the city, often used by travelers between US and Mexico. It seems that Sahuarita drivers are good behind the wheel, making it the tenth safest driving city in Arizona.
How Good Driving Affects Your Car Insurance Rates
Whether your city made the top safe driving list in AZ or not, it’s crucial that you have good auto insurance. A few bad drivers in your area can make your prices skyrocket, even if you consider yourself skilled behind the wheel. That’s because the risk of being involved in a crash rises when you’re surrounded by bad drivers (even if it’s not your fault).
If you know you fall into the “bad driver” category, explore auto insurance companies that cover bad drivers. But the best way for all drivers to combat steep prices is by comparing car insurance quotes from different companies.
How did we statistically identify Arizona's safest drivers? We used 2017 incident stats with more than 40,000 data points from QuoteWizard users across the state. To quantify overall driver quality for comparison, we weighted incident counts for each city with its frequency.
The final rankings are a sum of weighted means calculated from accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, and citations. QuoteWizard then ranked each Arizona city to find the safest drivers.