Detroit is America's most dangerous city for drivers

June 14, 2016

This summer, many of us will take road trips, hitting the open highways, rolling down the windows, and letting the wind blow through our hair. That'll be a welcome change of pace from the bumper-to-bumper traffic and crowded parking lots we endure the rest of the year.

No doubt about it, city driving is a pain--and it can be dangerous, too. Which U.S. cities are the most dangerous? We're glad you asked.

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The folks at NerdWallet recently gathered data on nearly 200 metropolitan areas in America to find out which were most and least dangerous for drivers. In assigning their rankings, they considered five criteria: "the rate of fatal crashes, the likelihood of an accident relative to other cities, the number of years between accidents, the risk of auto larceny — a break-in — and the risk of having a vehicle stolen".

Over the course of crunching numbers, three trends became apparent:

  • Larger cities are more dangerous than smaller ones. That would seem to be obvious--after all, more cars on the road, greater risk of accidents. More people, greater risk of theft. But some cities, like New York, bucked the trend.
  • Cities in the South and along the East Coast are more dangerous than those in the Midwest and West. The notable exception? California.
  • Car insurance premiums are 47 percent higher in the most dangerous cities. In America's safest cities, the average auto insurance premium runs $1,169. In the most dangerous, annual payments jump to $1,721. In the most dangerous city on the list, Detroit, it's a jaw-dropping $5,409.

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And so, without further ado, America's most dangerous cities for drivers are:

1. Detroit, Michigan
2. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
3. Baltimore, Maryland
4. Springfield, Massachusetts
5. San Bernadino, California
6. New Orleans, Louisiana
7. Atlanta, Georgia
8. New Haven, Connecticut
9. Dallas, Texas
10. Worcester, Massachusetts

And the safest?

1. Cary, North Carolina
2. Boise, Idaho
3. Fort Collins, Colorado
4. Naperville, Illinois
5. Santa Clarita, California
6. Overland Park, Kansas
7. Gilbert, Arizona
8. Aurora, Illinois
9. Madison, Wisconsin
10. Olathe, Kansas

The reasons for those individual rankings are more complex than we have time to cover here. If you have time, though, the study makes for interesting reading.

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