A recent Men’s Health Magazine article ranked 100 major US cities by worst drivers. The worst city was St. Louis, but Dallas was a close second. (That puts our drivers even worse than Houston drivers.) How did they decide? The magazine looked at a variety of factors like:
- -Rate of fatal crashes
- -Percentage of fatalities involving alcohol, speeding and hit-and-run
- -Rate of seatbelt use
- -Average number of years between accidents (Allstate information)
- -Laws on cellphone use
Unfortunately, that combination of factors shows that our roadways are not as safe as we might think. What’s interesting is that the study didn’t look at what cities have the worst traffic. Strangely, Dallas ranks comparatively low on traffic congestion compared to other major cities like Los Angeles, New York City, Houston and Chicago.
So if it’s not the frustration of traffic, what’s creating such terrible drivers?
The Dallas Morning News columnist Jacquielynn Floyd wrote an op-ed about just how rude we are behind the wheel. Her point of view – we’re not dangerous, as much as we’re stressed and discourteous. She summed it up like this:
“Something about our overcrowded roads, our scheduler lives, and perhaps a comparative dearth of roadside beauty spots creates a transformational personality shift in the average Dallas driver. A man may volunteer at a soup kitchen, or a woman may selflessly rescue stray dogs, but they turn selfish and territorial behind the wheel.”
Are we ourselves behind the wheel? How often do we yield when we know car is signaling to get over? Are we mean when it comes to merging? Do we tailgate to make a point, or is it a dangerous accident of traffic patterns?
Friendly OR Frightening?
On the one hand, Texans are amazingly friendly. We stand out among other Americans in this regard. But in the car, when we can’t see other drivers face-to-face, we too often abandon our courtesies. It’s not just our friendly Texan reputation at risk – it’s our safety on the roads.
This rush hour, be kind to at least one other driver and get home in one piece. Maybe this time next year, Dallas won’t be on the worst-of-the-worst list.