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The Most Dangerous Cities to Drive In

Memphis, TN

Memphis, TN

According to a U.S. News and World Report study, Memphis is ranked the most dangerous city for drivers, including “fatal car accidents per capita" and "people involved in fatal crashes per capita.”

According to FOX13 Memphis reporter Kayla Solomon, citizens are rightfully concerned with some of the city's main intersections. Drivers consistently run red lights and weave in and out of traffic.

Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque, New Mexico, earns its spot among the most dangerous cities to drive with a combination of factors, including high rates of alcohol-related accidents, limited public transportation options, and a notable lack of pedestrian-friendly infrastructure.

Albuquerque has the highest fatality rate per 100 million miles traveled. The city's sprawling layout and insufficient traffic safety measures contribute to a hazardous environment for both drivers and pedestrians alike.

Detroit, MI

Detroit, MI

Detroit, Michigan’s reputation for high crime rates and dangerous areas extends to its roadways. Carjackings and aggressive driving behaviors pose significant threats to motorists. The city’s highways also face a high rate of congestion, further frustrating drivers.

Additionally, the city faces challenges related to poorly maintained roads, increasing the risk of accidents. Detroit is ranked the third worst city to navigate because of these issues, among others.

Louisville, KY

Louisville, KY

Louisville, Kentucky, grapples with a surge in fatal accidents attributed to factors such as excessive speeding and a lack of stringent traffic regulations. The city's topography and road conditions also contribute to a higher likelihood of collisions.

Insufficient public transportation options further intensify the dependence on personal vehicles, heightening the risks associated with driving in Louisville. The more people who are forced to drive, the more roadways are will be crowded and clogged.

Tucson, AZ

Tucson, AZ

Tucson, Arizona, experiences elevated rates of road fatalities and accidents primarily due to its sprawling layout, resulting in extended commuting distances. With limited public transportation alternatives, residents heavily rely on private vehicles, escalating the risk of traffic incidents.

The city's challenging topography and insufficient traffic management make the dangers on Tucson's roads significantly worse. With three Arizona cities on this list, it’s a state that inexperienced drivers may need to avoid.

Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix, Arizona, shares similarities with Tucson in terms of sprawling urban development, contributing to prolonged commuting times. Residents are forced to drive long distances for necessities, increasing the risk of accidents.

The city grapples with aggressive driving behaviors, substantial congestion, and a lack of efficient public transportation options, collectively making it a hazardous environment for motorists. Both residents and drivers passing through should be ready for these challenges.

Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville, Florida, contends with a combination of factors, including high-speed roadways, frequent severe weather conditions, and a notable lack of pedestrian-friendly infrastructure. The city's expansive layout and limited public transportation options increase reliance on personal vehicles, making accidents more likely.

Jacksonville also gets much more rain than the national average, creating dangerous road conditions. This is especially tricky for drivers traveling to or through the city who aren’t accustomed to driving in such conditions. 

Mesa, AZ

Mesa, AZ

Mesa, Arizona, faces challenges synonymous with its neighboring cities, including extensive urban sprawl and limited public transportation alternatives. Arizona will need to address its public transportation issues to make its cities as safe as possible.

The city's roadways witness a significant number of accidents, made worse by factors such as aggressive driving and a lack of stringent traffic law enforcement. Overall, Mesa is a perilous environment for drivers.

Dallas, TX

Dallas, TX

Dallas, Texas, grapples with a deadly combination of factors that contribute to its label as one of the most dangerous cities to drive. High-speed roadways, frequent traffic congestion, and a prevalence of reckless driving behaviors pose substantial risks.

Dallas is notorious for its heavy traffic, constant construction, and routine delays, which force commuters to explore alternate routes and increase the likelihood of a crash. Additionally, the city's vast landscape and reliance on personal vehicles heighten the likelihood of accidents, creating a challenging landscape for motorists.

Atlanta, GA

Atlanta, GA

Atlanta, Georgia, rounds out the list with factors such as heavy traffic congestion, high rates of impaired driving, and challenging geography. The city's sprawling roadways, often characterized by intricate interchanges, contribute to a heightened risk of accidents.

Inadequate public transportation options further increase the reliance on personal vehicles. Comprehensive measures must be put in place to address the safety concerns on Atlanta's roads, as well as the other cities on this list.

Bakersfield, CA

Bakersfield, CA

In Bakersfield, California, fatal car crashes are more prevalent than any other city in the state of California, according to 2022 data from Forbes Advisor.

According to statistics, about 11 out of every 100,000 residents are involved in a fatal car crash. And about three out of every 100,000 residents are involved in a crash related to speeding.

Tampa, FL

Tampa, FL

Tampa, Florida, has among the highest rates of fatal car crashes in the country, with around 14 crashes per every 100,000 residents.

When including total passengers involved in car crashes, the number is slightly higher at around 15 per every 100,000. Many incidents involve both speeding and drunk driving.

Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City experiences a high number of traffic fatalities attributed to poor road conditions, lax enforcement of traffic laws, and the prevalence of distracted driving.

With limited public transportation options, residents heavily rely on personal vehicles, leading to congested roads and increased accident rates.

Tulsa, OK

Tulsa, OK

Tulsa is another state with a high rate of fatalities, with about 13 for every 100,000 people. On top of that, total crashes in the state average about 12.53 for every 100,000.

Speeding and drunk driving are both prevalent issues in the state, with around four fatal crashes for every 100,000 people.

Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee’s statistics show a major problem with speeding, with numbers comparable to Dallas and Albuquerque.

Its aging infrastructure contributes to poor road conditions, including potholes and uneven surfaces, leading to frequent vehicle damage and accidents.

Nashville, TN

Nashville, TN

The city of Nashville experiences significant traffic congestion, particularly during rush hours and special events, leading to long commute times and frustration for motorists.

Nashville has consistently ranked high when it comes to fatalities and incidents involving drunk driving, making the city a dangerous place for drivers.

San Antonio, TX

 San Antonio, TX

San Antonio fares even worse when it comes to drunk driving incidents, with nearly five for every 100,000 residents.

Additionally, San Antonio drivers are among the most distracted in the country, below only Albuquerque and Chicago. Each year, there are nearly 11 fatal crashes per capita.

Miami, FL

Miami, FL

Miami ranks as one of the worst cities to drive in, according to data analyzed by Forbes. With high congestion and a significant number of traffic accidents, Miami's roads present challenges for drivers.

There are around 13 crashes per capita and 13 fatalities for every 100,000 residents as well. The city's aggressive driving culture and diverse population contribute to its reputation for poor driving habits.

Fort Worth, TX

Fort Worth, TX

As yet another Texas city on the list, it’s clear that driving in the state of Texas comes with a risk. However, Fort Worth has improved somewhat in recent years compared to the last five years.

On average, from 2017 to 2021, it placed as one of the top 10 most dangerous cities due to the number of fatal accidents, courtesy of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Wichita, KS

Wichita, KS

Wichita, Kansas, gets an average of around 11 fatalities per capita, making it a dangerous place for motorists, undoubtedly, adding to this risk is the prevalence of speeding.

When taking into account the number of fatal crashes and the number incidents involving speeding, it turns out that about 4 out of 10 fatal crashes are the result of speeding.

Denver, CO

Denver, CO

Denver is not the worst when it comes to fatal incidents, but of what crashes are fatal, around a quarter of them involve either speeding or drunk driving.

On the bright side, Denver has one of the lowest rates of incidents involving distracted driving, such as driving while texting.

Houston, TX

Houston, TX

Houston also has a low rate of distracted driving, but the number of fatal crashes is once again on the higher side of things, with 11 fatal crashes per capita.

Their most dangerous habit seems to be drunk driving, with around 4.44 drunk driving incidents per capita. It’s time to drink responsibly, Houston!

Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, MO

Kansas City ranks fifth in the last five years when it comes to fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by Forbes Advisor.

However, when you take into account other factors such as car theft, DUI arrests, and miles driven, it hits closer to the top 23rd mark.

Sacramento, CA

Sacramento, CA

Sacramento has an average of about 10 fatal crashes per capita, some involving drunk driving and some involving speeding. Inadequate road conditions, aggressive driving habits, and a lack of public transportation options add to Sacramento's image as a perilous city for motorists.

You’d think that, as the state’s capital city, the city would make a greater effort to set a good example, but alas, that seems not to be the case.

Fresno, CA

Fresno, CA

With an alarming rate of traffic accidents, Fresno ranks high in collision incidents. These factors, combined with limited infrastructure and increasing traffic volume, underscore drivers' challenges in navigating Fresno's roadways safely.

Fresno’s biggest cause of fatal crashes has to do with speeding - around 4.47 fatal incidents for every 100,000 residents!