Halo Inusrance
Press releases

USA’s Best Cities for Driving

Written by  Spreet Aulakh Monday, 18 March 2019 00:00

Map of best cities to drive in USA


Driving in new cities can be a daunting prospect. Major junctions and intersections, teamed with high traffic volume and unfamiliar territory, can be off-putting. To help you be aware of the potential risks you may encounter, we’ve created a ranking of the best US cities to drive in.

Our research analyzed the 20 most populous cities and ranked them based on the following criteria:

  • Number of traffic fatalities per 100,000 residents
  • Average increase in journey time due to traffic
  • Percentage of roads rated poor
  • Percentage of drivers with DUIs
  • Number of uninsured drivers

From the results, we compiled the list of the top 10 best US cities to drive in. The ranking indicates potential problems to be aware of, and where they’ll find being on the road easiest.

Table of best cities to drive in USA


1. Charlotte, NC

Total score: 365/500

Number of road fatalities per 100,000 residents: 10.59

Average increase in journey time due to traffic: 17%

Percentage of roads rated poor: 21%

Percentage of drivers with DUIs: 0.5%+

Percentage of drivers in state with no insurance: 6.5%

Charlotte scores well on most data points analyzed. At just 0.5%, the city has the lowest percentage of drivers with DUIs in the top ten. The number of uninsured drivers is also low, the second lowest in the top ten, at just 6.5%.

Charlotte does have one weak point, ranking mid-to-low for its number of road fatality numbers.

2. Fort Worth, TX

Total score: 310/500

Number of road fatalities per 100,000 residents: 10

Average increase in journey time due to traffic: 18%

Percentage of roads rated poor: 21%

Percentage of drivers with DUIs: 1.24%

Percentage of drivers in state with no insurance: 14.1%

Fort Worth is the first of three Texan cities to appear in this top ten. On most factors, the city recommends itself as a good driving location. Traffic levels are comparatively low, with an average increase of 18% in journey times across 2018. Road surfaces are also good, with just one in five roads (21%) being rated bad.

Like Charlotte, the city does have relatively high fatality numbers, at 10 per 100,000 residents annually.

3. Chicago, IL

Total score: 305/500

Number of road fatalities per 100,000 residents: 5.5

Average increase in journey time due to traffic: 26%

Percentage of roads rated poor: 28%

Percentage of drivers with DUIs: 0.53%

Percentage of drivers in state with no insurance: 13.7%

Chicago ranks very well when it comes to safety factors. Fatality numbers in the city are at just 5.5 per 100,000, and DUIs are quite rare with just 0.53% having the misdemeanor on their record.

The windy city falls down slightly on traffic and road quality. The average increase in journey times across 2018 was over a quarter (26%) and 28% of roads in the city were rated poor in the same year.

4. Philadelphia, PA

Total score: 300/500

Number of road fatalities per 100,000 residents: 6.2

Average increase in journey time due to traffic: 23%

Percentage of roads rated poor: 43%

Percentage of drivers with DUIs: 0.82%

Percentage of drivers in state with no insurance: 7.6%

Despite being home to the notoriously ‘dangerous road’ Roosevelt Boulevard, Philadelphia makes an appearance on this list due to its performance across several factors.

Overall, fatalities are relatively low, at just 6.2 per 100,000. The city also has low numbers of DUIs and uninsured drivers. Philly’s weak point, however, is the quality of its roads, with over four in ten (43%) rated poor.

5. Columbus, OH

Total score: 290/500

Number of road fatalities per 100,000 residents: 6.8

Average increase in journey time due to traffic: 16%

Percentage of roads rated poor: 24%

Percentage of drivers with DUIs: 2.02%

Percentage of drivers in state with no insurance: 12.4%

As you’d expect from number five in a top 10, Columbus has middling scores for most of the factors we analyzed. Its biggest weakness is the percentage of drivers in the city with DUIs. With 2.02% having been issued with one in the past, Columbus is the worst city in the top ten for the offense.

Its strength however, lies in its traffic levels. With an average increase in journey time of just 16%, Columbus ranks highly on this.

6. Denver, CO

Total score: 290/500

Number of road fatalities per 100,000 residents: 6.95

Average increase in journey time due to traffic: 20%

Percentage of roads rated poor: 14%

Percentage of drivers with DUIs: 1.9%

Percentage of drivers in state with no insurance: 13.3%

Although Denver has an equal overall score to Columbus, Denver ranks lower of the two, due to its slightly higher fatality numbers. The city ranks strongly when it comes to road quality, with just 14% of road surfaces rated poor – the lowest in the top 10.

Like Columbus, however, Denver falls down when it comes to the number of drivers with DUIs. 1.9% of drivers in the city have convictions relating to this, second highest in the top 10.

7. New York City, NY

Total score: 280/500

Number of road fatalities per 100,000 residents: 2.5

Average increase in journey time due to traffic: 35%

Percentage of roads rated poor: 46%

Percentage of drivers with DUIs: 1.12%

Percentage of drivers in state with no insurance: 6.1%

NYC has some really strong points when it comes to driving. The city has the lowest number of fatalities in our top ten, at just 2.5 per 100,000. It’s also got the lowest percentage of uninsured drivers at just 6.1%.

Despite this, DUI numbers are fairly significant at 1.12%, and the city really falls down on road quality and travel time. Almost half of the roads (46%) in New York City have been rated poor, and over a third (35%) is added to the average journey time.

8. Dallas, TX

Total score: 275/500

Number of road fatalities per 100,000 residents: 10.8

Average increase in journey time due to traffic: 18%

Percentage of roads rated poor: 21%

Percentage of drivers with DUIs: 1.62%

Percentage of drivers in state with no insurance: 14.1%

Dallas gets into the top 10, due to middling to high scores on four out five of our data points. The city performs well on road quality, with just 21% of roads rated poor, and your average journey will only see 18% added to it due to traffic.

Its weak point is fatality numbers. Standing at 10.8 per 100,000 these are the second highest in the ranking.

9. San Antonio, TX

Total score: 270/500

Number of road fatalities per 100,000 residents: 8.2

Average increase in journey time due to traffic: 20%

Percentage of roads rated poor: 29%

Percentage of drivers with DUIs: 1.1%

Percentage of drivers in state with no insurance: 14.1%

The third of four Texan cities to appear in this top ten, San Antonio joins its peers owing to relatively low numbers of DUIs amongst drivers.

It fails to crawl any higher on this list due to middling scores on all other data points. Despite having the same total score as larger Texan city, Houston, San Antonio just pulls into ninth place because of its lower road fatality numbers.

10. Houston, TX

Total score: 270/500

Number of road fatalities per 100,000 residents: 10

Average increase in journey time due to traffic: 24%

Percentage of roads rated poor: 24%

Percentage of drivers with DUIs: 0.89%

Percentage of drivers in state with no insurance: 14.1%

As the biggest city in Texas, Houston pushes its way onto the list owing to low numbers of DUIs. Just 0.89% of drivers in the city have DUIs on their record.

Houston also has a low number of roads rated poor, but unfortunately falls down on the number of fatalities and drivers with no insurance.

Methodology

The overall score for each city was calculated by finding percentile scores for each location, based on every factor analyzed. These were compiled to give the total scores and final ranking positions.

Data was taken from the following scores: