Cities You Might Want to Consider Avoiding on a Winter Road Trip

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Boston, the city that gave us both the New Kids On The Block and Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, placed dead last on Allstate’s 2016 America’s Best Drivers List. With the weather in Beantown turning blustery and cold, the Car Talk slogan of “don’t drive like my brother” has become hauntingly sound advice.

However Boston isn’t a singular example of a city with overzealous insurance claimants and certainly isn’t only location about to get hit with seasonally inclement weather. There are plenty of places where you’ll want to look out for other drivers just as much as you will icy patches of road this winter.

Worcester and Springfield, Massachusetts also possessed a ludicrously high likelihood of exceptionally poor drivers. However, neither city matched Boston’s insurance claim rate of 167.6 percent above the national average — not even after Allstate adjusted for population density and annual precipitation.

Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. also recorded abnormal levels of low quality drivers, with claims exceeding 106 percent above normal. Is there a regional trend here? All of the aforementioned cities have maintained their bottom tier status from last year and all are dotted along America’s eastern shore. Philadelphia, New Haven, and Providence also wound up in the lowest ten municipalities.

Of the warmer weather sites, California’s San Francisco, Glendale, and Los Angeles fared the worst. In fact, the Golden State did pretty poorly overall.

Whether you are smack dab in the middle of California’s rainy season or about to get hit with flurries in the Northeast, the likelihood of your car taking a beating is higher now than it was a few months ago, and you’re surrounded by terrible drivers. The good news, however, is that you are slightly less likely to be killed by one of them. Summer and fall months actually see more deadly crashes than winter or spring. People also tend to be cautious drivers in visibly poor weather, which is comforting information to have (unless you live in one of the aforementioned cities).

The best advice — which I’m sure you already know — is to reduce speed whenever necessary and take adequate precautions prior to heading out. While that might not prevent a fender bender this winter, it could save you from a serious accident or winter-related emergency. Beyond that, check the complete list of cities and move to a one with a better climate and more careful drivers.

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Olddavid Olddavid on Dec 30, 2016

    I finally broke down, subsumed my macho, and drove my dear wife's M35x to go through Glacier Park and over Marias Pass to spend Christmas with Grandma. I would go to any of these cities with this car. I had never challenged its capabilities when driving it in the past, as my "fleet" of bizarrely chosen automobilia needs exercise on a regular basis. Equipped with the W80 series Blizzaks, we went through the worst a Canadian north wind and snow storm can offer, and almost never lost traction except when rotating on purpose. The engine and gearing suffer from a lack of compromise, but managed to return 24 m.p.g. in these conditions mostly spent at 4000 feet of altitude and above. I had looked at its sound and accoutrements with disdain for years, assuming anything that appealed to my wife was beneath my driving and appreciation, even though I love her dearly. I guess an old fart can learn new tricks, after all.

  • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Jan 01, 2017

    Northwest Ohio: 1. Most take the "acceleration lane" onto a freeway as a mere suggestion?! Check! (50mph behind some jackwagon merging into 70mph traffic! Yup!) 2. Left-lane banditry is an art form! 3. Oft times no idea that the left stalk isn't just for the headlights!

  • MaintenanceCosts The symbol is the standard international sign for "controlled access highway." Presumably they are trying to evoke the Autobahn.
  • MaintenanceCosts Absolutely. Most old classics are not Boss 429s or Busso Alfas. Most of them have powertrains that are just crap by modern standards. I'd love to have a classic without the pre-emissions stinky exhaust or the need to futz around constantly with points and jets to maintain drivability.
  • Ravenuer No, I wouldn't be interested in doing this at all. Seems like it would be quite expensive.
  • Tassos Why buy either when you have two matching 2007 diesel e-classes with combined over 950k km. NO ONE SHOULD WANT MORE THAN I HAVE SETTLED FOR.
  • FreedMike Depends on the used car. If we're talking a numbers-matching GTO or something like that, then hell no. But if we're talking about something like a six-banger '67 Mustang, it'd be cool to make it into an EV with modern suspension, brakes and electronics. Call it an electro-restomod.