A C- may get you a passing grade in school – but it’s not a grade you want when concerning road and driver safety.
According to their 2017 Safe Driving Report, EverQuote Inc., an online insurance marketplace, rated Pittsburgh the lowest out of all cities studied in terms of driver safety and road behavior. Pittsburgh shares this spot with New York City – a notoriously dangerous and frustrating city when it comes to driving.
Other states rated highest in overall road safety were Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, North Dakota, and South Dakota, respectively – states with wide open terrain and lower populations. The lowest rated states were the smaller, more populated states of New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, especially in Pittsburgh where the drivers are “the worst” – it’s always best to contact a qualified attorney and figure out if you have a claim against the other party. Car accidents are completely preventable – yet tens of thousands of people are injured or killed by them each year. By identifying what areas of driving are the weakest, drivers are able to improve on habits that can quickly become fatal.
Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania Ratings
Pittsburgh earned a 71 out of 100 possible points on EverQuote’s safe driving scorecard – meaning the city barely passed the test. In comparison, Pittsburg fell eight points below the national average score of 79. The steel city earned its’ last place spot along with New York City, who also earned 71 points.
Pennsylvania fared slightly better than Pittsburgh with 73 points out of 100 on the safe driving scorecard – the third worst score in the U.S. Although the Keystone State bested the national average on phone usage, with only 37% of drivers using their phones on the road compared to 38% of drivers nationally, they came in behind in every other category:
- 47% of Pennsylvania drivers speed compared to 36% nationally
- 24% of Pennsylvania drivers accelerate too quickly compared to 21% nationally
- 35% of Pennsylvania drivers brake too quickly compared to 32% nationally
- 19% of Pennsylvania drivers make hard turns compared to 16% nationally
How Data Was Collected
Over a 12-month period, EverQuote collected data from 150,000 drivers across the country who use their iPhone and Android app. From April 6, 2016 until March 6, 2017, EverQuote tracked more than 2.7 million vehicle trips over 230 million miles. Among the factors EverQuote studied were:
- Cellphone use
- Excess acceleration
- Hard breaking
- Hard turning
The app tracks these events and sends a report to the driver and any outside interested parties, such as parents, on the driver’s behavior behind the wheel. This can help insurers and concerned parents be aware of what the driver is doing when he or she is on the road.
One of the most notorious aspects of driving in Pittsburgh is something known as the “Pittsburgh left”. This practice – which is considered dangerous by some but “necessary” by others – involves a car turning left across oncoming traffic immediately following a green light instead of yielding as per the law.
Supporters of this act, including Mayor Bill Peduto, believe it’s a cherished Pittsburgh tradition and considered to be “polite” among the community while decongesting traffic. The left turn’s critics – typically those from outside the Pittsburgh area – believe the act is dangerous and leads to more car accidents.
Without a doubt, the Pittsburgh Left defies legality. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania traffic law states that left turning vehicles must yield to oncoming traffic when using an unprotected turn lane. But, residents and officials believe the ritual will continue to be practiced for years to come.
Other unique factors that could be a contributing factor to Pittsburgh’s last place status is that the city was built and developed before the invention of cars. During its development in the early 1800’s, Pittsburgh built their roads narrower than modern roads and weren’t developed in a way that could easily be updated to keep up with changing transportation methods. That combined with the many bridges and tunnels throughout the city – something that earned it the nickname “the city of bridges and tunnels” – lead to more congested roads that lead to a more dangerous driving environment.
Ways to Improve Bad Driving Habits
EverQuote produced this driving study to shed light on areas where drivers can improve and empower them to use the app to identify weak areas in their driving. All drivers have areas they can improve on – no matter how long they’ve been on the road. With the introduction of cell phones, faster cars, and more distractions than ever behind the wheel – traffic collisions are at an all-time high. Some techniques drivers can use to improve their driving are:
- Put the cell phone down while driving – try keeping in your bag in the backseat or in the glove compartment, out of reach
- Stay within the speed limit – remember that the left lane is the “passing lane” and should only be used to pass vehicles going below the speed limit
- Be mindful of how quickly you accelerate – speeding up at a rapid pace while racing to get in front of a car on the free causes thousands of collisions a year and puts innocent lives at risk
- Take your time coming to a stop – hard breaking typically occurs in congested traffic when all cars are at a “stop and go” pace – leave about 3 car lengths of space in between you and the car in front of you to ensure enough room to safely stop
- Slow down when making turns – men are more likely to take a turn too sharp or fast than recommended than women – be sure to slow down to a safe and appropriate speed
To see the full 2017 EverQuote Safe Driving Report, including rating from other states and a detailed report of Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh’s data, click here.