Forget symphonies, ballets and gaudy performing arts centers. If you’re looking for an indicator of how civilized people are, observe how they drive. You can tell much about peoples’ manners and impulse control by their behavior on the road. Do motorists courteously wait their turn as alternating cars merge into a single lane… or do they push to the front like pigs at a trough? (Not that there’s anything wrong with pigs!) Do they flash their blinkers and wait for a suitable opening before switching lanes… or do they dash and weave across the highway like a coked-up NASCAR driver? If you narrowly avoid a collision, do they give you a pleasant wave… or do they flash you the bird?
On the assumption that there is a direct correlation between a driver’s behavior and the likelihood that he or she will get into an accident, I submit the Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report. And it turns out the Virginians do not conform to their self-ideal as ladies and gentlemen. The sad truth is that we are, for the most part, bubbas and barbarians.
Among the 200 largest cities in the United States tracked by Allstate, which insures about 10% of all motorists, Hampton and Richmond scored the highest as measured by the average number of years drivers have between accidents — and they were only a smidgeon safer than the national average. The other six cities had a greater incidence of accidents. As for Alexandria, let’s just say that you’re taking your life into your hands when you drive there!
I blame the carnage on Virginia highways on the proximity to the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area. The second worst drivers in the country are located in Baltimore. The very worst… are in Washington, D.C. Drivers there are literally twice as likely to have an accident as drivers nationally. The barbarians are no longer at the gate. They have seized the nation’s capital!