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Fort Collins, CO, Named Safest Driving City in New Study

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Old Town (College & Mountain), Fort Collins, ColoradoFor the second year in a row, Fort Collins, Colorado, is at the top of Allstate Insurance Company’s annual list of the cities where drivers are least likely to be involved in a car accident. The newly released 2011 “Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report™,” which ranks America’s 200 largest cities in terms of car collision frequency, shows that small towns are safer to drive in than large cities. The insurance company has been conducting the study every year for the last seven.

“Allstate’s Best Driver’s Report was created to boost the country’s discussion on safe driving. Each year we hope the report will increase awareness on the importance of being tolerant and attentive behind the wheel,” said Mike Roche, executive vice president, Allstate’s Claim Organization. “We want to recognize the city of Fort Collins for again being the safest driving city in America, and we salute all of America’s safe drivers, who help make our communities better places to live, work and raise families.”

Allstate insurance Digital Newsroom quotes Fort Collins’ mayor:

‘For the second year in a row, we’ve earned the title of the safest driving city in America due to the responsible behavior and safe driving habits of our residents,’ said Fort Collins Mayor Karen Weitkunat. ‘Safety is a critical component to creating a world-class city; we have our residents to thank as they are undoubtedly the reason Fort Collins is one of the best places to live, work, and play. I’m honored to be a part of a community that is consistently recognized as one of the nation’s best.’

The Allstate report says that, on average, a driver in Fort Collins will be involved in a traffic accident once every 14 years, 28.6% less likely than the national average of once every 10 years.

USA TODAY’s Chris Woodyard speculates about why Fort Collins is at the top of the safe driving list:

Maybe the high ranking is because no one is in a particular hurry in Fort Collins, a picturesque community of about 138,000. The city is home to Colorado State University, which means a lot of young drivers on the streets that might lead one to think that accident rates would be higher. But it’s not the case.

One thing that makes Fort Collins different from most small cities is that it has a “Bike Library” that gives residents, students, and tourists access to free bicycles — for as little as one hour to as much as five days at a time — thus giving people a free alternative to cars.

The top 10 cities on this year’s list of safest driving cities are: 1. Fort Collins; 2. Boise, Idaho; 3. Lincoln, Nebraska; 4. Chandler, Arizona.; 5. Huntsville, Alabama; 6. Knoxville, Tennessee; 7. Springfield, Missouri; 8. Reno, Nevada; 9. Eugene, Oregon; and 10. Chattanooga, Tennessee. Seven of these have populations of less than one million. Other Colorado cities on the list were Colorado Springs (number 11); Denver (number 51); and Aurora (number 60).

Allstate’s study indicates that the cities most likely to have traffic crashes are: Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, Maryland; Los Angeles, California; and Newark, New Jersey.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes have decreased over the last few years, but fatalities still average more than 32,000 every year. Allstate’s Mike Roche said, “Human behavior is the biggest cause of accidents. It is vital for us to educate American drivers about safe driving behaviors they can demonstrate on the road that will help make our roadways safer.”

Allstate suggests the following tips for drivers:

•    Minimize distractions — Engaging in any other activity while driving — talking on your cell phone, text messaging, changing a radio station, putting on makeup — is a distraction.
•    Be aware of road conditions — Ice, snow, fog, rain — all of these weather conditions require extra caution and slower speeds.
•    Leave a safe distance between your car and others around you — Maintain at least one car length space between your car and the vehicle in front of you for every 10 miles per hour of speed.
•    Steer clear of road rage — Reduce stress on the road by allowing plenty of time for travel, planning your route in advance, and altering your schedule or route to avoid congested roads. Remember not to challenge aggressive drivers and stay as far away from them as possible.
•    Maintenance matters — Ultimately, safety also depends on the maintenance of your car. Ensure that your car brakes, exhaust system, tires, lights, battery and hoses are in good working order.

Here’s a video about Fort Collins’s crosswalk signals for drivers:

Image by MelvinSchlubman, used under its Creative Commons license.

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