October 31, 2014
New York #1 Worst City for Drivers
By Jonathan Damashek
New York City presents a lot of challenges to driving and owning a car. In the densely populated city of New York, car owners can expect to encounter traffic delays and frustrated drivers. New York drivers are notoriously aggressive. Drivers can also expect hefty car insurance premiums.
According to an analysis by NerdWallet, the average driver in New York pays a whopping $1,614.71 per year for car insurance. Drivers who commute are also likely to face 59 hours stuck in traffic each year, the analysis says. These and other factors earn the Big Apple the No. 1 spot on NerdWallet’s 10 Worst Cities for Car Drivers.
In addition to the cost of insuring your car, you have to pay to drive it in New York City. According to Northern Virginia-based Cost2Drive,New York toll roads, tunnels and bridges charge anywhere from $1 to cross any of several bridges (the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Bridge / Mid-Hudson Bridge connecting Ulster and Dutchess counties; Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge at Kingston, NY; and the Rip Van Winkle Bridge at Catskill, NY, among them) to $15 to cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from Staten Island to Brooklyn.
It costs $13 to enter the city from New Jersey via the Lincoln Tunnel or the Holland Tunnel.
In addition to the costs of operating a vehicle, you also run a high risk of getting into an accident if you drive in New York City.
The 2014 “America’s Best Drivers Report,” by Allstate Insurance Company and based on insurance claims data from the 200 largest U.S. cities, placed New York drivers in the bottom fourth—155th out of 200. These rankings are based on the frequency of collisions resulting in property damage among drivers insured by Allstate from 2011-2012.
According to the Allstate report, drivers in New York were 28 percent more likely than the national average to be involved in a collision. New York drivers average an accident every 7.8 years while the average driver experiences a collision every 10 years. (Worchester, Massachusetts, is ranked worst and Fort Collins, Colorado, is ranked best.)
In May, New York City adopted a package of 11 bills that crack down on dangerous drivers – including cabbies who mow down pedestrians,” as the New York Daily News put it. Measures adopted by city leaders include:
- Making it a crime to hit a pedestrian or bicyclist who has the right of way
- Cooper’s Law, which allows the city to immediately suspend the license of a cab driver who commits a traffic violation that results in injury or death
- Requiring the city to establish seven “slow zones” with 20 mph speed limits
- Banning stunts like wheelies and donuts by drivers.
The Council also passed six resolutions pushing the state to increase penalties for reckless driving, driving on the sidewalk and leaving the scene of an accident, and to let the city control its own speed and red-light camera programs, the newspaper reported.
In August alone, there were 17,000 car accidents in the city, according to the New York Police Department. These crashes resulted in the deaths of 22 people and injuries to:
By far, the most frequent contributing factor among collisions that resulted in death or injury was “driver inattention / distraction,” which was cited in accidents involving 3,041 vehicles. The next most frequent cause of accidents was “following too closely,” cited in collisions involving 1,432 vehicles.
Congestion is a Big Part of NYC Driving Woes
Traffic congestion, which can contribute to collisions, is a fact of life in New York. But there are events in NYC nearly every day that make it worse because of the influx of participants and street closures to accommodate them. These events can range from national political conventions to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, athletic events and on-location filming for movies.
In the last weekend in September, for example, the NYPD had to close multiple streets for the United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, the Dumbo Arts Festival in Brooklyn, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run & Festival in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the Victory Walk in Queens, the NYRR Bronx 10-Mile Run in the Bronx and several other smaller events.
If you’re visiting New York, many suggest that you avoid driving. Trip Advisor says, “New York’s highways allow relatively easy access to the heart of Manhattan, but heavy traffic can make driving an intimidating experience. It’s difficult to find parking within the city and (it’s) usually expensive if you do. Getting to New York City by car is not recommended.”
An About Travel blogger who also offers tips for driving in NYC says, “Once you’re in the city, most people find that they don’t need a car, because you can easily take taxis or the subway to get where you’re going. The cost of parking your car adds up quickly, especially if you’ll be visiting for several days, and driving your own car around New York City rarely makes sense.”