by Josh Depeel
Sacramento has been the victim of numerous storms as of late. This week alone has brought down two inches of rainfall and raised concerns about the possibility of flooding. While this time of year can serve as a reminder to get new wiper blades, it also reiterates the incompetency of fellow drivers out on the slick roads.
California drivers are stereotypically considered some of the worst in the country. In polls ranking states drivers through a combination of factors such as DUI arrests, fatality rates, and amount of uninsured drivers, California routinely places in the upper quadrant. Let’s not pretend that this reputation is undeserved. If you’ve gone to the Bay Area or Southern California you know exactly what I’m referring to. Heck, the term “California Stop” is widely recognized and committed by the majority of us drivers.
Despite these numerous quirks that Californians share out on the road, do we deserve to be labeled as some of the worst drivers in the country? We know that our body of work per se is more impressive than that of other states. However, when you have two of the most populated cities in the entire nation, numbers are likely to be inflated. The condensed nature of cities makes for a greater possibility of accidents and a smaller margin of error for drivers out on the road. Factor in the increased output of alcoholic serving venues and you will see an increase in the amount of DUI’s that might occur.
Granted, there are far more citizens spread throughout our large state than just those living in Los Angeles and San Francisco. These massive population centers, however, serve as outliers and elevate our state averages. In statistics provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety, the average amount of accidents per citizen in Los Angeles was more than double that of Folsom ( 1 to .4).
Now I don’t mean to say that everyone else not living in those two cities is driving like angels. In fact, there have been numerous occasions where I’ve gotten infuriated at the complete disregard of certain drivers to satisfy the rules of the road. But if you pay attention, you’ll note that there are far fewer of these people than there are good drivers. The sheer ineptness of those select few is often so blatant though that you forget about the other fifteen cars around you practicing safe driving techniques.
Taking this into account, I’d go so far as to say that a majority of California drivers are great. The two large cities and an inexplicably idiotic handful of drivers just give us a bad name. Whether you drive a Prius or a lifted truck, just know that we’re all on the same team out there. For those portion of people who ignore traffic laws, ask yourself this question: is endangering the safety of others out on the road really worth getting to a place a few minutes earlier? Stay safe out there folks.