The 10 Cities Safest for Driving in the Dead of Winter

By: Bridget Clerkin January 8, 2019
Allstate’s list of the best cities for winter driving was determined by collecting data on how much precipitation an area gets and corresponding roadway collision reports.
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year—until you have to drive in it.

So much Yuletide joy is derived from spending cold days in cozy atmospheres, snuggled up with hot drinks, warm blankets, and good company. That’s why venturing anywhere beyond the reaches of our walls becomes that much more problematic in the winter, especially when there’s snow or ice on the ground.

In 2019 in particular, drivers may be put doubly on alert during these darker, colder months, as a wetter-than-normal season has been predicted for large parts of the southern and eastern United States.

Still, some cities seem to roll with Mother Nature’s punches better than others.

Insurance company Allstate has crunched the numbers to come up with this year’s ranking of America’s top cities for winter driving.

The list is an extension of the company’s annual report on the best drivers in the US, which tabulates a number of statistics for the country’s 200 most-populated cities.

Included in the analysis is how frequently, on average, drivers in a given region go between making insurance claims, as well as the number of hard-braking events taking place in the area for every 1,000 miles driven.

To determine how inclement weather further impacts those stats, Allstate utilizes a predictive model that takes into account the fact that weather patterns are breathtakingly different across the country. The algorithm also factors in how much precipitation an area gets, on average, and corresponding roadway collision reports.

Still, regardless of where you live, winter traffic conditions can be improved by hewing to a few universal rules of safe winter driving.

Keep reading to see which cities are really nailing this winter driving thing—and why they’ve earned their ranking on the list.

10—McAllen, Texas

The border city in Southern Texas marks the first of several appearances from the Lone Star State—which certainly gets its fair share of precipitation.

Making McAllen stand out among the rest is its impressive average number of years between insurance claims, which came in at 11.5 years, compared to the annual average rate of 10 years. All that, despite dealing with 19.5 inches of precipitation a year, on average.

9—Fort Collins, Colorado

While the Colorado town sees just 16.1 inches of precipitation—a comparatively small amount of water from the sky each year—its drivers do an above-par job of handling those situations when they occur.

Fort Collins drivers are responsible for just 14.5 hard braking incidents for every 1,000 miles of driving—far below the national average of 19 incidents across the same distance.

8—Midland, Texas

Midland Texas is one of the 10 safest places to drive in bad weather.

The second Texas offering on the list gets even less rain and snow than Fort Collins—at just 14.8 inches a year on average—and does an even better job of driving in it.

Residents there only need to file an insurance claim during the winter months at an average of once every 13 years, outpacing the national average of 10 years.

7—Laredo, Texas

Meanwhile, in Laredo, drivers average 11.7 years between cold weather claims, though the city received a boost on the list for dealing with more weather in general: an average of 20.2 inches of precipitation per year.

6—Cape Coral, Florida

At a whopping average of 57.1 inches per year, the Sunshine State city deals with more precipitation than any other metropolitan area in the top 10.

And yet drivers there take as long as 12.6 years between insurance claims (compared to the national average of 10 years), while recording only 15.9 hard braking incidents for every 1,000 miles driven—as opposed to the national average of 19.

5—Madison, Wisconsin

With its place as the coldest city on the list, many of Madison’s annual 34.5 inches of precipitation come in the form of snow.

But the hardy Midwesterners that call the place home make for formidable bad-weather drivers, boasting an impressive average of 14.9 years between cold weather insurance claims and a comparatively miniscule 8.8 hard braking incidents for every 1,000 miles.

4—Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho in the snow

It may be technically located in the Wild West, but Boise drivers are exceptionally safe when it comes to dealing with snow and rain.

At an average of 11.7 inches per year, the city sees less precipitation than any other area on the list. But drivers there still averaged a respectable 13.8 hard braking incidents for every 1,000 miles and 12.5 years between accident claims.

3—Huntsville, Alabama

This Alabama town is at the mercy of the rainstorms that regularly visit the Southeast and bring 54.3 inches of precipitation per year, on average.

Yet drivers there have apparently adapted well to the weather, recording an average of just 16.3 hard braking incidents for every 1,000 miles—compared to 19 nationally—and a reputable 13.5 years between auto insurance claims.

2—Kansas City, Kansas

On the Kansas side of the river, drivers treat the bad weather with the amount of respect that could only be expected from Midwestern manners.

Kansas City, Kansas sees an average of just 13.7 hard braking incidents for every 1,000 miles, with residents there typically going 12.2 years between cold weather insurance claims—all despite dealing with an average of 39.1 inches of precipitation per year.

1—Brownsville, Texas

Brownsville, Texas, the safest place to drive in bad weather.

Still, the top spot goes to Texas, with Brownsville claiming this year’s title of safest winter driving city.

The bragging rights are thanks in part to Brownsville’s impressive 14.3-year average between wintery accident claims, even though the city dumps an average of 27.4 inches of precipitation on its residents every year.

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