Bakersfield Among the Least Safe Cities for Drivers, New Study Finds

May 8, 2024 | Article by Chain | Cohn | Clark staff

Bakersfield Among the Least Safe Cities for Drivers, New Study Finds

Bakersfield ranks as the fifth least safe place to drive in, according to a recent study by Forbes Advisor comparing the most populated cities in the Unites States.

The study analyzed 15 metrics spanning four key categories — driving experience, safety, cost of car ownership, and access to car maintenance — among the 47 most populated cities, including Bakersfield. The score for each category was measured on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 representing the worst performance in that category. On the other end, Bakersfield ranked No. 2 overall for “driving experience,” meaning local drivers deal with minimal traffic congestion.

For the safety component, the study analyzed the number of fatal car accidents per 100,000 city residents, via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also identified the number of car thefts per 100,000 residents, via the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

In summary, Bakersfield ranked as follows in each main category:

Driving Experience Score: 2.47 – Considers six metrics, including the number of hours lost in traffic congestion per year.

  • Bakersfield ranked No. 2 overal in this category, meaning local drivers deal with minimal traffic congestion. Fresno ranked No. 1.

Safety Score: 78.36 – Considers the number of fatal car accidents and car thefts per 100,000 residents.

  • Bakersfield ranked the No. 5 worst safety score, behind Albuquerque (1), Memphis (2), Kansas City (3), and Louisville (4).

Cost of Car Ownership Score: 34.11 – Considers the average annual car insurance premium, the amount of money spent on gas due to congestion per year and average gas prices.

Access to Car Maintenance Score: 67.16 – Considers the number of car repair shops, car washes, parking lots and electric vehicle charging stations.

Overall Score: 39.54

Roads are increasingly busy; travel on the nation’s highways and streets climbed by 2.1% in 2023 to 3.3 trillion miles, setting a new annual record, according to the Department of Transportation.

“Drivers in some cities have it worse than others during their daily commute due to frequent car accidents, heavy traffic congestion, high gas prices and challenges with accessing car maintenance,” according to the Forbes study authors.

Among the key takeways for the national study:

  • Oakland, California, tops the list of worst cities to drive in, followed by Miami, Florida; San Francisco, California; Houston, Texas; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Along with Oakland and San Francisco, two additional California cities rank among the top 20 worst cities to drive in: Los Angeles and Long Beach.
  • Two of the top 10 best cities to drive in are located in North Carolina: Raleigh and Charlotte.
  • Boston, Massachusetts ranks worst for driving experience, Albuquerque, New Mexico is the worst city for driver safety, New York City is the most expensive city to own a car, and drivers in Memphis, Tennessee have the worst access to car maintenance.

Taking into account the following safety tips and staying vigilant, drivers can navigate even the most challenging cities more safely. However, accidents can still happen, and it’s essential to know your rights and options if you are involved in a collision. Consulting with an experienced accident and injury law firm can help you understand your legal rights and options for seeking compensation for your losses.

  1. Stay alert and focused: Driving in congested cities demands your full attention. Avoid distractions such as cell phones, eating, or adjusting the radio.
  2. Maintain a safe following distance: Leave enough space between your vehicle and the one in front of you to allow for sudden stops or lane changes.
  3. Obey traffic laws: Follow speed limits, traffic signals, and signs to reduce the risk of accidents and citations.
  4. Be prepared for unexpected situations: Be ready to react to sudden lane changes, pedestrians, or cyclists, especially in densely populated areas.
  5. Keep your vehicle well-maintained: Regular maintenance can help prevent breakdowns and ensure your car is in optimal condition for city driving.
  6. Consider alternative transportation options: When possible, use public transportation, carpooling, or ride-sharing services to reduce traffic congestion and the risk of accidents.
  7. Stay informed about road conditions: Check for updates on traffic, construction, or weather-related issues that may affect your route.
  8. Carry proper insurance coverage: Ensure you have adequate car insurance to protect yourself and others in case of an accident.


If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Clark by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form, text, or chat with us at