May 12, 2010 / 8:26 PM / 9 years ago

Baltimore deemed worst U.S. city for drivers

A lone vehicle heading northbound (foreground) drives by as southbound traffic is at a crawl at the toll plaza to the entrance of the Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore, Maryland October 18, 2005. REUTERS/Joe Giza

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - If you want to play it safe when driving it might be best to stay away from Baltimore, Johnstown, Pennsylvania and Portland, Maine.

The three eastern U.S. cities are the most dangerous for drivers, according to a new poll by, an online auto insurance company.

“We expected that cities like Chicago and Los Angeles would be high up there, but were surprised that it was actually the smaller cities that had more accidents,” said Thomas Tennant, a spokesman for

Des Moines in Iowa and Erie, Pennsylvania rounded out the top five cities in the online survey based on self-reported accidents by more than 500,000 drivers.

The poll did not include Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts or New York.

Tennant said one possible explanation for the lack of major urban areas in the top rankings is that there is no stereotypical “big city driver” and that anyone can find themselves in a fender bender at just about any time.

But he added that certain behaviors, particularly texting and talking on a cellphone while driving, increase the risk of accidents.

Bangor in Maine, Birmingham in Alabama, Austin, Texas and Manchester in New Hampshire and Lincoln, Nebraska completed the top 10 most dangerous cities for drives, according to the poll.

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