Buice column: Does Clemmons really have the worst drivers in the state?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 6, 2019

A list of the worst drivers in North Carolina is out, and guess who’s No. 1?

Yes, Clemmons has claimed the top (or worst) spot in the ratings put out by QuoteWizard, which is in the insurance lead business.

I know traffic in the Village can be bad at times, particularly during the rush hours and lunchtime, but do we really have the worst drivers in the state? Worse than Charlotte or Raleigh, or even Winston-Salem or Greensboro?

Perhaps QuoteWizard representatives came to the Village — if that even happened — for a drive down Lewisville-Clemmons Road at the wrong time, which is most of the time.

After the initial shock of seeing Clemmons at No. 1, I had to dig a bit deeper to see what went into the rankings and the methodology involved.

It states that the QuoteWizard research team evaluated driver quality from the 50 largest cities in North Carolina by population: “We analyzed 2018 data of over 80,000 insurance quotes from N.C. drivers using QuoteWizard to find the rate of overall incidents in each city. Incidents include accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs and citations.”

Commenting specifically on Clemmons, it stated: “With a busy I-40 running southwest of the larger city (Winston-Salem) into Clemmons, there’s plenty of road traffic to rack up incidents in the city. Forsyth County accounted for 42 road fatalities, 11.16 per 100,000 residents, in 2017.”

More specific numbers weren’t provided for all the municipalities in the online report, but looking at that last sentence regarding Forsyth County as a whole, why is Winston-Salem ranked No. 20 for having the best drivers?

By the way, Greensboro ranks No. 11 for the best drivers while Charlotte and Raleigh come in at No. 21 and No. 22, respectively. Oh, and Kernersville, our similar-size neighbor to the east in Forsyth County, is ranked No. 23 for best drivers. For what it’s worth, the Tar Heel state ranked 18th for the worst-driving state in the country.

I’m not sure how much sense this all makes, but QuoteWizard may at least get a boost in its business with all the online clicks.

Now, I guess we can wait with great anticipation to see if the medians that are in the plans to be added down the road on Lewisville-Clemmons Road will make a difference. Hey, like them or not, it can’t get any worse than this negative No. 1.

• • • • •

There’s nothing quite like the view entering Pittsburgh through the Fort Pitt Tunnel.

Yes, even better than, say, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe or the Canadian Rockies from my biased point of view.

Then there was Skip Prosser, a Pittsburgher and the highly successful basketball coach at Wake Forest who left us way too early, once saying “Coming through the Fort Pitt Tunnel into downtown is the most beautiful thing in the world.”

As a lifelong Pittsburgh Pirates fan who has family there and saw my first baseball game in old Forbes Field many years ago, if you’re visiting for the first time, you don’t even know what’s ahead when you enter Pittsburgh coming from the airport and heading down a long hill on I-376 (Parkway West). You feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, except for the traffic, before going through the tunnel and then, BOOM.

The city skyline explodes before your eyes, and then as you look to the left on the other side of the river, there is Heinz Field, where the Steelers play, and PNC Park, home of the Pirates. It’s amazing.

And once inside PNC Park, which faces downtown, all those skyscrapers provide a beautiful backdrop by one of baseball’s crown jewel ballparks.

As for the product on the field, well, in a recent visit I did see Josh Bell hit a ball over 450 feet into the Allegheny River on the fly — only the fifth player to do so since the park opened in 2000 — but it looks like it’s going to be another long year for the injury-ravaged Pirates.

I do plan to return in July for the 1979 “We Are Family” reunion when the Pirates celebrate the team’s last World Series championship 40 years ago.

Seems like a lifetime.

But there’s always the view.