Kentucky placed 10th best in the nation in a recent QuoteWizard study of the country’s best and worst driving states. However, when the research team took a closer look at the 50 largest cities in the Bluegrass State, Frankfort didn’t fare well.
In fact, with its wonky one-way streets and a heavy flow of state government traffic that funnels into and out of the city each weekday, Frankfort placed ninth worst in the state for driving.
Perhaps our town — especially with all the construction detours on East Main Street and near the Capital Plaza redevelopment project — is more difficult to navigate than we thought. Plus, when you throw in a vast number of morning and evening commuters and visitors who don’t understand the ever-changing downtown street patterns, things can get a bit messy.
If it makes us feel any better, the capital city's traffic is not nearly as bad as Fort Campbell North, which sits on the Kentucky-Tennessee line and earned the title of worst driving city. Fort Thomas, Lyndon, La Grange and Jeffersontown rounded out the worst five and nearby Lawrenceburg earned 15th.
Ironically, Lexington with its notorious Nicholasville Road — known for traffic backups, congestion and accidents — was 24th worst on the list.
The study evaluated driver quality based on 2018 data of more than 43,000 insurance quotes to find the rate of overall incidents in each city — including accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs and citations.
Despite being about a stone’s throw from Fort Campbell North (the city with the worst drivers), Hopkinsville, in Christian County, was named the best driving city. Winchester took second, followed by Middlesborough, Franklin and Somerset. Also ranked among the top 25 best driving cities were Shelbyville (10), Georgetown (15), Louisville (19) and Versailles (25).
Frankfort’s traffic woes extend farther than a two-way West Main Street will fix, although that change will help a lot. Situated in a valley with a river running through it, the capital city, unlike Hopkinsville and Winchester — the two top driving cities in the state — does not have routes and bypasses encircling the city. Even with the East-West Connector, Wilkinson Boulevard and West Frankfort Connector, there is no continuous traffic flow for the mass of weekday commuters.
But perhaps there is a silver lining to being named among the 10 worst cities for motorists — it may drive more people to reside here rather than commute in from elsewhere.