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It’s not unusual for drivers just about anywhere to claim that other drivers in their locale are the worst. Orangeburg is no exception. But just how does Orangeburg stack up as a place to drive?

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QuoteWizard is offering some insight through analyzing data from the 50 largest cities in South Carolina by population. A market leader in the U.S. insurance lead industry, QuoteWizard used 2018 data from more than 50,000 insurance quotes from South Carolina drivers to find the rate of overall incidents in each city. Incidents include accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs and moving citations.

It should come as no shock that the increasingly difficult places to drive such as cities in the Charleston, Greenville and Columbia metro areas rank poorly in driver quality. But what cities are the worst?

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QuoteWizard has Simpsonville, James Island and Goose Creek as the three worst. Mauldin, Lexington, Ladson, West Columbia and Mount Pleasant are in the top 10. And so is Greenwood.

In the top 25 are: Hanahan, Aiken, City of Charleston, Spartanburg, Rock Hill, Dentsville and Irmo.

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QuoteWizard minces no words about its findings: “If you’re a motorist in South Carolina and have ever thought ‘we have the worst drivers,’ you would be correct. South Carolina over the last few years has consistently ranked among the worst driving states in QuoteWizard’s annual studies of best and worst drivers – topping out at second worst in the county in 2018. … To put it bluntly, South Carolina drivers are bad.”

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So what about Orangeburg? Not only is the Garden City not on the “worst” list, it is ranked as the sixth-best driving city in South Carolina. It trails No. 1 Clemson, Port Royal, North Myrtle Beach, Sumter and Florence. Rounding out the top 10 are Myrtle Beach, Conway, Moncks Corner and Red Hill.

In the top 25 are Bluffton, Cayce, City of Columbia, City of Greenville, North August and North Charleston.

So there you have it: The City of Orangeburg is not so bad. But before tucking that away, consider the City of Orangeburg is home to far less than half of the people calling Greater Orangeburg their home.

The city’s population is 13,000 people while the population within a 15-mile radius of the city is 17,000. Not all of those people can be labeled as residents of Greater Orangeburg, but a sizable number are. And they are drivers in Greater Orangeburg, which if included in the QuoteWizard statistics would surely change the view of safety locally.

More revealing and sobering numbers come weekly from the S.C. Department of Public Safety, which for 2019 to date shows Orangeburg County with 30 traffic deaths. That compares to 33 at this time a year ago.

Orangeburg County annually has the highest or near-highest per-capital highway death rate. In real numbers, the county ranks eighth in total traffic deaths so far in 2019, behind only counties with much larger populations such as Richland, Charleston, Greenville, Lexington, Horry and Spartanburg.

The county is the state’s second largest in land area. It has among the most interstate miles. It has a vast network of dangerous rural roads. Combine those with the dangers of driving in a busy micropolitan area at the county’s center and the combination yields a lot of danger on the road.

So forget about the rankings. Being a good driver is the responsibility of each motorist. And driving alertly and defensively here – and everywhere – is crucial to preventing crashes – and staying alive.

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