Originally Posted by Clifton
When I was in Italy a few years ago I heard that they actually have fewer crashes - not death rates but just crashes - per capita than in the US. If you think NY cab drivers are scary, you have seen nothing until you've been to Italy and its 8 ft. wide roads and CRAZY-ASS TERRIFYING drivers. But they hardly ever crash.
I think that is explained just like the OP is: you have to always be alert in condensed areas when driving - especially condensed areas that are known for erratic drivers - NY and Mass. have been mentioned, and I grew up right outside DC and believe me that's tough as hell too. People are just better, more conditioned drivers in those areas.
I also think driving a manual as opposed to an automatic keeps you more alert. I would be willing to bet that manual drivers have a disproportionately low accident rate, despite that fast, risky cars purchased by aggressive drivers are more likely to be manual. Just a hunch.
I don't have any direct data to prove this, but I'm pretty sure another contributing factor is that many of the states in the Northeast are more strict when it comes to teenage drivers. They're more serious about texting while driving, and I'm pretty sure on average a teenage obtaining a drivers license is a more strenuous process - whereas in many of the states in the south and west, the texting while driving laws aren't as enforced and it's easier for a teen to obtain a license.