Can we just shut up about Portland drivers?

One of the things that really chaps my hide when it snows in Portland is hearing all the non-natives complain about how “unprepared” Portland is for snow, and how the non-natives seem to think that Portland drivers are worse than any other drivers (particularly the drivers in the non-natives’ home town, of course).

This is bullshit and a myth.

And I’ll prove it.

There were more winter traffic accidents, per-capita, in the Greater Anchorage, Alaska, area in 2003 and 2004, than there were in the same time period in Portland, OR. The total numbers of accidents reported were fairly close, in spite of the fact that the Greater Anchorage area population is about half of the city of Portland.

Portland traffic statistics are from the Oregon Department of Transportation website.

Greater Anchorage traffic statistics are from the Alaska Department of Transportation website.

I made a little chart that can be viewed online. I don’t think it can be changed but I’ll get an email if it is, so don’t think to mess with my data!

For the record, I’m not a statistics guru. I realize that I may be comparing apples and oranges here. For one thing, the Metropolitan Portland population, including the ‘Couve, Beavertron, and Gresham and other outlying areas, is much larger than the Greater Anchorage area. If anyone wants to suggest cities of comparable sizes, I’m more than happy to try it again. I just picked Anchorage because I figured Alaskans would “know how to drive in the snow” and because I found their accident reports online.

I thought Detroit, Michigan would be another good choice to compare. Maybe Buffalo. Fargo, North Dakota? Or, maybe I’ll get bored and move on to something else.

I’m sure anyone out there who wants to dispute my quickie analysis will speak right up. Feel free! That’s what science is all about.

Until then, though: suck it, non-Portlanders!