San Francisco is in many ways a unique city. It has a unique climate, location, layout and unique beauty. It also has a unique set of social factors that make it a more dangerous place to drive and walk in and a more likely place to be involved in an injury accident than many, if not most, other major cities around the US. There are several objective factors that make San Francisco’s road more dangerous:
Tourists drivers and pedestrians. There are plenty of people on San Francisco’s roads that don’t know where they are going, especially during the summer and fall months of the tourists season. These people are naturally likely to make sudden stops and turns. Pedestrians from out of town might not be aware of how quickly some of the drivers take turns and how important it is to look out of the cars that turn into the crosswalk. They sometimes walk way too slowly, being too confident in the drivers’ ability to see them and be as careful as they should.
Poorly maintained road signs. While a lot of effort has been invested into improving and renewing the road signs in the city, there is still a lot of space for improvement. Some of the most common issues are “worn out” double yellow lines, not so obvious one way signs that make people drive in the wrong direction, and stop signs that “hide” behind the short bush-alike trees. For someone who is well familiar with where he/she drives, it might not be a big issue, but for tourists and out-of-towners in general, it presents a particular risk of driving the wrong way and skipping stop signs.
Drivers who are looking for parking. If you are driving on a typical street of mixed use (commercial and residential), chances are that the driver in front of you is going around looking for parking. That’s the driver that’s like to get excited and suddenly stop in the middle of the road if they see a possible parking spot. That’s also the same drivers that may make a u-turn unexpectedly to take the parking spot on the other side of the road.
Stressed out “professionals” who are always in a hurry. These are the aggressive drivers who tailgate, who pass every car they can and who hunk at a car in front of them a fraction of a second after the light turns green.
Imagine a combination of two or more of the above factors, such as an aggressive “professional” driver behind a tourist driver or a pedestrian from out of town, and you have a recipe for a rear-ender, caused by simple human impatience.