Report says Huntsville is safe for drivers, but the rest of the state? Not so much

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - A new report says Huntsville is one of the safest areas in Alabama to drive.

Allstate Insurance's Best Drivers report lists Huntsville as the fourth-safest driving city in America. But the rest of the state doesn't fare as well.

Safewise ranks Alabama as the second-deadliest state for driving, with 21.3 car crash fatalities per 100,000 people. The national average is 11.6.

The state also ranked fifth for impaired driving deaths at 6.6 per 100,000. Impaired driving isn't just drinking and driving; it's using your cell phone, drugs or even just being too tired to be behind the wheel.

"We try to beat ourselves up and make that extra five or 10 miles, but it may not be worth it because it may be the last mile of your life," said Alabama State Troopers spokesman Curtis Summerville.

No matter what kind of impairment you may face, officers say the most important thing to have before leaving your house is a plan.

"Get a plan. we want you to go out, have a good time, enjoy the football games, enjoy the holiday season," Summerville said. "But have some type of plan in place as far as getting a designated driver or a place to stay, or simply make the decision to not drink at all."

Speed, not wearing a seat belt and lack of sleep are all factors in fatal crashes. But alcohol is one of the biggest factors in deadly accidents.

"We have a little bit of a misconception about alcohol," Summerville said. "You may think I could have a few drinks and I`m okay. Anytime you put alcohol in your system ... it immediately starts to affect you, and there are sometimes very subtle effects and you have to be cognizant of those subtle effects."

Huntsville police say they will be manning checkpoints in and around the city over the weekend, giving drivers another reason to play it safe.