91.7% of drivers in the Lone Star State are insured — and probably for good reason.
Texan motorists are notorious for driving past the speed limit.
1,426 people had been killed in vehicle crashes so far in 2021, according to a May article from Bryan-based news channel KBTX News 3. Officers with the Texas Department of Transportation said speedy drivers and people not wearing seat belts are common problems.
“Went to Texas a couple years ago to visit some family. Got to Dallas airport and rented a car just in time to hit the rush hour traffic … Drivers weaving in and out of traffic with hardly any room. We're driving 70 or so and these yahoos are passing us like we're standing still,” complains borg23 on Reddit.
While Texan drivers are often criticized for going over the speed limit, Hawaiian motorists seem to have the opposite problem.
“Lollygagging” — or driving slowly in the far left lane — has reportedly resulted in accidents, traffic jams and no shortage of road rage.
“I would like to blame it on lost/distracted tourists and elderly folks, but it just may be a coincidence that those are the kinds of people I'm seeing in the driver's seat of those slow, indecisive, unpredictable vehicles,” writes one_crack_nacnac on Reddit.
90.7% of drivers in the Aloha State have auto insurance and there are 4.29 DUI arrests for every 1,000 drivers.
22 (tie). Oregon
The Beaver State drivers also tend to be more cautious on the roads.
“I’ve been in Oregon for 25 years and other drivers just make me give up on the human race sometimes. They drive as if they have a flask of water on the dashboard that they are trying not to tip over. Acceleration? Nah, let's just let the idle of the engine bring us up to highway speed. Oh, and apparently in Oregon, yield means stop and stay still for longer than you would at a normal stop sign,” says Fallingdamage on Reddit.
That caution might be warranted as state officials and local media regularly warn residents to avoid wildlife collisions, which see an uptick in the months of November and December.
Oregon also has 4.25 DUI arrests for every 1,000 drivers and 1.37 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles travelled.
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22 (tie). Georgia
The Peach State might be renowned for its Southern hospitality, but it ties for 22nd place when it comes to terrible driving.
Georgia has 1.12 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles travelled and 87.6% of drivers are insured.
The city of Atlanta gets a particularly bad rap for its rush-hour traffic and speeding incidents.
“We would give up our own first born if it meant 10 seconds less in this hell on earth traffic. Moving to a slower state in 2 months. I can’t take the ridiculous stress and anxiety involved while driving GA’s highways, it sucks every joyful thing about this city away,” says supapandaninjas on Reddit.
In the Old Line State, nearly 86% of motorists have car insurance, but Maryland reports 4.07 DUI arrests for every 1,000 drivers.
“For the past two months I cannot count the number of times I have nearly died or gotten into an accident by crazy stressed out Maryland drivers. I have almost been forced off the road by people speeding from behind then weaving into my lane right in front of me. Turn signals aren't even an option, they are just a notice that I have already moved into your lane already … BTW, yellow lights just mean speed speed speed,” writes drivingmadness45 on Reddit.
A 2021 WalletHub report calls out Baltimore for being one of the most unsafe cities to drive in, particularly for safety and traffic and infrastructure.
Only 78% of drivers in the Evergreen State are insured — one of the lowest rates on this list — and the state also has 4.84 DUI arrests for every 1,000 drivers.
Seattle, one of the country’s most congested areas, has been criticized for both its speedy, aggressive drivers and slow, timid ones, reports Seattle public radio KUOW.
“I have been hit and run three times in three years in Seattle. I temporarily live in London. When I get back, I'm buying a camera.” says Redditor jmicklos.
This Southern state also ranks poorly for its drivers with its capital city of Baton Rouge usually pegged as the worst.
Regional magazine The Advocate says motorists in Baton Rouge either drive aggressively “with a murderous intent to steamroll every other vehicle” or too politely — always offering you the courtesy of taking the next turn “as a queue of angry drivers forms behind them.”
Louisiana has 1.42 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles travelled and 88.3% of drivers are insured.
“I just don't get it here. Most of the people are some of the nicest people you'll ever meet but as soon as they get into a car it's like a hellhound took over their soul,” says packpeach on Reddit.
The Gem State isn’t exactly treasured for the deeds of its drivers, ranking below average on SmartAsset’s list.
86.8% of drivers are insured, but there are 6.30 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers, which is relatively high compared to other states.
Idaho only recently introduced a hands-free cell phone law (drivers can no longer hold an electronic device while on the road, including while at a red light or stop sign), with tickets beginning to be issued in Jan. 2021.
“I relate driving in Boise to my high school days when all the kids got their license and school just let out and everyone was racing off campus and around that area … That's what driving in Boise feels like. It's like driving with a bunch of high school aged kids rushing to leave school right after the bell went off, only, it's not kids … It's everyone everywhere,” writes Redditor Gryffindumble.
16 (tie). New Mexico
Only 78.2% of drivers are insured and there are 1.53 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in the Land of Enchantment.
SafeWise says New Mexico lands among the most dangerous states for driving, particularly for speeding, distracted driving and drunk driving fatalities.
“Albuquerque drivers are horrendous. One thing that pisses me off immensely is that about 1/3 of ABQ drivers never use their blinkers. It's almost as if they don't know they exist. They just weave in and out of traffic w/o a care in the world,” says chaosgriffin on Reddit.
16 (tie). Alaska
Alaskan drivers have the misfortune of both limited daylight and icy roads, so perhaps they can be excusing for performing poorly on SmartAsset’s rankings.
“In addition to animals on the road — really big unpredictable animals like moose — you face additional hazards … Frozen roads mean ice — white ice you can see and black ice you can't see so a normal looking road can actually include a patch of ice to send you skidding. Snowy roads mean many things - the light powder snow of the Interior that means frozen skidding intersections, the oatmeal snow of southcentral that means pulling on your steering, and both of those plus slushy snow in southeast that means slipping, sliding, sucking shoulders kind of snow,” says Lisa Marie on Quora.
83.9% of drivers have auto insurance but there are also 5.39 DUI arrests for every 1,000 drivers in the state.
Sometimes dubbed the Mile High State for its high elevation, Colorado’s also got a bit of a reputation for residents driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The state reported a conviction rate of 88% for DUI charges in 2018 and SmartAsset says there are 4.64 DUI arrests for every 1,000 drivers.
In Jan. 2021, CBS Denver reported that 47% of drivers that are tested are testing positive for marijuana (followed by amphetamines and cocaine), according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. And the Colorado State Patrol said DUI arrests involving marijuana were up 48% in the last year.
“It boils down to this: Colorado is a transient state. People from all regions of the country converge on the road with completely different driving styles. Each suited for the region they came from. This is the recipe for interesting driving. Colorado is the driving equivalent of Mulligan Stew,” writes UsedHotDogWater on Reddit.
14. South Carolina
89.1% of drivers in South Carolina have auto insurance, perhaps due to high driving fatalities — there are 1.73 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in the state.
“I quickly became convinced that people here learn to drive by putting on human-sized horse blinders, breaking the turn signal off of the steering column of their cars, always cruise the left-most lane of whatever road you're on, and being told that you should just drive whatever speed you feel like, which in the south nearly always means SLOW,” says Redditor Emfuser.
The city of Charleston is considered one of the worst places in the country for dangerous driving. According to Insurify, over 15% of drivers have a speeding ticket on their record and almost 17% are with an at-fault accident.
Driving can get pretty rough-and-tumble in the Cowboy State, which reports 7.50 DUI arrests for every 1,000 drivers. That’s the highest DUI rate in the country.
Wyoming’s also known for poor winter weather conditions, which makes it even more stressful to drive in.
“I routinely watch these people drive like morons when the ground blizzards, snow, and ice are blatantly obvious, the wind is pushing their vehicle around like crazy, and the signs everywhere have reduced speed limits and weather warnings. You have to be a complete moron and completely lacking in common sense not to stop somewhere or at least slow the hell down, not tailgate people, etc,” says one Redditor.
Alabama has only 0.01 DUI arrests for every 1,000 drivers but there are 1.30 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in the state.
Twitter user @IanHoppe believes it’s the city of Birmingham that has some of the worst drivers in the country, blaming the growing population, lack of public transportation and abundance of Southern Politeness (SP).
“A high rate of SP means we don’t properly shame bad driving with honking horns. Birmingham has not crossed the Honk Threshold … The Honk Threshold is where population size, population density, and population diversity all increase enough to water-down the collective sense of SP.”
The Natural State is considered one of the most disaster-prone states for heavy rain flooding and thunder-and-lightning storms. It’s also the most dangerous state for driving in the rain, according to a 2018 report from Safewise.
80.7% of drivers in Arkansas are insured and there are 1.36 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in the state.
Plenty of crashes occur in wet weather and one resident told Little Rock station ABC7 On Your Side that he didn’t think kids got enough training for driving in certain weather conditions.
“I know the driving [in Little Rock] hasn't been great my whole life, but I swear, most younger folks seem to have learned to drive using Grand Theft Auto,” writes conwaytwt on Reddit.
83.6% of drivers have car insurance in the Show Me State, but there are 3.33 DUI arrests for every 1,000 drivers.
Although Missouri doesn’t allow drivers to drink while driving, the state doesn’t bar them for having open containers of alcohol beside them. NPR station KCUR-FM 89.3 says researchers have found that enforcing open container restrictions reduces drinking and driving by 17%.
“You're more likely to see road rage here but you're also more likely to end up stuck at a stop sign while everyone competes for most polite driver and won't actually go,” says Redditor foxmom on driving in the city of Springfield.
The Bluegrass State lands in the bottom 10 for bad driving — but you can’t just blame the occasional runaway racehorse (re: Bold and Bossy) for causing accidents.
“There are a lot of issues with Louisville drivers, but the texting and driving here is particularly out of control. I have lived here since 2014, and in that time I have had two cars totaled by texters running red lights. Just last week, I nearly had a third incident at the same intersection as one of the first two (Grade Lane & Preston),” says CassiopeTetragona on Reddit.
There are 5.14 DUI arrests for every 1,000 drivers and 1.48 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in the state.
Arizona has the 10th highest fatality rate, at 1.40 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled and there are 3.36 DUI arrests for every 1,000 drivers.
Some believe the state often lands in the worst drivers rankings because of motorists from all across the country passing through the state with their diverse driving styles.
“Everyone’s a transplant here. The 202/i10/101 are really just cocktails of awful driving habits from each state all forced into 5 lanes,” says 480mid-shelf-dank on Reddit.
The city of Phoenix is also notorious for its bad traffic and the intersections of Interstate 17 and Interstate 10 and Interstate 10 and the U.S. 60 are considered some of the worst areas in the country for congestion.
6 (tie). Tennessee
The Volunteer State dropped from third to sixth place this year in SmartAsset’s ranking, however it’s still a state with some of the worst drivers in the nation.
In Tennessee, only 76.3% of drivers are insured — the third lowest percentage across all the states — and there are 3.50 DUI arrests for every 1,000 drivers.
“What really makes me crazy is that people think they are being nice by slowing down to a crawl in order to let people merge from an on-ramp. It's not so nice for the people behind them. Not so nice,” says MattmanTN on Reddit.
6 (tie). Oklahoma
The Sooner State has the sixth-highest fatality rate on the list, at 1.43 per 100 million vehicle miles driven, and there are 3.59 DUI arrests for every 1,000 drivers.
In 2019, 24 people were killed in Oklahoma due to wrong-way driving crashes, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.
The National Transportation Safety Board says alcohol impairment is the “single most significant factor” in most wrong-way driving crashes.
“I often make the joke that OKC drivers always look like they just discovered highways: They either drive with utter insanity, or coast along — including a rolling roadblock with miles of cars backed up, nothing but open highway in front, and three or four drivers just … cruising,” says Redditor WhoAmIThisDay.
The Silver State has the highest rate in SmartAsset’s Google search metric. While nearly 90% of drivers in the state are insured, Nevada has the seventh-highest DUI arrest rate, at 5.44 per 1,000 drivers.
Some say Las Vegas is the worst off, due to the many tourists that arrive for the city’s glittering casino Strip.
“Because a great deal of the drivers are tourists, many of whom are from other countries where the rules of the road are different, or where they don't have to drive because of their excellent public transportation systems. They also have no idea where they are going and they're also dazzled by the shiny lights of the casinos and tourist attractions,” says the_wandering_nerd on Reddit.
Floridian drivers have a reputation for being particularly rude on the roads.
Some blame the heat, others say it’s because of all the tourists and out-of-towners and a few point fingers at all the seniors and snowbirds.
Only 79.6% of drivers are insured — that’s the sixth-lowest percentage across all the states — and the state has the ninth-highest number of fatalities, at 1.41 per 100 million vehicle miles driven.
“There's a dangerous combination of overly aggressive and/or distracted drivers (everywhere), old people doing 10 under the speed limit (Florida), and tourists who are completely lost (Orlando),” says UsuallyJustLurking on Reddit.
The Golden State doesn’t shine when it comes to driving — SmartAsset says it has more drivers than any other state in the country, but only 83.4% are insured.
California also has the 15th-highest number of DUI arrests, at 4.42 per 1,000 drivers.
Another study by Quote Wizard placed four cities in the state — Riverside, Bakersfield, Fresno and Sacramento — among the top 10 worst drivers in the country as well.
“i'm in socal and i kid you not, i have literally seen a girl who was eating a bowl of something that looked like cereal while driving on the 60. i've also seen a guy with both of his legs up on the dash, with his steering wheel between his legs, also on the 60,” says Redditor unfeelingzeal.
2. North Dakota
The Peace Garden State regularly suffers from icy road conditions and the occasional blizzard, which doesn’t help drivers much.
However, it also has the highest number of DUI arrests, at 8.68 for every 1,000 drivers. The state leaped from the 20th spot last year to second place this year for worst drivers by state.
“There’s so many people who run red lights. I’ve seen school buses, police cars, and garbage trucks run red lights. I’ve seen numerous passenger vehicles run red lights. I give a bit of a pass to semi trucks because it takes them so long to start moving that a lot of times, the light is red before they get completely through the intersection. There’s so many folks who run red lights that when the light turns green, people don’t start moving because they don’t want to get hit by a light runner. It makes driving in [Bismarck] infuriating,” says thatscool22 on Reddit.
The Magnolia State usually tanks in most state rankings across multiple metrics — and it makes no exception for poor driving.
“Mississippi drivers think red lights are just suggestions,” says @kphardy_ on Twitter.
Mississippi has the lowest percentage of insured drivers of all 50 states, at 70.6%, as well as the second-highest fatality rate at 1.56 per 100 million vehicle miles driven.
Multiple reports claim the state also allows drivers to have open alcohol containers while driving as long as the driver’s blood alcohol level is below 0.08%.
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