States of Rage: States With the Best and Worst Drivers

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Defensive Driving Tips, Everyday Driver


If you were to randomly ask fifty different motorists from around the country which state has the absolute worst drivers, they’d probably all give the same answer: the state I’m living in right now.

However, despite the overall subjectiveness of the question, the truth is that the inhabitants of certain states just tend to be a bit more skilled, courteous, and aware when they’re behind the wheel. On the other hand, the drivers in some other states would rather see your car go flying into a ditch than tap on their brakes enough to let you merge. But which states are which, and how can one make judgements on something so nebulous as the definition of “good” and “bad?”

Well, pretty easily, it seems, because here are the five states with the best – and the five with the worst – drivers in the country, based on number of traffic tickets, reports of careless driving, number of fatalities per 100 million miles, frequency of drunk driving incidents, and general failure to obey laws. So, let’s start on a positive note: here are the five states with the best drivers.

5. Oregon

There’s just something pleasant about the Great Northwest. Maybe it’s the verdant forests. Maybe it’s the brisk climate. Maybe its the copious amount of alleged Bigfoot sightings. Whatever the case, all of that pleasantness seems to be rubbing off on the drivers, and they’re paying it forward. Oregon came in third for most likely to obey traffic laws (specifically where signals and seatbelts are concerned), and ended No. 5 overall.

4. Minnesota

Minnesota is sometimes called the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Maybe it’s the constant fear of careening into a body of water that has forced the drivers to behave so well. Minnesota has the second fewest number of traffic fatalities per 100M Miles, and has the fourth-best drivers overall in the country. And although fourth might not win you a medal in the Olympics, when it comes to good driving, it’s still pretty nice.

3. New Hampshire

New Hampshire was the first of the British colonies to declare its independence from Great Britain, and later was the ninth state to ratify the Constitution (which formalized the document and brought it into effect). Well, all of that love of country seems to translate into a love of the country’s roads, because New Hampshire gets to be number three on this list. It also comes in number three for least amount of traffic fatalities per 100m miles.

2. Utah

Utah was founded by a group of people who were basically looking for a bit of land that no one else would ever want, but in that desert they managed to build a thriving community that has grown into an economic power in the west. And as for the driving, well, it probably helps that Utah’s major social norms and affiliations forbid the consumption of alcohol, so you’re not going to see many DUIs. In fact, Utah has the lowest number of DUIs of any state, and comes in second place for best drivers overall.

1. Vermont

Ah, Vermont. This skiers’ mecca may not have very many full-time residents (it’s the second least populous state in the country), but those that do carry a Vermont license are certainly worthy of the honor. Vermont has the overall best ranking of any state, with fewer careless drivers on its roads than in anywhere else in the country. Apparently, they’re able to get out most of their aggressive energy on the slopes, so that when they’re back on the road, they don’t feel the need for any more speed.

That was nice, wasn’t it? Well, brace yourself, because every coin has two sides. Here are the five states with the worst drivers in the country.


5. Alabama

Alabama makes so much money from traffic tickets, that it’s a wonder that the police patrol cars aren’t plated in solid gold; Alabama issues more traffic tickets than almost any other state, coming in second place in that particular category. And they don’t have things much better off in the other categories either, particularly careless driving.

4. Texas

Texas has made some improvements from previous years, having been listed as the third worst state for driving back in 2012. Unfortunately, jumping from third worse to fourth worse is a feat that isn’t going to impress all that many people. What really hurts them is the fact that they have so many DUIs. If you hit the road in the Lone Star State, be sure to keep an eye out for drunk drivers.

3. Mississippi

Poor Mississippi. The state has the lowest median household income of any state in the country, and the problems don’t stop there. Where once Mississippi sat somewhere in the middle of this list, avoiding any attention at all , it has recently jumped all the way to No. 3 when it comes to bad drivers. How did this happen? Well, the astounding increases in the failure to obey and drunk driving categories are probably to blame.

2. South Carolina

Another state which is first appearing in the top (bottom?) five is South Carolina. As recently as 2012, South Carolina sat in No. 3 position for the least careless driving. Well, something must have happened, because today it’s all the way down on the bottom in that same category, ranking pitifully at number 50. That drop brought them down to the second worst spot overall.

1. Louisiana

Here it is, the state with the absolute worst drivers in the nation. And whereas some of these states are newcomers to this particular list thanks to drastic drops in one or two categories, Louisiana has no such excuse – it’s been the worst state for driving since 2012. In fact, the best score that Louisiana has managed is that it ranks number 38th overall for number of DUIs. That’s not too bad, but it certainly isn’t going to distract people from the fact that Louisiana ranks bottom five for three other categories.

And there you have it. Of course, even if your state is in the Best Drivers list, you should still always remember to be careful. Just practice defensive driving, and chances are you’ll be able to get your car home in one piece – even if you live in Louisiana.


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