How Bad Are The Drivers In Your State? This New Study Has An Answer

Is it because of the bison? Do the bison make you bad drivers?
Is it because of the bison? Do the bison make you bad drivers?
Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP (Getty Images)

I’m fairly certain that everyone is convinced their state has the worst drivers. I’ve lived in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Texas, and I’ve felt that each of those states had to be populated by the worst drivers in the world. I’ve driven across the country countless times and found myself thinking, yep, this state is the worst. But a new study from QuoteWizard is shaking all my expectations.

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QuoteWizard is a site that compares insurance quotes from across multiple platforms so that you can find the lowest price. So, it makes sense that this data for this study was accumulated via two million insurance quotes in order to develop a formula that took into consideration four factors: drunk driving, accidents, speeding tickets, and citations. States that have a high occurrence of each of these factors are considered the worse than those that have lower occurrences.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there are bound to be gaps in this data. It relies on active policing and the reporting of traffic incidents, which I think we all know is not an accurate reflection of actual road danger. Just because you’ve never been caught driving 50 mph over the speed limit doesn’t mean you’re not a law-breaking driver. I got hit by a car as a pedestrian a few years ago and never reported it to my insurance company or to the police, which I’m sure happens frequently.

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So, keeping that in mind, here are the five worst states, from worst to best:

1. Wyoming
2. Virginia
3. Colorado
4. New Jersey
5. South Dakota

Right here, we run into a problem: three whole entire people live in the state of Wyoming. There’s no way the three worst drivers in America congregated there to put the rest of the country to shame.

But seriously—I have a hard time imagining that driving down a Wyoming highway raises your blood pressure the same way it would trying to ford a California road near rush hour. Maybe the population density contributes to the fact that people get caught more often—but we can’t say for certain. The data isn’t there.

(Virginia, though? I can see Virginia, if only because the speed limits there are very highly enforced. I can tell you that from experience. Unfortunately.)

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Now, here are the best five states. We’ll start with the best and more down:

1. West Virginia
2. Missouri
3. Michigan
4. New Mexico
5. Texas

I call bullshit. Every single time I drive for more than an hour in Texas, I witness at least three near-death experiences on someone else’s behalf. I dread any highway around Houston and Dallas. Even the desolate roads in West Texas aren’t safe because everyone feels like they can get away with driving 120 mph on them. And it seems like they do, because no one managed to give ‘em a ticket and knock Texas down the list.

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You can read the full results here, but I’m going to need some confirmation. Do you feel like your state is ranked correctly? Or am I just convinced that everywhere I drive is a sheer disaster?

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

LoafToaster

Texas is insane. The people there drive like literal insane people. They don’t understand right of way, they don’t understand looking before you do something. The police also barely enforce traffic laws. This is backed up by someone working insurance. It’s just a never-ending stream of people aggressively merging into each other, barreling through parking lots, and blindly pulling out of parking spaces into pedestrians, cars, and standing objects. Honestly, it might as well be another country - it’s like a Southeast Asian country where people just ignore traffic laws.

Some of the best places to drive around other people are Pittsburgh and upstate NY. Some of the worst are TEXAS, the DC metro, and Florida (panhandle isn’t as bad as Orlando and Miami).