Have you ever been driving down the road when suddenly, you're cut-off by a crazed driver? Maybe you've had to slam on the brakes because the driver ahead of you failed to signal a turn, or perhaps you've come close to getting into an accident because a distracted driver blew through a traffic signal.
Anyone that has been a driver on the road has encountered a bad driver. Texting and other distracted driving, speeding, tailgating, and failure to obey signs and laws is not just an annoyance, but all of these factors can contribute to an auto accident. Road safety is a significant factor determining a state's overall level of safety.
Encountering these events can lead you to believe that your state has the worst drivers. Most people can claim that their home state has the worst drivers and even the worst roads. However, while there are bad drivers in all states, some states have an excessive number. One way that this has been measured is through a study conducted by SmartAsset.
SmartAsset's 2020 analysis evaluated three metrics to determine the states with the worst drivers. The first metric was the percentage of insured drivers within the state. The next metric was the number of DUI arrests per every thousand drivers. The third metric was the number of fatalities per 100,000 miles driven.
Based on this information, SmartAsset found that five out of the top ten states with the worst drivers were located in the South: Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, and Texas.
States with the Worst Drivers
Mississippi took the top spot for worst drivers in the nation for three years in a row. Mississippi has the second-lowest rate of insured drivers at 76.3%. Additionally, it has the second-highest number of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled at 1.63.
Nevada has the second-worst drivers in the U.S. Nevada has a high number of DUIs at 5.54 per 1,000 drivers. Additionally, Nevada has the highest rate of searching online for traffic ticket-related topics.
Tennessee ranks third for the worst drivers and is the second southern state on the list. Only 80% of Tennessee drivers are insured, the sixth-lowest in the country. Tennessee has about 3.52 DUIs per 1,000 drivers, a slight improvement from 2019 when it was 3.63.
The third southern state on the list and fourth-worst state for driving is Florida. Florida has the lowest percentage of insured drivers at 73.3%, meaning that over one-quarter of Florida motorists are uninsured. Florida also has the 11th-highest fatalities per 100 million miles traveled at 1.41.
California is ranked fifth for the worst drivers. California has the 13th-highest number of DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers, with 4.71. This is an increase from 4.59 in 2019. Additionally, its percentage of uninsured drivers is relatively low at 84.8%.
Arizona comes in at six. Arizona has the third-highest fatalities per 100 million miles traveled with 1.53. While Arizona's percentage of insured drivers is relatively higher than others on this list at 88.0%, it's still in the bottom half of states.
7. South Carolina
South Carolina is tied with Texas for the seventh-worst drivers in the country. South Carolina is the only state in the ten states with the worst drivers to have over 90% (90.6%) of drivers insured. However, South Carolina has the highest fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled with 1.83.
Tied with South Carolina in the number seven spot is Texas. Texas has the 16th-lowest percentage of drivers at 85.9%. Unfortunately, Texas's number of DUIs per 1,000 drivers increased from 3.79 in 2019 to 4.01 in 2020.
9. New Mexico
New Mexico has the fourth-lowest percentage of insured drivers at 79.2%, meaning that over one-fifth of New Mexico's motorists are uninsured. New Mexico has the tenth-highest fatalities per 100 million miles traveled with 1.43.
Alaska finishes the top ten states with the worst drivers. Only 84.6% of Alaska's drivers are insured, the 11th-lowest in the U.S. Alaska has the fifth-most DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers with 5.87 and the sixth-highest fatalities per 100 million miles traveled at 1.46.