What State Has the Worst Drivers? The Top 10 Ranked

San Francisco

Driving down the highway, you look over and see a guy using his knees to steer while he texts with his eyes on the screen. It’s time to get out of there before you end up on the morning news as a casualty. Surely this is the worst place to drive in the whole country, right? Regardless of where you live, there can only be one worst of the worst. The good news is that it’s probably not where you live. We break down the ten worst states to drive in based on where the worst drivers live so you’ll know for sure. There are a lot of ways to look at what makes drivers the “worst.” We looked at factors like how many people google ‘speeding ticket,’ how many fatalities, citations, DUI’s and speeding tickets, among other major concerns to bring you the most comprehensive list possible. While there’s some conflicting data, we’ve looked at all sides of the story and used our good judgment. Most importantly, we discovered that overall, drivers in the south tend to be a lot less safe than their northern neighbors.

10. New Mexico

The good news is that drivers in New Mexico are getting better. The other side of that coin is that they still made our top ten worst drivers list, and they’ve been in the top ten for years. We think the positive changes have to do with the law that lets judges sentence careless drivers to ninety days in jail for their lack of effort.

9. South Carolina

Good old SC may not be top of the list, but the one alarming fact that stands out here is the fatalities. South Carolina has the highest death rate for every hundred thousand miles driven in the entire USA. In every other category, they do better. However, ‘most deaths’ would get any state a slot on this list.

8. Tennessee

Only about eighty percent of drivers in TN are insured. That’s two out of every ten cars with no way to cover their accidents when they happen. The Volunteer State is also the fourteenth highest on the list of people searching for driving tickets and related topics online. Accidents are certainly on people’s minds here. Perhaps less worrying and more focusing on the road would help.

7. Alaska

We weren’t quite sure where to put the nation’s largest state on this list, but one thing is certain. Alaska may be in the north, but it deserves its spot on this mostly southern list. We’re sure that crazy weather and vast amounts of ice and snow coupled with a seriously low population has something to do with the stats here. With has 5.80 DUI incidents per 1,000 drivers, Alaska is in the top five for drunk drivers. Maybe it’s because alcohol warms you up.

6. Louisiana

We know Lousiana has its problems, but we can’t blame Katrina and the crumbling infrastructure for everything. We want to be understanding about this, but with a 20% adult illiteracy rate it’s got to be hard to pass that drivers test. Ranked sixth in fatalities, and fourth in careless driving, the one thing drivers in this state do reasonably well is obey the speed limit.

5. Florida, Nevada & Texas

By some accounts, this three-way tie from Yahoo Finance should be in fourth place, not fifth. Any way you slice it, these three states are all dangerous to drive. At just 73.3% of drivers insured at all, Florida is a risky place to be even when it’s not hurricane season. Nevada tops the charts in searches for traffic-related tickets. Texas is more middle of the road, but consistently low in many categories.

4. California

With so many people in one place, the stats are bound to be less than perfect. Californians aren’t the worst drivers, but they made the top five. With 4.59 DUIs per 1,000 drivers and the twelfth lowest percent of insured drivers, among other issues, California could use a serious driver’s ed makeover.

3. Arizona

Full disclosure here, this didn’t surprise us at all. We’ve driven in every state, and we’d have pegged Arizona for top three worst any year. In 2015 alone, 182 people were killed by Arizona drivers. More than 4.6 DUI’s per thousand drivers is pretty alarming. Plus, the insurance rates are at 88%, which is astronomical, but also only the twenty-seventh highest. That seems a little wrong to us, but we’re not insurance adjusters.

2. Mississippi

That’s right; it’s a tie. Mississippi has taken first place before. Only about 76% of all drivers are insured, which is the second-lowest rate in the country. Meanwhile, roughly 1.7 people die for every hundred thousand miles driven in the state. The good news, if you can call it ‘good,’ is that there are ‘only’ about 3.7 DUIs per thousand drivers, which is shockingly the 21st lowest rate in the country. Yikes.

1. Montana

Montana, we don’t quite know what to say to you. Montana is worst at obeying traffic laws, second-worst in the nation for fatalities, fourth in drunk driving, and sixth in speeding. At least more people are insured, and they spend less time on google searching info about traffic tickets. It is noteworthy that Montana is the state that had no speed limits until recently. This is due in part to the fact that the nearest (Level 1) trauma center is in Seattle, two states away. That’s a pretty good reason for all those speeding tickets. When you need help because someone in your car is dying, a speeding ticket is the least of your concerns. Some drivers here have had a life without speed limits, after all. Sadly that doesn’t excuse a person from getting the ticket or knowing and following the local laws.

Final Thoughts

Driving is more dangerous than flying, taking a train, or sailing on a ship. When people can’t or won’t heed the laws, it becomes a danger to everyone around. After seeing the states that made this list, we have to question the standards and penalties in the south. It seems like a whole lot of people are more willing to pay a ticket than drive safely. Do you think every state should be like New Mexico and give possible jail time as a penalty instead of a mere ticket? Let us know in the comments below.

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