Most Dangerous States for Drivers

In the United States in 2009, there were more than 30,000 fatal car accidents, and over 5,000 of these were the result of distracted driving. One study used this data to determine what states had the worst drivers, since a car accident is an objective way to view someone as a bad driver. It focused on the fatal accidents reported that year, since all states have to disclose these figures. After the number of accidents was gathered, the study focused on the number of crashes that were caused by drivers making mistakes such as irresponsible driving, failing to stop at red lights or stop signs, driving under the influence of alcohol and distracted driving.

To make sure that the size of the state did not have an influence on the results, the study took an average of the number of crashes that occurred in each state with the number of licenses issued in the respective states. The study also took into account the states where drivers were on the road more and thus increased the risk of accidents by factoring in exactly how many miles each driver traveled, as well as how long each driver was in the car.

Results of the Study

Some of the results were expected: drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 were the most dangerous on the road in almost all states. However, while most Americans may assume that big cities such as Los Angeles or New York City boast the worst drivers, the results of the study show otherwise.

North Dakota ranked number one among all states as the area with the worst drivers. There were 116 fatal crashes in this state alone and North Dakota ranked number one under the “failure to obey traffic signs or signals” section. Second on the list, Montana, reported 198 fatal crashes and ranked number two in the “driving under the influence” category. The third state with the worst drivers, Kentucky, reported 730 fatal crashes and came in third under the “careless or inattentive driving” section.

What Can We Do?

How can we improve the quality of our driving, especially in the Midwestern states? First, we can try to be safe at all times. Avoid aggressive driving and always pay attention to the road. We need to always be aware of our surroundings and get into the habit of scanning 20 to 30 seconds ahead of our vehicles so that we can react in the event of an emergency.

Don’t assume other drivers will drive carefully or make the moves you anticipate. Always assume the other driver is about to make a careless move and prepare yourself accordingly. Keep a 3-to-4 second distance from the car ahead of you, giving adequate time to stop if the other driver slams on his brakes.

Speed limits are posted for a reason—follow them. It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure he is in control of his vehicle at all times. If you see multiple risks on the road, separate them and deal with them one by one. Finally, one of the best ways to improve our driving is to eliminate all distractions such as talking on a cellular telephone, eating, playing with the radio or engaging in a heated discussion with a passenger.

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