California Drivers Are Officially The Worst In The Country, According To Insurance Institute Study

Think your state has the worst drivers? If you live in California, you're right.

California has the worst drivers, according to an insurance study.
tommaso79 / Shutterstock

Think your state has the worst drivers? If you live in California, you're right.

Every driver thinks their state and city have the worst drivers; after all, when a jerk cuts you off in traffic, scrapes you up in a fender-bender, or road-rages their way to jail, it’s easy to conclude that your area has a monopoly on terrible drivers. But as it turns out, there are ways to scientifically measure these things, and the “winner,” if you can call it that, of the State with the Worst Drivers category is: California!

As the Times of San Diego reports, insurance clearinghouse Quote Wizard commissioned a study, looking at things like accidents, DUI citations, distracted-driving citations, and so on, and found that, mile-for-mile, and driver-for-driver, California is the worst.

“The dubious honor of having the worst drivers in the country goes to California. California’s less-than-stellar drivers are somewhat notorious — especially in gridlocked Los Angeles.”

Actually, L.A. isn’t the worst city for drivers in California or the whole nation, despite what frustrated City of Angels commuters may tell you. That “honor,” such as it is, goes to another California city: Sacramento. Four other Golden State cities appear on the top ten list: Riverside (No. 3), San Diego (No. 5), L.A. (No. 6), Bakersfield (No. 10). The other cities in the top 10 are Salt Lake City (No. 2), Richmond, Virginia (No. 4), Columbus, Ohio (No. 7), Omaha (No. 8), and Denver (No. 9).

Why does California have the worst drivers
What could possibly be causing Denver to have such bad drivers? Hmmmmm…. Mitch M / Shutterstock

The best cities for driving, according to the study, are, in order: Detroit, Providence, Orlando, Miami, Little Rock, Allentown (PA), Baton Rouge, Las Vegas, Tulsa, and Birmingham.

Detroit’s position as the best-driving city shocked even the study’s authors: the Motor City leads the nation in uninsured drivers and oft-unlicensed drivers (that is, drivers who frequently lose their driving privileges). Even worse, though Detroit is a statistically safe driving city, Detroit drivers tend to pay some of the highest insurance rates in the nation.

Also defying expectations are Orlando and Miami. Orlando, for example, sees throngs of tourists clogging its already-overcrowded highways — a mix that you would think would cause it to be a bad city for driving and not one of the best in the country. There’s also the fact that the City Beautiful, not unlike Detroit, has more than its share of uninsured and unlicensed drivers. Similarly, the inclusion of two Florida cities throws a wrench into the stereotype that the Sunshine State’s roads are filled with elderly drivers who shouldn’t be behind the wheel.