The Worst States for Drivers – And How to Protect Yourself

Are you a good driver? Or at least do you think you are? You may not have any speeding tickets or had any car accidents but what about the other drivers on the road with you? The driving behavior of other motorists can have an effect on you if their bad driving causes an accident and they are an uninsured driver. A recent review of America's driving data uncovered the 10 worst states for drivers. While the results showed the Midwest leading regions as some of the best states for drivers if you live in one of the worst states according to Expertise.com’s results results, you could be at a higher risk of accidents and troubling road conditions.

Which states are the worst?

It's not just about the worst drivers but several factors. Eighteen different metrics were reviewed to determine the best and worst states. This data, using information provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, included:
  • Traffic fatalities per capita
  • Speed-related fatalities
  • Seatbelt usage
  • DUIs
  • Car theft
  • Rush-hour congestion
  • Average annual precipitation (weather conditions)
  • Road quality
  • Bridge quality
  • Infrastructure investment
  • Average commute time
  • Legal driving age
  • Six car ownership and maintenance factors, including average annual car insurance premium
worst states

The 5 worst states

5. Colorado

Don’t have car trouble in Colorado, where the state has some of the nation’s highest car repair costs annually. While the state’s traffic was low, its high costs earned it a higher ranking.
  • Safety rank: 42
  • Cost: 43
  • Traffic: 26

4. Florida

Florida makes the list for its high number of DUI arrests. It’s No. 1 for having the highest annual premiums on auto insurance, as well. The state also has long commutes.
  • Safety rank: 11
  • Cost: 47
  • Traffic: 39

3. Maryland

With the District of Columbia in its sights, Maryland is second to only New York State in having the longest average commute time. This comes with some of the worst rush-hour congestion, too.
  • Safety rank: 9
  • Cost: 48
  • Traffic: 41

2. New Jersey

Perhaps supply and demand keep the repair shops in the Garden State so expensive, some of the nation's highest? New Jersey is deemed to have the worst roads in the country, which takes a big toll on vehicles. The state is a commuter state, as well. In the North, residents commute into New York City. To the South, they are heading into Philly. However, there is some light: The state ranks No. 1 in terms of safety. It’s in the top 5 states with the lowest traffic fatality rates.
  • Safety rank: 1
  • Cost: 49
  • Traffic: 50

1. California

Of all 50 states, California has the highest gas prices and the highest costs, annually, for auto repairs. The state also has some of the highest insurance premiums in the country. Its world-renowned traffic means it should come as no surprise the commute time, on average, is some of the worst in the country. However, seatbelts are popular in Cali; it’s second-highest in seatbelt usage.
  • Safety rank: 10
  • Cost: 50
  • Traffic: 40
(Rounding out the top 10 worst states are Washington, Hawaii, Louisiana, Arizona, and South Carolina.)

Minimum insurance required

Florida and New York were both at the top of the list at 1 and 2, respectively, for having the highest annual premiums. Yet, in a review of minimum car insurance requirements by state, it turns out some of the worst states for drivers also have some of the lowest requirements. While this can be a money-saver, it doesn’t bode well for good drivers on roads with bad drivers having minimal coverage. How do the 5 worst states compare?
Florida has the lowest minimum for property damage liability at $10,000 per accident and $10,000 personal injury protection – and with the highest rates for insurance more drivers may choose the minimal coverage to keep costs down. New Jersey, the safest state, has $15,000 bodily liability per person, $10,000 per accident, and $5,000 property damage liability per accident as its minimums. California is similar but with a $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
Colorado and Maryland have the highest minimums of the worst driving states. Both have $15,000 personal death liability with bodily injury liability at $25,000 and $30,000 per person and $50,000 and $60,000 per accident, respectively.

The best states and your protection

If you live in Iowa, you are in the best state for drivers with the third-highest safety rank and low costs and traffic. Vermont, Nebraska, Ohio, and Maine round out the top 5 list. Coincidentally, these states have higher minimums on car insurance with Maine one of only two states with a $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident ($50,000 per person) minimum. It also requires medical expenses coverage.
While these are state minimums, your best protection from unsafe drivers and bad road/weather conditions is to up your coverage. Easier said than done when upping the coverage also ups your premiums. This is where insurance platforms like CarInsurance.net can help. These new platforms compare auto insurance rates offered by the biggest carriers in the country and, at no cost to you, show you the lowest rates. If you want to see how increasing your insurance from your current protection plan costs, these sites do the work for you so you can determine if you can afford to switch and increase your coverage. (They can also determine if you can decrease any of your coverage to save even more.)
Still, more protection doesn’t necessarily mean higher premiums in all states. Not only does Maine, which ranks in the top 10 for least congestion, best roads, lowest repair costs, and fewest DUI arrests, have higher minimums than the worst states, it has the lowest annual insurance premiums in the country, according to Expertise.com’s analysis.

The bottom line

When considering factors in the cost of your auto insurance, don't forget to factor in your safety. Pay attention to reports and metrics like this recent survey. You can be the best driver in the world but all it takes is an encounter with one of the worsts to experience a very costly and catastrophic financial event.

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