Are locals in California, Nevada and Florida the rudest drivers?

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In a recent Bankrate study, drivers in California, Nevada and Florida were found to be the rudest drivers in the U.S. The three least rude states are Maine, Nebraska and Vermont. What do the rudest states have in common and why are their drivers considered the rudest in the country? Some common themes for the three states listed as having the rudest drivers include higher population density and tourist popularity.

The rudest drivers: California

It is generally known that tipping culture in America considers a 20% tip the standard for service. In California, the average tip is 15.2% and, according to the rest of the country, 3.1% consider Calfornians to be more rude than other states. Even 27% of Californians consider people in their own state to be more rude than others.

What Californians think

While California is number one, that is not always a good thing, especially when it crowns your state as the one with the rudest drivers. In this news segment on KRON 4, newscasters laughed and did not deny this fact, instead bracing it with an exuberant “we’re #1!”

A recent article in MotorBiscuit stated it is “somewhat unsurprisingly” listed in first place, citing the large population in the state as a motivating factor. In one of the studies used by Bankrate to determine the rudest drivers, Sacramento drivers were ranked as the worst drivers in American cities. Commenters in a Fox Business article about the study were not surprised by the findings, noting that large amounts of traffic clogging up roads for hours and causing long commute times, as well as people taking advantage of nice drivers—who do things like use turn signals and allow people into freeway traffic—for ill gains, hurt more than help.

The rudest drivers: Nevada

One of the reasons Nevada made second place on the list for rudest drivers is because of aggressive driving and unsafe road habits. When asked about their own state in the YouGov study, 29% of Nevada residents considered their own state even ruder than those in California and Florida. When searching the web about traffic ticket-related topics, Nevada comes in first place, signaling the state may also have a speeding problem, helping it earn its spot as the state with the second-rudest drivers in the nation.

What Nevadans think

Five of Nevada’s cities, including Las Vegas, ranked in the 100s in Allstate’s most recent America’s Best Drivers Report. Reno is the most favorable city, ranking in 25th place. With a heavy tourist presence, especially around Las Vegas, a mix of old and new residents along with tourists can be a recipe for disaster on the roads, especially for those unfamiliar with the state’s roadways. Even with the state’s Zero Fatalities initiative for drunk driving, there has been a 32% increase so far this year, with 180 lives lost. For every 100,000 drivers, there are 1,063 DUI arrests in Nevada, according to Finder.com’s Ranking of Worst Drivers.

The rudest drivers: Florida

When considering their own state, 27% of Floridians consider people in the state to be more rude than other states, according to the YouGov survey. In the 2021 World Population Review’s Bad Driving Index, Florida drivers have some of the highest instances of driving uninsured, with as much as 26.7% of the population driving without insurance. Florida is also ranked tenth for worst drivers, with 38.6 fatal crashes and 443 DUI arrests per 100,000 drivers.

What Floridians think

A Local10 article referencing the Bankrate study began with dangerous scenarios that seemingly happen daily on Florida roads. Commenters confirm, stating drivers are not just rude, but dangerous, because they do not follow the laws of the road. CBSMiami had similar remarks, noting surprise that Florida drivers were not ranked higher than third place. In the comment section of the Fox Business article, most state that Florida is ranked so high because of the large amount of people there from other states. Others note impatience, high speeds and not knowing where they are going as other reasons why Florida drivers are in the top three for rudest drivers in the country.

The least rude drivers by state

As for the least rude drivers by state, Maine, Nebraska and Vermont round out the top three. In the 2021 World Population Review’s Bad Driving Index, Vermont and Maine have the same index of 28.3 while Nebraska has a slightly lower index of 27.27, placing these three states in the bottom five. When asked in the YouGov.com survey, residents of these three states feel the majority are more polite than other Americans. Zippia findings are similar, with Nebraska the 27th least rude, Maine the 40th least rude and Vermont the 47th least rude in the country.

Staying safe on the road

Whether you live in a state with the rudest or nicest drivers, staying safe on the road is just as much about your driving habits as it is about others. While you cannot control others’ rudeness while driving, you can control your own driving practices and how you handle rude drivers or experience road rage while driving to your destination.

  1. Carry the right level of auto insurance. Each state has minimum liability or financial responsibility requirements for registered vehicles. Most insurance experts recommend buying as much coverage as you can reasonably afford to protect your finances in an accident, no matter who is at fault. Even if it is not a requirement, you might want to consider uninsured motorist coverage to further protect yourself from uninsured drivers.
  2. Be in control of your emotions. Aggressive driving leading to road rage is common in most states, so being in control of your emotions can help keep you safe. Controlling your emotions may include listening to calming music or your favorite relaxing podcast, reminding yourself of the importance of road safety and even seeking help if you find yourself participating in aggressive driving practices.
  3. Pay full attention to the road. Social media and smartphones have not only shortened attention spans, it is also leading to higher levels of multitasking, even behind the wheel. By keeping your attention on the road, you can anticipate aggressive driving and steer clear of it.
  4. Do not engage with aggressive drivers. While it can be tempting to lash out at an aggressive driver, it can be dangerous. Aggressive driving, especially speeding, is one of the leading causes of death on America’s roads. Congested areas are more prone to aggressive driving, so practice safe habits, avoid eye contact and do not engage with these types of drivers for your own safety. If you are being followed or harassed, call the police.
  5. Know the laws of the road. Being unaware of basic driving laws can lead to aggressive driving and road rage from other drivers. If you are unsure of where you are going, slow down to a reasonable speed, get over to the right lane and allow others to pass. Leave yourself with plenty of time to get to your destination so you are not tempted to practice unsafe driving habits to avoid being late.
Written by
Mandy Sleight
Insurance Contributor
Mandy Sleight has been a licensed insurance agent since 2005. She has three years of experience writing for insurance websites such as Bankrate.com, MoneyGeek and The Simple Dollar. Mandy writes about auto, homeowners, renters, life insurance, disability and supplemental insurance products.
Edited by
Insurance Editor