Road Rage Makes Driving in These 15 States a Living Hell

Road rage is one of the scariest things about driving. Every time you get in the car, you’re at risk of making the wrong person angry. Make a wrong move, and you don’t know whether you’re going to get tailgated, followed, have a gun pointed at you, or worse. Conversely, many of us show aggressive behaviors behind the wheel, too. It doesn’t matter whether you’re late, having a bad day, or are angry about something else. Road rage is a problem, whether we’re the ones who have it or are the victims of it.

There have been numerous studies on road rage, but a report by Drive Human, a research group run by Kars4Kids, has broken up road rage incidents and bad driving habits by state. The results are interesting — and not good.

Drive Human asked drivers to fill out a simple 10-question survey and awarded them points based on their answers. The states with the most courteous drivers are Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Montana, and Alaska. After that, things fall off pretty quickly. With 2,500 responses from all over the country, it began to get a picture of what it looks like to drive in the U.S. And it looks, well, scary. With a combination of bad driving habits and all-out road rage, these are the 15 worst states to drive in. 

15. Nebraska: C-

'Welcome to Nebraska' sign board on a empty road
There are plenty of open roads in Nebraska, but you’ll be in trouble if you get into someone’s way. |

With its wide open spaces, the Cornhusker State has plenty of room for everybody. Somehow, its drivers haven’t gotten that memo. According to the study, they don’t like to use turn signals in Nebraska. They also aren’t likely to let cars merge in front of them, God help you if you’re tailgating someone, and they’re liable to careen across multiple lanes of traffic to make sure they get off at the next exit.

Next: These residents don’t merge well.

14. North Dakota: C-

Fargo, North Dakota, United States
They aren’t going to steal your parking space in Fargo, but be careful merging onto highways in North Dakota. | Harding

Maybe it’s the wide open spaces in North Dakota and people who want to get to where they’re going at their own pace. But if you’re passing through the Roughrider State anytime soon, be warned: You probably aren’t going to have an easy time merging onto the highway.

Next: This small state has a lot of traffic.

13. Rhode Island: D+

Providence skyline
Providence is beautiful. But Rhode Island is full of impatient people with places to go. |

Rhode Island is the smallest, yet second most densely populated state in the union. It also has an important stretch of Interstate 95 that connects New York City and Boston. That means there’s a lot of traffic going through the Ocean State — and not a lot of margin for error. Busy drivers here don’t have time for turn signals, long lines at exits, and aren’t above using a turn only lane to cut around traffic.

Next: This state loves to tailgate.

12. Kansas: D+

kansas sign
Don’t tailgate in Kansas. Also, don’t drive slow enough to be tailgated in Kansas. | Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Kansas has miles of long, flat highways and high speed limits, and as a result, its residents are happy to share the road with anyone. But don’t impede the flow of traffic, or you’re likely to be tailgated mercilessly. Conversely, don’t tailgate in the Wheat State. Drivers have very little tolerance for it here.

Next: Don’t cut anyone off in this state.

11. Mississippi: D+

Welcome to Mississippi
Welcome to Mississippi, keep your wits about you. |

Mississippi’s state motto is “Virtute et Armis” or Valor at Arms, but it might as well be “Get out of my way!” Drivers in the Magnolia State don’t like people passing them, merging in front of them, or really anybody doing anything to get in front of them. They won’t steal your parking spot though, so there’s that.

Next: This state hates slowpokes.

10. Iowa: D

Iowa fans hold up a sign of support.
It’s great to be a Hawkeye, unless you drive below the speed limit. | Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

If you signal correctly and need to pass in the Hawkeye State, chances are you’ll be able to get by. But if you’re driving at or below the speed limit in the fast lane, all bets are off. Unfortunately, a large number of Iowans tailgate, and they don’t like to use their turn signals either.

Next: Drivers in this state aren’t above cutting you off.

9. Pennsylvania: D

Reading, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania drivers will cut you off. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Keystone State is a tolerant one. If you’re a slower driver, you aren’t likely to get tailgated. And you’re likely to get a head’s up because most people here use turn signals. But if you’re trying to exit the highway, look out: Pennsylvanians aren’t above cutting in front of a line of traffic to get to where they’re going.

Next: This state’s drivers don’t like anyone in their way.

8. Oklahoma: D

oklahoma city
Oklahoma City has a lot of open spaces. Still, its best to be a defensive driver. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

There’s a pioneering spirit in the Sooner State. Unfortunately, that extends to driving. They don’t like turn signals here or letting cars merge in front of them. And if drivers need to block traffic to get where they’re going sooner, well, those are the breaks.

Next: It’s not all peachy on the roads in this state.

7. Georgia: D

Columbus, Georgia, USA
Columbus, Georgia, is very nice, but watch out for traffic. |

With the University of Georgia football, tailgating on Saturday afternoons is a way of life in the Peach State. Unfortunately, many drivers are known to tailgate every other day of the week here, too. They aren’t big fans of turn signals either.

Next: This state’s residents are in a hurry.

6. Maine: D-

lubec, maine
The pastoral reputation of places, such as Lubec, is undercut by the bad habits of drivers in Maine. | Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

For a state with a lot of scenic highways and not a lot of big cities, residents of Maine sure are in a hurry. The people of the Pine Tree State are most likely to speed up at yellow lights (even if it’ll block traffic), yet they are slow to react when people try to pass.

Next: These drivers like to be in the lead.

5. Wisconsin: D-

Wisconsin capitol
Wisconsin drivers could learn a thing or two about courteous driving. | Jordan Richmond/Flickr

America’s Dairy State has plenty of wide open spaces, but according to the survey, you wouldn’t know it if you were there. Wisconsin drivers will cut in front of people for an available parking space (hey, it gets cold), they aren’t likely to let people merge in front of them, and if you’re a slow driver there’s a good chance that you’ll be tailgated.

Next: These drivers are a bit reckless.

4. Louisiana: D-

Dusk falls over Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, 11 July 2006, almost one year after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. For tourists strolling through the French Quarter it's easy to forget that Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans a year ago. The beignets are fresh, trinkets and designer clothes are artfully arranged in shop windows, and hurricanes are spinning in the bars on Bourbon Street. But while the music, food and good times have come back, the crowds have not and the city is struggling to make ends meet while its main industry remains crippled. With more than 10 million visitors a year, tourism was once a 5.5 billion dollar industry in New Orleans, accounting for 40 percent of the city's tax revenues and employing 85,000 people. (Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
Louisiana drivers aren’t must better behaved than the tourists on Bourbon Street. | Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

If you’re tailgating in the Bayou State, you might be asking for trouble. Drivers in Louisiana are more likely to admit they’ll slow down disproportionately when they have someone riding their bumper, even if it will impede traffic. They’re also more willing than most to do whatever it takes to get off at the right exit, even if it means crossing three lanes and driving on the shoulder to get to the front of a line.

Next: This state’s drivers don’t play nice at exits.

3. Arkansas: F

Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock looks peaceful from here, but its roads are another story. | Thinkstock

Of all the states with bad driving habits, Arkansas stands out for one reason: You’re more likely to get cut in line at an exit here than anywhere else. If that isn’t bad enough, drivers in the Natural State don’t like to use turn signals, and the people already stuck in traffic aren’t fans of letting those cars merge in front of them.

Next: This state’s drivers improperly use lanes.

2. South Carolina: F

Columbia, South Carolina, USA
South Carolina is a beautiful state, but be careful on the roads. | Pavone

Driving in the Palmetto State is a bit better than driving in the worst state in the union but not by much. The survey found drivers in South Carolina are fond of using the turn-only lane to pass, to the point where blocked intersections are a problem. If there’s any redeeming feature to driving down here, it’s that drivers are likely to let you merge into traffic.

Next: These drivers are the worst.

1. New York: F

car crash in Manhattan
We have a feeling this driver was trying to pass on the right in downtown Manhattan. | Daniel Barry/Getty Images

New York is a vast, beautiful state with rolling hills, scenic byways, and plenty of charming towns. Then, you get to New York City, and all bets are off. We’re not saying there aren’t bad drivers across the state. But considering that the state leads the nation in tailgating, cutting people off, not letting people merge, and using the turn only lane to pass, there’s a good chance the city is at least partially to blame.

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