States with the Most Reckless Drivers
Frequency of reckless drivers: 26 per 10K drivers
Relative increase in driving since pandemic onset: 317%
Population density: 21.6 people per square mile
Starting off our rankings is Idaho, with a reckless driving rate that’s 31 percent above the national average. Drivers in Idaho upped their driving throughout the pandemic at a rate 34 percent faster than the national average. As the state that has the 6th lowest population density in the United States, Idaho drivers seem to exercise less caution on the roads, resulting in higher incidents of reckless driving violations.
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9. New Hampshire
Frequency of reckless drivers: 28 per 10K drivers
Relative increase in driving since pandemic onset: 484%
Population density: 151.9 people per square mile
They may say “live free or die” in the ninth state on the list, and it seems like this laissez-faire attitude carries over to precautions on the road. New Hampshire’s rate of reckless driving is 36 percent higher than the national average. The Granite State has also experienced an astronomical increase in driving rates from the beginning of the pandemic until September: with a 484 percent relative increase, New Hampshire drivers returned to the roads in great droves. Unlike many of the other states on this list, New Hampshire’s population density, while lower than the national average, is not comparatively very low — it ranks 21st in the nation on population per square mile. As a repeat offender from 2019, it seems as though the driving norms in New Hampshire are less stringent — and result in more driving violations — than the rest of the country’s.
8. South Carolina
Frequency of reckless drivers: 34 per 10K drivers
Relative increase in driving since pandemic onset: 141%
Population density: 171.2 people per square mile
With a reckless driving rate 48 percent above the average, South Carolina places eighth for states with the highest share of reckless drivers. South Carolina’s population density is below the national average at 171.2 people per square mile. Drivers in South Carolina surprisingly experienced a lower-than-average increase in volume of driving over the pandemic (only three of the 10 states on this list returned to the roads more slowly than the rest of the country). It’s possible that car owners in South Carolina never lowered their rates of driving to the same degree as other parts of the nation. Therefore the relative increase up to the present, while still positive, is lower than the national average.
See more: Car Insurance for High Risk Drivers in South Carolina
7. South Dakota
Frequency of reckless drivers: 34 per 10K drivers
Relative increase in driving since pandemic onset: 309%
Population density: 11.7 people per square mile
While South Dakota has the same high reckless driving rate as South Carolina, which ranks eighth on the list, South Dakota’s larger increase in driving during the pandemic — at 32 percent higher than average — secured the Mount Rushmore State’s spot at seventh on the list. South Dakota has the fifth-lowest population density in the United States, which follows the overarching pattern of reckless driving occurring in sparsely populated regions.
Frequency of reckless drivers: 35 per 10K drivers
Relative increase in driving since pandemic onset: 222%
Population density: 114.6 people per square mile
When it rains it pours, and in this rainy state in the Pacific Northwest, reckless driving is as prevalent as precipitation. The Evergreen State saw a reckless driving rate that’s 49 percent higher than the national average in 2020. Over the course of the pandemic, Washington’s relative increase in driving was about average. While Washington’s rate of reckless drivers was about equal in 2019, the state moved up from seventh to sixth for this year’s rankings, establishing itself as a region with particularly risky road behavior.
See more: Car Insurance for High Risk Drivers in Washington
Frequency of reckless drivers: 40 per 10K drivers
Relative increase in driving since pandemic onset: 375%
Population density: 6.0 people per square mile
It’s the wild, wild west in the state with the fifth-highest rate of reckless driving across the nation. Wyoming experiences incidents of reckless driving at a rate 55 percent above average. The population density in Wyoming is significantly sparse — Wyoming is the second least-densely populated state in the U.S. This seems to follow the typical trajectory of many of the states on this list. With fewer cars on the road, drivers can (foolishly) take advantage of the opportunity to exercise less caution while driving.
Frequency of reckless drivers: 44 per 10K drivers
Relative increase in driving since pandemic onset: 407%
Population density: 7.3 people per square mile
The fourth state in the rankings, Montana, follows a similar pattern to Wyoming. Montana’s reckless driving rate is 60 percent higher than the national average, and it has the third lowest population density. Montana also witnessed a 407 percent rise in its volume of driving throughout the pandemic. This increase in driving may have been a contributing factor in bumping Montana from fifth in last year’s rankings to fourth for 2020’s.
Frequency of reckless drivers: 49 per 10K drivers
Relative increase in driving since pandemic onset: 256%
Population density: 1.3 people per square mile
Alaska is both the most sparsely-populated state and the state with the third-highest rate of reckless driving. The frequency of reckless drivers in the Last Frontier is 64 percent higher than the national average, and the spike in driving over the course of the pandemic is 18 percent above the nationwide mean. Interestingly, Alaska was not one of the states with the highest number of reckless drivers in 2019 — especially surprising considering its spot as third on this year’s list.
2. North Dakota
Frequency of reckless drivers: 59 per 10K drivers
Relative increase in driving since pandemic onset: 163%
Population density: 11.0 people per square mile
For the second year in the running, North Dakota has the second-highest rate of reckless driving in America. With a share of reckless drivers a staggering 70 percent above the average, it seems that drivers in the Peace Garden State do not necessarily display peaceful behaviors on the road. While North Dakota does follow the pattern of states with low population densities experiencing higher rates of reckless driving, the state’s relative increase in driving over the course of the pandemic is actually 23 percent below the national average.
Frequency of reckless drivers: 66 per 10K drivers
Relative increase in driving since pandemic onset: 180%
Population density: 216.1 people per square mile
In first place for the second year in a row, Virginia is the state with the most reckless drivers. Drivers in Virginia demonstrate reckless on-road behaviors at a rate that’s 73 percent higher than the rest of the nation. Unlike most of the other states on this list, the Old Dominion does not have a low population density. Whether due to higher rates of enforcement, more reckless driving offenders, or some combination of both, Virginia experiences the most reckless driving of any state in America.
See more: Car Insurance for High Risk Drivers in Virginia
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