The worst drivers on US roads are

The demonstrably worst drivers are 1) Beemer pilots, 2) Volvo drivers of the mom demographic, 3) jacked up pickemup trucks with trucknutz idiots and 4) minivan drivers. Lately the ecophreaks driving Prii are making a *strong* showing. But I suspect that is either the dope or the conversion of #2s to Prii.

Discuss.

42 responses so far

  • Dr. Cynicism says:

    I'd like to acknowledge the increasing trajectory of Prii psychopath drivers, which I will term Priiopaths for this discussion. Secondly, I'd like to enter a 6th category of horrific drivers -- moms driving hummers. They have increased exponentially in my area. Awaiting laboratories from other locations to replicate this finding...

  • Odyssey says:

    I would slot the drivers of Hummers and obscenely large SUV's in at #2.

  • Drugmonkey says:

    SUV drivers are the very essence of courteous and skilled road users.

  • Isabel says:

    define "worst"

  • Lady Day says:

    "Demonstrably"? How so? Where's the data backing up your claims, DM, or are you a construction worker in disguise?

    Besides, I drive a 20 year-old Volvo (with well over 300 k miles on it). Not one accident, yet. I'm driving this tank until it hits a million miles, dude. No way I'm going to throw money down the toilet and buy a crappy POS that won't last me even half those miles and loses half its value as soon as I drive it off the dealership lot. No way.

    If only I could convert it into a hybrid. Must be possible, somehow.

  • becca says:

    There are empirical studies on bumper stickers- chances are, if you *identify* with your car (or view it as an expression of yourself) you feel more personally attacked at the actions of other drivers, and are yourself a douchier driver. Also, sci covered a story that chances are if you have a more valuable car, you are a douchier parking lot navigator. So in areas where there is intense debate over environmentalism, you'd expect to see identity politics driving up the douchosity of prius and SUV drivers alike. In areas with intense debate over taxes, expect the beemers to be the ultimate douches.

    I live in a college town, and all the douchiest drivers are from out of town. Most likely they live in areas where the pedestrian : driver expectations are different, and/or they are distracted from being lost.
    That said, the worst parking lot navigators are definitely the parents in SUVs. And everybody in Walmart. Walmart parking lots terrify me.

    But that's primarily about doucheosity/annoyingness as "worst". That has little to do with the danger posed by the drivers, which is going to relate to the force they can put out (F = ma; where a is influenced by douchosity but mass is independent, except inasmuch as asshats are compensating with heavy vehicles).

  • anon says:

    "Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?" - George Carlin

  • Brian Wolfe says:

    Well this prius driver won't be causing any accidents. 🙂 20 years of driving and not a single at fault.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Do you people realize that failing to get in an "at fault" accident doesn't mean you are a good, courteous and/or safe driver? You do, right?

    I see shitty, unsafe and discourteous driving that fails to lead to an accident just about every single day I've driven.

  • leigh says:

    i work in the mecca of shitty drivers, so i just assume they're all going to cross 4 lanes inattentively and run someone off the road. however, i attribute the most horrendous driving to the confused tourists and people who drive cars worth $100k or more (because the latter own the road, of course, and we peons are terrified to tangle with them lest our insurance be insufficient to replace their priceless glimmering machinery).

  • DrLizzyMoore says:

    I walk to work, but if I'm going to get run over on the way to work, it would be by a large SUV/farm truck. Minivan's driven by women tend to stop and let me cross the street; minivan's driven by men tend to speed up....I fear all vehicles driven by teenagers.....

  • Susan says:

    Even before they've shifted into 'drive', SUV owners are already worse.

    SUV owners have specifically chosen, by the size of their mobile living room, not to notice anything or anyone in their vicinity, and drive accordingly. That varies between running down everything and anyone in their path, or cluelessly but slowly taking up both lanes, both parking spots, the bike lane, but always means taking away visibility from everyone else around them.

  • Beaker says:

    What's with the inverse correlation between the size of the vehicle and the propensity to use turn signals (18-wheelers excluded)? Perhaps it has something to do with people in big SUV-sized vehicles and pickups are up high in their protective bubble cages, which exclude the outside world and the need to communicate intent to turn. So many people today drive their vehicles the way you drive those toy cars at Disney: gas-brake-gas-brake-gas-brake.

  • anon says:

    I've noticed that SUV's and pickups are the first to end up in the ditch whenever it snows. Overconfident assholes.

    Beaker: A term for apparently purposeless breaking is "spontaneous breaking behavior". I have not seen a correlation between make of the car and such behavior, but there must be other indicators.

  • GMP says:

    Hehehe, so you are saying Prius is a "boy"?

    prius, prii, m. (second declination, was it)

  • drugmonkey says:

    http://www.autoblog.com/2011/02/21/toyota-says-plural-of-prius-is-prii/

    ( and yes, I am disturbed to find that they bothered....)

  • I think parents should take #1. You can't imagine the number of times some pedestrian has been saved from me only by the grace of God, or their quick reflexes, I'm not real good on causality. I just see them yelling at me out the back window as I'm trying to get my kids to stop throwing things at me from their car seats. Parenting should be grounds for a DUI. You shouldn't really reproduce unless you have a chauffeur. The only drivers more dangerous than parents must be those jerks in SUV's.

  • In the NYC area, the worst drivers are the "black car" livery drivers.

  • And BTW, they are the absolute fucken *WORST* with the goddamn motherfucken "spontaneous braking". I was in one of those fuckers once and I literally thought I was gonna fucken puke from the goddamn motherfucken vroom! brake! vroom! brake! vroom! brake! for no motherfucken reason. I finally said to the motherfucker, "Stop speeding uppe and then hitting the goddamn motherfucken brakes over and over and over for no goddamn motherfucken reason or I'm gonna fucken projectile vomit all over the back of your motherfucken head!"

  • Jekka says:

    Why are all you people still driving? What is this, the 20th century?

  • Dr24hours says:

    The worst drivers are any driver who isn't "ME". Where "ME" is whoever is postulating about other drivers. i.e., We're all bad drivers in someone's eyes.

  • Dave says:

    It might help if driving tests in the US actually required candidates to demonstrate some degree of skill and awareness and not just test their ability to spot the hidden stop sign and find their favorite radio station.

    Also, you should not be able to drive MANUAL unless you have passed a (challenging) test in MANUAL. There are so many boy-racer types round here that have never driven stick before and get their rich parents to shed out for a Shelby GT500 Mustang (or something equally awesome and ridiculous) and then have no fucken idea how to drive the damn thing. It's not the Prius drivers I am worried about, it's the douches with 700 hp under their foot that scare me.

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    The worst drivers are the ones whose bad-driving style is not one you grew up with.
    Boston bad drivers are normal in Boston, but drive California bad drivers nuts with their unexpected stupid moves. California bad drivers are routine in California, but send Chicago drivers up the wall. Chicago bad drivers etc.

    I'm sure I have caused several wrecks by my bad habit of not crossing four of the five lanes of the street I'm turning into on a left turn, too, because that's what people expect.

  • Lady Day says:

    @Jekka: It's the U.S. in the 21st Century, unfortunately. The rest of the world is improving public transportation, except for us.

    @DM: Any thoughts on Beemer SUVs?

  • Jekka says:

    @Dave: agree about the driving exams! Also, if you can't drive a manual, you can't drive.

    @Lady Day: Proper infrastructure is lacking almost everywhere but NYC. I primarily bike, and anyone going less than 3-5 miles in decent weather and not doing the same is fucking lazy.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    When I would come back from Venezuela, my wife would refuse to ride with me during the first two weeks, until I got reacclimated to USA driving.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Beemer "SUV"? Really?

    Burn. It. With. Fyre.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Also, can someone please explain wtf is the point of a 4-door Porsche? Not the crosssover, this new pseudo-sedan thing? Abomination.

  • leigh says:

    while we're at it, the BMW 1-series. what's next, the 0.75 series? come the fuck on. that thing must drive like an empty peanut shell.

  • drugmonkey says:

    That should be the 0.56 series, no?

  • DJMH says:

    Worst drivers = Texas plates. My uncle pointed this out to me on a cross-country trip and it was borne out in every state we crossed. Of course this does tend to correlate with the trucknutz demo but it is separable.

    Volvo drivers are awesome.

  • Dave says:

    @DM: are you referring to the Panamera? Really odd looking car. My boss had one when his real Porsche was in the garage and he hated it. Think he felta little feminine in it.

    The 1-series is a bit on the girly side but, with the new 328 running close to 50K, it let's some people get into a BMW. Now, the 1M is a different story altogether. That thing is a beast!!!

  • becca says:

    "Beemer "SUV"? Really?
    Burn. It. With. Fyre."
    +1
    Awww, see, we've found something to sing kumbaya about after all!

    Also, I'm too lazy to put up all the links and get caught in the spam filter, but I was googling... Volvo drivers make a zillion insurance claims- right up there with Porche. That said, homemakers have the least insurance claims, students and doctors have the most. So moms in Volvos are only problematic if they are also doctors. Also, 22 year old men in the Northeast are the least insurable- there's a shocker.
    (of course, insurance data has the problem that people who can afford their rates going up are more likely to make claims, but still the difference between 'student' and 'homemaker' should be real)

    AND the state with the most fatal accidents per miles driven is... dum dum dum... WYOMING! Which is ALSO the state with the most SUVs per capita (except possibly Colorado, news articles were inconsistent on that point). Point being: SUVs and vehicle fatalities: I wants that linear regression by state.

    This has been your friendly dose of unsubstantiated data for the day!

  • odyssey says:

    After further consideration I'd like to offer up a new #1: people with "God is my co-pilot" bumper stickers. IME, there is a perfect correlation between the presence of that sticker and really bad driving.

  • drugmonkey says:

    I thought it was just young males in smaller, sportier cars that were the biggest crash risk becca?

    and wyoming is contaminated by the speed limit / hours driven relationship and the % snow hours function, no?

  • MudraFinger says:

    As an urban bike-commuter, I say two-wheels good, four-wheels bad. End of story. And where I live, this is even more true in winter because the four-wheels don't expect the two-wheels to be out on the ice and snow and seem to have panic/anger attacks when they come upon them.

  • Where I live, it seems like people just happen to be in their cars while doing whatever else they're doing - eating, drinking, on the phone, texting, reading...

    And frankly, if you can't drive a manual, you shouldn't be in charge of a motor vehicle in a public place.

  • "homemakers have the least insurance claims, students and doctors have the most."
    Homemakers don't have to commute, therefore do the least driving in rush hour. Students are disproportionately young people. Doctors I can't immediately explain, except possibly that they don't grow up until after residency.

    I would guess also that Wyoming both has the highest accident rate and highest proportion of SUVs because the roads are shit? And there are 3 people +/- 10% in the whole state, and they have to drive 4 hours if they want to talk to each other?

  • Lady Day says:

    I hung out at a hippie commune once. They all drive Volvos. It was like a Volvo utopia.

  • Lady Day says:

    @DJMH: you are right about Texas drivers. They are awful. You are also right about Volvo drivers.

    @Jekka: Tea Baggers don't believe in infrastructure. That's why won't see any improvements in infrastructure in this country until the next century. Tea Baggers also don't like education and a bunch of other things that make sense. We are so screwed.

  • becca says:

    @Lady Day- The doctor's association quoted for the news story explained the doctor thing as sleep deprivation, which is not implausible. It's also possible they are least worried about making insurance claims- both because of their salaries/relative car worth and because they are culturally immersed in discussions of 'insurable risks' (like malpractice insurance).

    Also, I highly doubt it was a hippie commune. Sounds more like a co-op. If they weren't all driving the SAME VW microbus, it doesn't sound like a commune (i.e. communes mean COMMUNAL ownership. Carsharing on steroids).

    Wyoming may not actually have the highest accident rate (I saw different data on that, and per capita it's California)- but Wyoming had a very nasty *fatal accident* rate. My impression is that it may have something to do with drunk driving, though the speed limit may also be part of it (still, lots of western states have those speed limits, so I'm not totally convinced by that one).

    @DM- younger males in smaller sports cars may be problematic, but I didn't see that broken down. Except that 22 year old male students in the Northeast have the worst insurance rates.

    I'm not sure about the snow factor- Wyoming has everything from 200 inches of precipitation (mostly snow) to literal desert. And people are really spread out too, so it's not like you can figure what's a typical amount of snow for a driver to contend with by looking at the weather for a city (though Casper gets a lot less snow than Chicago).

  • Ass(isstant) Prof says:

    I'm with MudraFinger.
    How many drivers consider that everything done with a car/truck/suv/selfexpressionmobile is done with deadly force?

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