Virginia drivers still rank as the “rudest” – find the definition below – in the nation, but the rate of such behavior has declined in a new ranking.
The annual survey by Insurify looks not at things like the percentage of drivers who whip out a certain digit or lay on the horn as they are angered when behind the wheel, but behaviors that can earn them tickets.
When applying for car insurance, applicants disclose their state of residence and any prior violations on their driving record. Insurify determined the following violations as most indicative of rude driving: failure to yield violations (failure to yield the right of way, failure to yield to a pedestrian), failure to stop violations (failure to stop for a red light, school bus or stop sign), improper backing, passing where prohibited, tailgating, street racing and hit-and-runs.
The annual ranking looks at more than 4 million car-insurance applications. In the 2021 survey, Virginia scored highest, with 43.26 out of every 1,000 drivers having been ticketed for one of those offenses. (In the 2020 survey, it was 48.5 percent.)
Rounding out the top five on the rude-o-meter for 2021 were Delaware (41.25), Idaho (39.94), Georgia (39.53) and Wyoming (38.35). Also in the top 10: Ohio (37.67), Wisconsin (35.29), Nebraska (35.14), Iowa (34.8) and Alaska (33.53).
(New York, which had been No. 4 on the rudeness barometer in 2020, fell out of the top 10 entirely for 2021.)
In 2021, the national rudeness meter stood at 25.9 per 1,000 drivers. The average score of the 10 most egregious states was 37.8.
Kentucky (10.01), Mississippi (14.15) and Maine (14.61) ranked as having the nicest (or perhaps most conscientious) drivers for 2021, with Maine entering that pantheon and Vermont dropping out. The nation’s largest states – California and the aforementioned New York – were in the middle of the pack, with Texas shading slightly less rude.
(The entire survey can be found at https://bit.ly/3sInDis.)
The most common infraction among the 10 most rude states was the failure to stop at a stop sign; in Virginia, drivers were 40 percent more likely to be cited for it than the national average. In two of the top 10 states (Alaska and Delaware), failure to stop at a red light was more common, at least in terms of receiving a ticket, than failure to stop at a stop sign.
Before we Virginians self-flagellate ourselves too much over leading the pack of miscreants, consider that there might be a mitigating factor or two.
“While we cannot definitively point to the exact factors that make Virginia the pack leader in rude driving, Virginia does have comparatively stricter traffic laws compared to the rest of the nation,” Emily Leff, Insurify’s data scientist, told the Sun Gazette.
“Virginia has been known to crack down hard on rule-breaking drivers,” Leff said. “Stricter driving laws can lead to a higher volume of surveillance and subsequent citations.”