Are Californians the Worst Drivers in the U.S.?

Drivers in CaliforniaIf someone asked you where to find the worst drivers in America, you’d probably guess California. California’s cities have the worst traffic, after all, with three metropolitan areas making the 2014 top 10 list of congested areas. Los Angeles drivers lose 64 hours per year stuck in traffic, according to the 2014 INRIX Traffic Scorecard, and that’s enough to give anyone road rage.

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But are Californians Really the Worst Drivers in America?

Angry Man Looking Out His Car Window PointingIn Allstate’s 2014 America’s Best Drivers report, Los Angeles is named the thirteenth worst city for traffic accidents, meaning you’re almost 53 percent more likely to get in a crash there compared to the national average. San Francisco and Glendale are even more accident-prone.

Not only that, but another recent survey named Californians as the worst “haters” of drivers from other states, not only those from neighboring Nevada, Utah, Texas and Oregon, but also visiting from the East Coast.

But California’s a big place, and not all residents are bad drivers. A study commissioned by in August 2014 reveals some interesting facts about how Californians drive, as well as regional differences in driving habits. Here are three surprising conclusions from the study.

1. Los Angeles is Not the Home of the Worst Drivers in America.

L.A. has a reputation for rude and inconsiderate drivers, which was borne out by’s survey. Twenty-eight percent of Los Angeles drivers said they had gestured in anger at another driver in the past 30 days, and eight percent admitted they had tried to punish another driver on the road.

Those numbers might sound high, but you can’t pin the “worst drivers in America” title on Los Angelenos. The cities of Santa Barbara, Palm Springs and Monterey all had a larger percent of drivers making angry gestures. Nine percent of Santa Barbara drivers said they had recently tried to punish another driver, making this city the home of the overall angriest drivers in California.

2. The Chillest California Drivers are in Chico.

According to our survey, the famously relaxed college town of Chico boasts the nicest drivers in California. Just 13 percent of Chico residents said they had gestured in anger at another driver in the past 30 days — the lowest percent of any city in California. And 67 percent of Chico drivers had tried to thank another driver in the same time period, which was the highest percentage we saw.

3. Monterey Drivers Aren’t Afraid to Call the Cops.

Compare’s survey shows that more drivers in Monterey — 16 percent — than anywhere else reported calling the police on another driver in the past 30 days. This is probably a good thing — California overall saw more than 180,000 DUI arrests in 2011, according to a state report, and police can always use help from the public in identifying dangerous drivers.

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