Four days after moving to Florida, I got into my first-ever car accident. In response, my co-workers simply shrugged. One of them grabbed my shoulder in solidarity. "Welcome to Miami," he said, and then tottered off cackling.
A study released yesterday has confirmed what anyone who's driven on I-95, plowed through Wynwood's stop-sign-free streets, tried to turn left onto Biscayne Boulevard, been cut off by a 100-year-old woman without a turn signal, or screamed at the sky in statue-still Miami traffic already knows: Florida is the worst place to drive in America.
The study, released by the website SmartAsset, studied every state's propensity for driving tickets, traffic deaths, DUI arrests, and uninsured drivers, and ranked them all from worst to best. Those polite, sweater-wearing assholes in Massachusetts came in 48th. Florida, meanwhile, was ranked the worst place to drive in the nation.
Apparently, Florida has the second-lowest rate of insured drivers in America, likely due to the high number of recent immigrants in the state. Perhaps surprisingly, there are actually fewer DUI arrests per capita here than in most states. Oddly, it seems Vermonters really enjoy driving drunk. The Sunshine States is fairly average in terms of vehicular deaths too.
Instead, the study confirms what anyone with eyes in Florida already knows: Everyone here drives like a gosh-darn maniac. Of the 25 worst states in the nation, Floridians Google the words "speeding tickets" and "traffic tickets" significantly more than any other state. (Granted, this isn't an actual count of traffic tickets issued, but it does hint at the overall number.) We outpace the next-highest state, Alabama, by 15 points.
And when you're that much worse than Alabama in any category, it's seriously time to reevaluate your habits.