When you get cut off, stuck behind a slow poke in the passing lane or see someone whizzing by at 90 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone, it's tradition to check the license plate and say, "No wonder -- they're from such-and-such state."
Now there's a study that gives credence to that claim. But it may not be the state you suspect. It could, in fact, be your state.
SmartAsset, a financial tech firm that offers interactive tools for home buying, insurance and investment, completed a survey that offers one metric for assessing which state has the baddest of the bad when it comes to road warriors.
Rounding up data from the Insurance Research Council, Federal Highway Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, SmartAsset concludes that the worst drivers live -- and die -- in the Southeast.
"Maybe it's the heat causing road rage, but four of the top 10 states in our study are located in the Southeast," said study author Derek Miller, who examined factors such as arrests for driving while intoxicated, speeding tickets, deaths and the percentage of people with auto insurance compared to the number of (presumably licensed) drivers.
Here's a list of the worst, and the reasons why:
So which states seem to have better drivers? Miller's findings let some overcrowded northeastern states like Massachusetts off the hook, despite the bad reputation of Boston drivers, he said. It ranked 48th down the list because it has the highest rate of insured drivers.
The best state in SmartAsset's survey? Maine.
Insurers generally second the findings.
"Some of the most expensive states for auto insurance -- Florida and New Jersey -- are also those with the worst drivers," said Loretta Worters, a spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute, which represents car insurers. "Delaware's size, density and location contribute to a generally high rate of traffic fatalities, and the trend appears to be worsening."
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