These States Have the Most Distracted Drivers

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A person texting and driving.

In spring 2023, the Assurance IQ Team surveyed 3,209 U.S. drivers across 44 states. They discovered that drivers are more distracted on the eastern side of the United States. 

But it’s also worth mentioning that there weren’t enough respondents to conclude Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. 

Let’s look more closely at this study and find out where the most distracted drivers are in the United States. You may decide there are states worth avoiding during your travels!

What Are Distracted Driving Behaviors?

Distracted drivers are risky drivers. They’re more likely to be involved in a car accident, thus endangering the lives of other drivers and passengers.

Some of the most common behaviors of distracted drivers include texting, talking on a cell phone, selecting music, checking the GPS, interacting with passengers, and eating.

Many parents get distracted by their kids in the backseat. Many teenagers get distracted by their friends riding along. Other people try to put on makeup in the car or check their email while driving. These behaviors are dangerous and often lead to collisions.

A person driving and touching their GPS system.

Are Men or Women Involved in More Accidents?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “In 2021, the highest percentage of drunk drivers were the 21-to-24-year-old and 25-to-34-year-old age groups. Men are most likely to be involved in this type of crash, with four male drunk drivers for every female drunk driver.”

The 2021 yearly snapshot from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) also found that “males had higher per capita crash death rates than females in 2021. Males ages 25 to 29 had the highest rates of crash deaths.”

So, the data shows that men are involved in more accidents than women. However, you should note that even though they may engage in more distracted driving behaviors, men tend to drive more miles than women.

Therefore, the percentage should reflect the longer distances and more time spent in the vehicle.

What Age Group Is Involved in the Most Accidents?

Drunk drivers tend to be in the 21-to-34-year-old age range. About 27% of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes were in this age group.

But regarding other distracted driving behaviors like speeding, driving at night, texting, or driving while tired, young and older drivers usually have more accidents than middle-aged drivers.

Teenagers have less experience and get easily distracted by passengers, while older drivers struggle to see at night and react slower.

A person checking their GPS app on an iPhone while driving.

These States Have the Highest Percentage of Drivers Who Text and Drive

On the Assurance IQ Team survey, about half of Mississippi, New Hampshire, and Missouri drivers admit to texting and driving. Over 46% of Alabama, Louisiana, and Illinois drivers also confess to doing this dangerous behavior.

Respondents in West Virginia and Missouri admit they text over ten times a month while driving. Drivers in Texas, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Mississippi claim to text and drive about eight times each month.

Keep in Mind: You’ve probably heard of the 3-3-3 Rule of RVing to make travel days easier, but have you heard of defensive driving techniques?

These States Have the Lowest Percentage of Drivers Who Text and Drive

On the other hand, less than 15% of drivers in New York text and drive. Pennsylvania, Oregon, and New Jersey drivers also avoid texting and driving. Less than 25% of them engage in this behavior.

However, texting and driving isn’t the only risky behavior. Over 50% of respondents admitted to messing with the GPS and selecting music while driving. About the same number of drivers claim they get too involved in discussions with passengers. 

Almost 38% of drivers claim to eat while they drive. Less than 20% of respondents confess to texting while driving.

A person on their phone while driving their car.

How to Stay Safe While Driving or Towing an RV

When you travel all over the country in your RV, you’ll encounter your fair share of distracted drivers.

You might have watched a lady put on makeup while holding the wheel with her knees or watched a teen zip in and out of traffic on the interstate at dangerous speeds. So, how can you stay safe while driving or towing an RV?

First, stay in the right lane when on the interstate. Remain at a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you to ensure you have enough room to stop suddenly. A 20,000-pound toy hauler won’t stop on a dime.

Your speed is also important. Maintain a safe speed of 60 to 65 mph. Not only is this best for fuel efficiency, but it’s also easier to slow down from 60 mph than 75 mph.

You also have to pay close attention to your surroundings. Practice defensive driving by staying alert to road surfaces, looking ahead, and noticing how other drivers behave.

Unfortunately, you can’t 100% prevent an accident. But practicing these safe driving tactics makes you less likely to be involved in one.

As much as possible, avoid driving at night, driving in hazardous weather, and while tired. These are just as unsafe as texting or eating while at the wheel. Plan ahead and leave with plenty of time to get from Point A to Point B. 

Check the weather forecast and leave a day earlier or stay later to avoid high winds or dangerous thunderstorms. And always pull over if you feel too exhausted to drive safely.

Keep in Mind: Are RVs safe if you get into a wreck? Let’s dive in and see.

Choose Defensive Driving, Not Distracted Driving to Keep Everyone Safe

In 2021, motor vehicle fatalities increased by about 10% from 2020. This isn’t a trend we want to see continue. That’s about 43,000 people who lost their lives — sons, daughters, grandparents, parents, and friends who had their lives cut short.

Most of those accidents could have been prevented by passengers wearing seatbelts, drivers going the speed limit, impaired drivers choosing to take an Uber home or any other changes.

Let’s not text and drive. Let’s focus more on the highway and less on our passengers. 

What will those statistics look like if we all choose defensive driving and not distracted driving this next year?

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