Idaho ranks seventh for having the worst drivers in the nation.

“Tell us something we don’t know,” say the jokers from the peanut gallery.

This revelation comes from QuoteWizard, an online service from Lendingtree, that annually lists ratings on state drivers, as well as related stories compiled from national insurance data, whether natural disasters or where you’re safest on the roads in Texas. Rankings are calculated from incidents including accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, citations and fatalities.

So, the data says we’re pretty much the neighborhood menace to those on our borders, in comparison to Washington (10th), Oregon (13th), Nevada (45th … well, too busy sitting at the poker tables to drive, right?), Utah (9th), Wyoming (16th) and Montana (31st).

So, welcome to Idaho, and hold my beer while I try something.

QuoteWizard doesn’t line out the specifics why Idaho ranked seventh, so we could take a few stabs.

Perhaps folks around here have grown too comfortable on the roads, having already been driving since dad needed someone to operate the harvest truck, or needing a hand on the four-wheeler pulling a harvested elk up the embankment.

Could be the rural makeup of Idaho means we’re just not used to traffic, much less traffic lights. Some drivers around here are just too polite, and so we do this stop-start-stop action at intersections, until we just decide to gun it…and end up in their grill.

And speeding? Well, that’s an American pastime, pushing it just a few notches above and scanning the horizon for anything that looks official (…darn the light bars on those transportation department rigs).

Fun and games aside, we do know we have challenges within Idaho, and Idaho County.

Part of this lies within our behaviors that take driving for granted and so we engage in unsafe behaviors: texting, speeding, driving when drowsy or under the influence, or just not paying attention to what we’re doing. Part of this is the infrastructure – roads that need maintenance or have obsolete design for their current traffic demands. Nature can play dodgeball with drivers -- tossing rocks in the road – or it can shade sections that remain icy well through into spring.

So, Idaho ranks seventh? Let’s take this poll less as gospel and more as a talking point on a few things: to remind ourselves that we can’t take driving safety for granted, that traffic enforcement is important for public safety and not an annoyance, and that we need to be vigilant our state and local officials are providing and maintaining good infrastructure.


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