Monday, May 5, 2014

Does Utah have the worst drivers?

In a word, no. We don't. But there are those who would disagree.

These expert opinions aside, a recent study done by actually ranked us as the second best drivers in the US based on Fatalities per 100M Vehicle Miles Traveled, Failure to Obey Traffic Signals and Seat Belt Laws, Drunk Driving (in which category we were the best state), Tickets, and Careless Driving. Vermont actually beat us by a significant amount in every category except drunk driving, so there you go. The problem with moving to Vermont to be around the nation's safest drivers would be that then you live in Vermont.
That takes care of the state as a whole, but what about the Wasatch Front, where 80% of Utahns live? The Wasatch Front has more crashes than the rest of Utah, so perhaps they have the worst drivers, and the state's average is pulled up by the angelic behavior of the other areas?

This map, presented in patriotic colors, comes from the Utah Department of Public Safety, Highway Safety Office, linked above.
Unfortunately, it's a little harder to find data on individual cities, weirdly enough. What we can say, though, is that no Utahn city made it into the annual “Allstate America's Best Drivers Report." The good news is that we also didn't make it into their worst drivers list from the same report.
Are the metrics used Allstate flawed? Perhaps. They only use claims to their own company as data, and it's possible that only good Utahn drivers sign up for insurance through Allstate, although given the statistics from Car Insurance Comparisons, that doesn't seem a likely explanation.
In my experience, most of the complaints about Utah's drivers come from people who learned to drive somewhere outside of Utah. What should be surprising to no one is that your behaviors and expectations while driving are learned culturally.

Pictured: Cultural differences
© BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons
Therefore, when a folks come to Utah, they arrive with a load of expectations about how other drivers on the road are going to behave, and since we learned to drive in Utahn culture, our behavior might not match their expectations. Hence, misunderstanding, followed by, rage, which then translates into social media outbursts.

This sounds pretty awesome, actually.
If, upon seeing the statistics indicating that Utah has some of the safest drivers in America, you're still convinced we're the worst, please remember that confirmation bias is a thing.  Please don't hate us, because we think you're great! This is the 13th biggest state in America; surely there's enough room on the roads for drivers of all cultures.
Okay, I know that being the 13th biggest state isn't all that impressive-looking in text, but think of us as being in the 84th percentile. Still didn't help? Look, we're bigger than England. So there.
Hey, do you want to buy or sell a home in the state with the second best drivers in America? Let's talk.

1 comment:

  1. This is interesting! I love living in Utah, so it's always nice to hear we're not the worst at something (my confirmation bias is showing). Thanks for the post.