Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Idaho Drivers Are #1

A survey from an insurance company says Idaho has the most knowledgeable drivers in the country; in this case, I figure that they might actually have it right. While people here complain endlessly about how bad traffic is and how bad the drivers are (especially the "new arrivals bringing their bad habits from California") the fact is that the drivers here seem generally better than most other places in the country I've been to -- which is most of the country (every state but Alaska). And where does the survey say the least knowledgeable drivers are at? Here are the bottom five:
47. Rhode Island
48. Massachusetts
48. District of Columbia
48. New Jersey
51. New York
Any surprises there? While the Northeast does seem to have the worst drivers in general, the worst U.S. city I've ever driven in is Orlando -- the combination of all the tourists and 87 year olds who can't see over the dashboard makes for a perfect storm of lane-swerving, red-light-running hysteria.

It's well agreed, however, that when it comes to bad driving, the U.S. doesn't have anything on the rest of the world. Since most of my readers have traveled fairly extensively, I'd be interested to see where you believe the worst drivers in the 1) U.S., and 2) rest of the world are, based on personal observation only. (You can't just say "Cairo" because you know the worst drivers are there if you haven't seen it for yourself.) For me, the answers would be: 1) Orlando, and 2) Pusan, South Korea. Let me know what you think, and provide humorous anecdotes if possible.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) Los Angeles
2) Anywhere in the Philippines

I drove both a private vehicle and a police car when I was stationed in Subic Bay. When you drive there you have to practice offensive driving...get them before they get you!

Jim C.

11/16/2007 3:27 PM

Blogger blunoz said...

Right now, Hawaii drivers are driving me nuts. None of them understand the concept of not pulling out into the intersection if there's no room on the other side. So the intersections are always blocked. When I try to hang back so that I DON'T block the intersection, I get honked at by the idiots behind me.

My personal opinion is that Southern California drivers are much worse than Boston / New England drivers. Yes, the New England drivers are aggressive, but I think it's ORM in action. They look, they see there's just enough room to leave them 2 inches between your bumper and theirs when they cut you off, but they know they can make it, so they go for it. It's a calculated risk. But at least they've EVALUATED the risk before they gun it.

In Southern California, the drivers are totally oblivious to the risks. They're too busy talking on their cell phone, doing something on their PDA, or reading a book (SERIOUSLY! On more than one occasion, I saw people READING A BOOK propped up on their steering wheel). They know they are at Point A and they want to get to Point B, and they don't care what's in between Point A and Point B that might get in their way - they just drive oblivious to the risks.

Overseas... I would have to agree with you about Pusan, Korea. They're just plain nuts. Why bother having the traffic lights or lines on the road when you're not going to follow them AT ALL?

11/16/2007 6:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worst driver's I've seen are in Dallas. Amazingly, 30 miles away in Fort Worth, the situation improves greatly-- although in recent years it seems Fort Worth drivers are lowring themselves to the Dallas level. Best drivers I've seen in the US were definitely in Boise, Idaho. San Diego CA comes close.

Overseas, best I've seen were in Helsinki, Finland. Worst were in Paris, France. The latter were a lot like Dallas drivers...

Oh, and I would have signed in, but Google is suddenly crapping all over my password. I'm typing the right one in, but it says I'm not. Cripes. -Texrat

11/16/2007 6:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boston, mostly because they are so aggressive and don't care if they hit your car, not through any incompetence in the actual act of driving.

The only time I feared for my life while in a car was a taxi ride in Hurghada, Egypt. Whoa.

11/16/2007 6:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Washington State drivers, merging on the freeway. Their technique is to follow the white line on the right hand side, staring straight ahead. Takes about a half-mile for them to merge. The idea is sort of reverse-yielding, where the freeway traffic should adjust their speed rather than the people merging. If you are in the right hand lane, and don't either switch lanes or otherwise allow them to merge in this moronic fashion, be prepared for some major stink eye.

But, after eight years in Hawaii, I have to agree that the "no kai oi" road warriors are worse. You see that goofy coconut mask hanging on the rear view mirror, STFB....

11/16/2007 8:01 PM

Blogger Anna said...

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in a taxi. There we were, the medic and I, trying to get to our assigned hotel since the people from the embassy missed our flight. So we pick the American piece of car iron from the 70s, swear it was big enough to sail through the Panama Canal, that one of the taxi drivers had. Loaded our luggage in the back and then climbed into the rear and its bench seat. And we were off to our hotel. As it turned out, might as well been shooting the rapids that day.

At first we blew off finding the seatbelts in the back. Big American can and all these smaller cars and motorcycles about. Well our opinion and stress factor changed dramatically when our taxi driver aimed for a gap between two busses on a street that was supporting five lanes instead of the three planned. Then we really started to hunt for those seatbelts, guess what there were none to be found. So we had to hold onto the benchseat while he shot through the gap and through an intersection we did not notice. Yikes.

Made the experience in Rome in which our taxi driver went into reverse twice on the same one-way street while searching for the USO very very tame.

11/16/2007 9:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I said it, I've spent time there, I meant it.

I've driven in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Yugoslavia, Italy, Switzerland, and Austria.

I've been a passenger in Paris, London, and Madrid.

Worst drivers in the U.S.? Boston.

11/17/2007 1:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the US? Boston
World? Naples, Italy

11/17/2007 1:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never driven overseas so I have no observation there. I have driven in every state and most major cities in the US. Hands down - Boston has the worst drivers. SoCal drivers are crazy, but at least they are consistent, become one of them and you are fine. Defensive driving will keep you safe in Orlando. In Boston, defensive driving leaves you unable to move and becoming 'one of them' will turn your vehicle into a bumper car.

11/17/2007 7:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, right chere (US). Lady picking up the day's mail drove the company van to the post office. Since it was a very cold Winter morning, she parked at the curb and left the engine (heater) running as she darted to the company's P.O. box directly behind a plate glass window and door in front of the van.

BUT!!!! in her haste to enter the warm post office, she had left the van in gear. Soon, it jumped over the curb and crashed through the federal post office. Miraculously, other boxholders in the area and a toddler en route to daycare, were not injured.

It took about 3 months for the feds to have the post office repaired inside and out. It took about a year to finish the paperwork on the incident because it occurred on federal property.

As the guy stuck with all the extra paperwork, ribbing and trying to explain the impossible to corporate overseers seven states away on an almost daily basis, I was tempted to consider whether females get too distracted at times to be reliable drivers.

The female fallacy was shattered the following Spring by a male driving one of the company's EZ-Gos between plants on our corporate campus. He had a delicate jet engine parts in the cargo area and a passenger (aerospace engineer). Of course, golf carts don't have seatbelts.

While driving at maximum speed, the two waved to friends in the parking lot and crashed into the side of a concrete loading ramp!

11/17/2007 8:17 AM

Blogger Cameron said...


I spoke to a Uruguayan guy once who had just gotten back from visiting the US and he told me, quote, "Now I know what the lines on the roads are for."

11/17/2007 9:19 AM

Blogger Sagey said...

I am a native Boston driver and having now been a Navy Wife for 9 years, I would HAPPILY go back to Boston just for the drivers. Though I admit now that I driver there with an out of state license plate, they definetly imagine the word "idiot driver" on my car and are surprised to discover I am one of them. So maybe you all hate Boston drivers because you are driving there with your out of state plates? It does make a difference.

Drivers in San Diego are better than drivers in Monterey. In Monterey they drive either 20 over the speed limit or 30 under, nothing in between, so getting on the highway there is like taking your life in your own hands.

In Honolulu, now here are some horrible drivers. I dropped my oldest off at school one day and sat through ONE cycle of a red light and saw three people run it and one person turn left from a right lane.

I will go back to Boston in a heart beat, maybe it is just because I know what to expect. I can forsee their craziness. But so far for me, Honolulu drivers are the WORST I have experienced. Oh and they think if they just wave that Shaka hand at you, it makes it ALL better. Well, it doesn't. :-)

11/17/2007 10:38 AM

Blogger E.P. said...

I'm with Blunoz about Hawaiian drivers. I lived out there for 3 years and it was just crazy. I grew up in the North East, and as far as driving 'badness' goes, no New York or Massachusetts driver can hold a candle to Hawaii. Aside from the intersections mentioned by Blunoz, some of the driving decisions are just unbelieveable. Not to mention the family and friends in the bed of a pickup truck on the "Interstate."

As for overseas, it's a tight contest in my book. I did some driving in Bahrain. The best advice I was given was "drive offensively, and if you use your turn signals, they'll know your a westerner and try intentionally to run you off the road." Without mentioning a particularly terrifying taxi ride one night when I thought I was going to be machine gunned getting around in Bahrain is always interesting. Then add in the Saudis coming across the causeway, (from dry Saudi Arabia to not-dry Bahrain) the weekend can be challenging to life and limb.
But the winner in my book is Naples, Italy. Absolutely insane. Traffic signals completely optional. Lane discipline, hey I'd settle for the use of lanes. Horns, yeah, required. For everything. Most of the time you just have to go and anticipate the other car getting out of the way. The only redeeming factor is that they do have respect for pedestrians. (But that's probably necessary b/c the pedestrians are too busy trying to avoid 10 foot mountains of trash and strategically located piles of animal feces on the sidewalks.) I don't really like Naples.

11/17/2007 10:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've lived in 12 states for six months or more; 10 of them as an adult. Have traveled Europe as well.

Far-and-away worst city driving (homicidal, in fact): Boston

Worst European drivers (anarchist, in fact): Italy

11/17/2007 11:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since when is DC a state? The District of Columbia is considered to be in the state of Maryland.

11/18/2007 6:15 AM

Blogger Sagey said...

Ok, all of my US History/Government classes have taught me that DC is a seperate entity from any state/state governgment. Anonymous' comments above really threw me for a loop. So I double checked Wikipedia.

"Washington, D.C. is the capital of the United States. It is situated within and coterminous with the District of Columbia (abbreviated as "D.C."). The city and the district are located on the banks of the Potomac River and bordered by the states of Virginia (to the west) and Maryland (to the north, east and south). The city was planned and developed in the late 18th century to serve as the permanent national capital; the federal district was formed to keep the national capital distinct from the states."

OKay, I was right. :-) DC is NOT part of Maryland (nor Virginia, the other bordering state). I sure hope anonymous posted that just to get reactions from people. :-)

11/18/2007 10:13 AM

Blogger Jay said...

In the U.S. I have to say the only place I have ever been scared was Boston, but that was probably because I wasn't driving. I had the same feeling about Naples until I decided to take my chances with a car there, and, after you do accept the fact that lights are indeed optional and that the driving style actually matches my (somewhat) aggressive style, there is a method to their madness. Other countries I have ridden cabs in likely pale to places like the PI, so, I'm not going to put them in the same league.

My Naples anecdote is, having been there 4 times for about 10 weeks total, I have only been there once when the traffic lights were working, and that was in the 2 weeks preceding a G8 (7?) summitt and everyone said, "President Clinton is coming, so they got the traffic lights working."
My other Southern Italy fun traffic time was a bunch of bubbleheads (6 of us) in a Hyundai driving up the Amalfi coast in summer. If you've ever driven it, you know how crazy it is, dodging scooters and motorcyclists racing on the road, and the tour busses. However, we suffered the horrible indignity of being passed by most of those guys in scooters because the guy driving (not me!) was so scared.

11/18/2007 10:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karachi Pakistan for international
And I have to agree with boston as most of the commenters have stipulated. That being said, as a former long haul trucker, For it's size, Austin, Texas is the worst traffic in the US. PERIOD!

11/21/2007 1:52 PM

Blogger Jon said...

@nuc instructor, concerning Washington State...

The reason folks merging onto interstates, etc. do that in Washington is that, by law, merging traffic has the right of way in that state. Absolutely insane, but there you go.

To this day, though, I do contend that for teenagers learning how to drive, one of the best places to learn how to drive on an interstate is on I-5, northbound between Tacoma and Seattle.

12/18/2009 11:09 AM


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