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Do you consider yourself a good driver? If so, what would that entail? Most drivers may think they’re good if they have never received a ticket or gotten into an accident. However, it’s never really that black and white, as drivers can go from “good” to “bad” based on certain criteria. In fact, being a bad driver can cost you more, depending on the state you live in. Let’s take a closer look.

Who qualifies as a bad driver?

A woman distracted by her phone drives her car.
A woman, distracted by her phone, drives her car. | Getty Images

A research group at FinanceBuzz, a financial independence website, looked up the costs relating to car insurance premiums, car repairs, and speeding tickets in every state. In doing so, the team was able to filter out which states where poor driving could cost the most money. To find this data, the team classified a “bad” driver by the following criteria:

  • Gets one speeding ticket per year
  • Gets in one “at fault” accident per year
  • Practices poor driving habits that put excess wear and tear on their car

After defining the bad driver, the FinanceBuzz team set out to see how much more that type of driver would pay yearly compared to a good driver in each state.

The states where being a bad driver costs the most annually

The results of the study were interesting. The FinanceBuzz team found that across the country, the average bad driver can pay an average of $1,818 annually, or $151 per month, more than a good driver. However, the results vary per state.

For example, Michigan is the most expensive state for bad drivers. In that state, drivers with one speeding ticket and one accident on their record can expect to pay an average of $4,308 annually, which is more than twice the national average.

New Jersey and Louisiana follow Michigan in second and third place on the list, respectively. Bad drivers pay an average of $3,142 more annually in New Jersey and an average of $3,026 more in Louisiana.

Here is a breakdown of the results:

A table showing the annual cost of bad driving in the U.S.
The most expensive states for bad drivers. | FinanceBuzz

What makes a good driver versus a bad one?

A woman drives her Volkswagen EV down a road.
A woman drives her Volkswagen EV down a road. | Getty Images

Although having a speeding ticket and a car accident on your record could make you a bad driver in FinanceBuzz’s eyes, there’s a little more to it than that. After all, you can treat your car and other drivers poorly on the road and never get a speeding ticket.

As such, the Automobile Association (AA) says that having the right attitude, driving skills, and knowledge are important to be a good driver. For example, good drivers don’t panic in emergency situations and are courteous to others on the road. They also brake, accelerate, and change gears smoothly while driving and anticipate what other drivers will do.

Additionally, a good driver knows what can lead to an accident and is aware of how to minimize risks. They also obey the rules of the road and respect the rights of others.

Knowing all of this now, do you consider yourself a good driver? If so, we hope that you at least obey the laws and respect others. As we can see, a speeding ticket and an accident can not only make you a bad driver, but they can also cost you a lot of money every year.


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