Dangerous drivers fill the roadways of America. Automakers are working diligently to improve car safety with advanced features and systems to protect vehicle occupants. Despite their efforts, some traffic accidents are unavoidable. Most of us have been there, cruising down the highway, only to be cut off or beeped at by a rude driver. When we catch a glimpse of the license plate, and it reads Massachusetts, the first thing that usually comes to mind is “Masshole.”
That is the term affectionately given to drivers who bring their aggressive tactics to the nations’ highways. Forced to deal with poor road conditions and crowded city streets, Massachusetts drivers have a reputation for being some of the worst drivers in the country.
So, what is it about these drivers that make the rest of us cringe? And, are they really as bad as most of us think?
Drivers from Massachusetts are notoriously aggressive
A Reddit user posed the question, “Why are Massachusetts drivers so bad?” Responses flooded in, with some blaming the road patterns, poor signage, or road rage. Others blamed out-of-state drivers, left-lane hogs, and treacherous winter weather for the bad driving conditions.
A New York City driver explained the biggest problem is a result of the terrible road layout. He also mentioned that drivers in Boston commonly fail to use their turn signals, making maneuvering intersections a nightmare. Another common trait of Massachusetts drivers is the use of their car horns. The non-stop sound of honking vehicles is a daily occurrence on these northeast city highways.
A lot of people, who were most likely from Boston, tried to defend their driving habits. One user said, “Drivers are accustomed to many, many, many obstacles as a standard of daily driving.”
In the end, most agreed that while Massachusetts drivers “think they’re the greatest drivers in the world,” their reputation precedes them, and they really are just bad drivers.
The roads in Massachusetts may be to blame
The roads are notoriously bad in Massachusetts, especially Boston. Like most major cities, there is constant construction going on to improve the infrastructure.
The layout can be confusing to out-of-state drivers who unexpectedly encounter one-way streets and poorly marked turns. The city of Boston has narrow streets, limited parking spaces, and plenty of pedestrians and cyclists that will challenge even the best of drivers.
Trolleys share the center of the roads in some places, and potholes and icy road conditions are the norms for Massachusetts drivers. People that live in the city have become familiar with the roadways and tend to drive more aggressively.
A reporter at the local radio station WOKQ 97.5 said Massachusetts drivers are known for “driving too slow, driving too fast, tailgating, driving in the left lane and holding up traffic, not using a turn signal, not knowing what a yield sign really means, and not knowing how to use a rotary.”
How Massachusetts drivers rate for safety
Believe it or not, Massachusetts drivers are among the best in the country when looking at statistics.
Smart Asset conducts an annual study to determine the States With the Worst Drivers. For 2020, Mississippi was rated the worst, while Massachusetts came out on top.
The study looks at traffic fatalities, arrests for driving under the influence, and the percentage of insured drivers. Google Trends for driving tickets is also analyzed. The results revealed, “The Bay State ranks within the best 10 states for three of the four metrics we considered, including having the fewest fatalities in the study per 100 million vehicle miles driven.”
According to CarInsurance.com, Massachusetts is the safest state for teens to drive. It has the lowest fatality rate in the nation for teen drivers. The online insurance marketplace credits the graduated driver’s license program, the low number of DUI arrests, and the low rate of distracted driving for the high score.
It appears Massachusetts drivers aren’t the worst in the nation after all, despite what most of the country believes.