In the spring of 2023, the Assurance IQ team surveyed 3,209 U.S. drivers in 44 states. They found that drivers in the eastern U.S. are more distracted.
However, it is also worth noting that there were not enough respondents to conclude Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Let’s take a closer look at this study and find out where in the United States the most distracted drivers are found. You may find that there are states you should avoid on your travels!
What are distracted driving behaviors?
Distracted drivers are risky drivers. They are more likely to be involved in a car accident, endangering the lives of other drivers and passengers.
The most common behaviors of distracted drivers include texting, talking on cell phones, selecting music, checking GPS, interacting with passengers, and eating.
Many parents get distracted by their kids in the back seat. Many teens get distracted by their friends riding along. Others try to put on makeup or check their email in the car while driving. These behaviors are dangerous and often lead to collisions.
Are men or women involved in more accidents?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “In 2021, the highest percentage of drunk drivers was in the 21- to 24-year-old and 25- to 34-year-old age groups. Males are most likely to be involved in these types of crashes, with four male drunk drivers for every female drunk driver.”
The 2021 Annual Snapshot from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) also found that “Men had a higher per capita crash fatality rate than women in 2021. Men ages 25 to 29 had the highest rates of crash fatalities.”
Thus, the data show that men are involved in more crashes than women. It should be noted, however, that even though men are more likely to be distracted, they tend to drive more miles than women.
Therefore, the percentage should reflect longer distances and more time spent in the vehicle.
Which age group is involved in the most accidents?
Most drunk drivers are between 21 and 34 years old. About 27% of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes were in this age group.
For other distracted behaviors such as speeding, driving at night, texting, or driving while fatigued, young and older drivers tend to have more crashes than middle-aged drivers.
Teens have less experience and are easily distracted by their fellow drivers, while older drivers have poorer night vision and are slower to react.
These states have the highest percentage of drivers texting while driving
In the Assurance IQ Team survey, about half of drivers in Mississippi, New Hampshire, and Missouri admitted to texting while driving. Over 46% of drivers in Alabama, Louisiana, and Illinois also admit to engaging in this dangerous behavior.
Respondents in West Virginia and Missouri admit to texting while driving more than ten times a month. Drivers in Texas, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Mississippi say they text while driving about eight times a month.
Remember: You’ve probably heard of the 3-3-3 rule for RVers to make travel days easier, but have you heard of defensive driving techniques?
These states have the lowest percentage of drivers who text while driving
In New York, however, less than 15% of drivers text while driving. Drivers in Pennsylvania, Oregon, and New Jersey also avoid texting behind the wheel. Less than 25% of them engage in this behavior.
However, texting and driving is not the only risky behavior. Over 50% of respondents admitted to messing with their GPS and selecting music while driving. About the same number of drivers said they get too involved in conversations with their passengers.
Nearly 38% of drivers report eating while driving. Less than 20% of respondents admit to texting while driving.
How to stay safe when driving or towing an RV
As you travel across the country in your RV, you will encounter distracted drivers time and time again.
You may have observed a woman putting on makeup while holding the steering wheel with her knees, or a teenager speeding through traffic at dangerous speeds on the highway. So how can you stay safe while driving or towing an RV?
First, stay in the right lane when traveling on the highway. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you to make sure you have enough room to stop suddenly. A 20,000-pound toy hauler is not so easy to bring to a stop.
Your speed is also important. Maintain a safe speed of 60 to 65 mph. Not only is this best for fuel efficiency, but it is easier to slow down from 60 mph than from 75 mph.
You also need to pay close attention to your surroundings. Practice defensive driving by paying attention to the pavement, looking ahead and observing the behavior of other drivers.
Unfortunately, you can’t prevent an accident 100% of the time. But if you use these safe driving tactics, you are less likely to be involved in an accident.
As much as possible, avoid driving at night, driving in bad weather, and driving while tired. These situations are just as unsafe as texting or eating behind the wheel. Plan ahead and allow plenty of time to get from point A to point B.
Check the weather forecast and leave a day early or stay longer to avoid high winds or dangerous thunderstorms. And always stop if you feel too exhausted to drive safely.
Remember: Are RVs safe if you get into a wreck? Let’s dive in and see.
Opt for defensive driving, not distracted driving, to keep everyone safe
In 2021, the number of fatal traffic crashes will increase by about 10% compared to 2020. That’s not a trend we want to continue. That’s about 43,000 people who lost their lives – sons, daughters, grandparents, parents and friends whose lives were cut short.
Most of these accidents could have been prevented if passengers had been wearing seat belts, if drivers had obeyed the speed limit, if impaired drivers had chosen to ride home in an Uber, or if other changes had been made.
Let’s not text and drive. Let’s focus more on the road and less on our passengers.
What will these statistics look like if we all choose defensive driving over distracted driving next year?