Here are a few things everyone knows to be true. Go outside with wet hair, and you’ll get a cold. Fortune cookies come from China. And Massachusetts drivers are the worst in the country.
I know this last item sounds unbelievable. We wait tensely at a red light and, the moment it turns green, make a left turn before drivers going the other way have time to react. Stop signs, we tell everyone, are mere “suggestions.” At a crowded merge — the Central Artery southbound coming out of the tunnel, for instance — eyes are dead ahead. You let the other guy catch you looking, and you’re doomed. “A yellow light is just a ripe green,” goes the saying. We pass on the right. We swerve. We take off abruptly. We stop quickly. We’re Boston drivers — the name applies even when we live elsewhere in the state. We’re known nationwide, visitors fear to drive in our midst, and we wreak mayhem on the streets.
Yet fewer people are killed by automobiles in Massachusetts than in any of the other 50 states and the District of Columbia. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, our fatality rate is just .62 for every million miles traveled. The worst is Montana, more than double at 1.79.
An insurance website — carinsurancecomparison.com — annually looks at such data and ranks drivers from worst to best. Aside from fatalities, it tracks careless driving, failure to obey the rules of the road, drunk driving, and traffic tickets. By its reckoning, the worst drivers are from Louisiana while the best come from Vermont. Massachusetts drivers are quite good too, coming in at 10th best.
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