Not all roads are created equal. Fleet drivers know this better than most. The United States’ landscape changes dramatically from one state to the next, creating a wide variety of hazardous conditions. But with 50 to choose from, is there really a most dangerous state?
Below, we explore some of the most dangerous areas American fleet drivers face and share our tips to travel with confidence.
Winter Woes in Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona
The wide-open spaces of the West, though picturesque, are deceptively dangerous. The snowy season is particularly deadly. These states’ winding mountain roads are already tricky to navigate, and when covered in ice and snow, they pose a significant threat to driver safety. Speed plays a role, too. In all four of these states, the speed limit for many highways is 75 mph – five, 10, 15 and even 20 mph higher than the rest of the nation.
It’s imperative that drivers are ready for winter long before the first snowfall. Basic precautions like pre-trip inspections, winter driver safety training and proper tire chain installation can go a long way.
Distracted Driving in the Lone Star State
Keep your eyes on the road in Texas. The state is notorious for negligence, as 91% of all fatal crashes are caused by impaired or distracted drivers. Small behaviors like cell phone use, eating or even fiddling with a GPS can have major consequences.
Distracted driver training teaches drivers how to manage their attention behind the wheel, providing simple strategies to maintain focus and resist nagging temptations. When paired with defensive driver training, which teaches fleets how to respond to the behaviors of other motorists, they’ll be much better prepared to make split-second decisions.
The Deadliest States for Drivers
So, what is the most dangerous state to drive in in 2023? The answer may surprise you. It’s not the traffic-jammed roadways of California, nor the hustle and bustle of New York. When factoring in the total number of crashes and rate of fatalities, one state stands apart – Mississippi.
In 2022, the Magnolia State had 34 car crash deaths for every 100,000 vehicles. That’s more than double the national average of 16. South Carolina, the second most deadly state, saw 29% fewer deaths in 2022, reporting 24 deaths for every 100,000 registered vehicles. The prevalence of speeding is a significant factor in both places, contributing to nearly a third of all incidents.
When there’s too much traffic, too much ground to cover and too little time, it’s easy to put the pedal to the metal. However, it’s critical to reduce stress in the moment. Exceeding the speed limit by a mere 1-5 mph can increase the probability of a crash or claim by 34.1%. If you manage fleet drivers, or if you are a fleet driver yourself, take your time and get feelings of road rage in check.
Create a Rock-Solid Driver Safety Program
Treacherous mountain passes, inclement winter weather, speeding and the prevalence of negligent and distracted driving all contribute to the heightened risks on roads across the United States. As the transportation industry grapples with these challenges, it is imperative for fleet managers and drivers alike to prioritize safety measures, training and awareness. A comprehensive driver safety program will protect drivers and your organization’s reputation, all while saving time and money.
Download our guide below to learn the six fundamental steps you need to take to establish a culture of driver safety.