Insurance company data boxes tally the sudden acceleration and rapid stops of aggressive drivers. How did Colorado drivers rank?

Acceleration, Braking Data Reflect Aggressive Moves

An angry driver shouts, “Hey! Where’d you learn how to drive?”

“Colorado” might be all the answer you need to give.

Colorado drivers are some of the worst in the United States, according to a national car insurer cited by Tamara Chuang of The Denver Post. You may have thought so all along, but this report uses empirical data to confirm that conclusion.

The insurance company, Nationwide, analyzed the driving habits of more than 3 million U.S. drivers who have participated in its SmartRide telematics program over the years, including 40,000 who are enrolled today.

With SmartRide, small electronic cubes under your dashboard track when, where, and how you drive. You may have seen them advertised on TV in connection with safe-driving insurance discounts. The cubes, first used by Progressive insurance in 1998, can and do tell just how often you accelerate too fast or brake too hard. The data gets uploaded into the insurance company’s computers, which analyze your habits and can brand you as a safe driver or a highway menace.

Colorado drivers have “among the worst driving habits,” said Larry Thursby, a Nationwide executive who manages the monitoring program. The analysis groups Centennial State drivers with those in Arizona, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C., who have similar driving tendencies.

Drivers here have a high tendency to speed up suddenly, which is a hallmark of dangerous “aggressive” drivers. Those drivers, often impatient commuters, seem to reach their boiling points during the drive to work on Thursday mornings. On weekends, bad driving reaches its crescendo on Sundays, oddly enough.

Thursby didn’t give a numerical ranking of exactly which state has the worst drivers, but another report, from late 2016, offers a better handle on just where Colorado fits in.

Colorado Crushes Competition for Most Traffic Tickets

Colorado drivers ranked as the eighth-worst drivers in the United States, according to researchers commissioned by the insurance comparison site QuoteWizard. Aldo Svaldi of The Denver Post reported the findings in December.

Utah, California, and Virginia took the top three spots for overall bad driving. Rhode Island is credited with the best driving.

Colorado ranked 10th in speeding tickets and 11th in DUIs. It was first, however, in tickets for running red lights, failing to signal, and driving without a seatbelt, QuoteWizard’s Adam Johnson told the Post.

Other studies, including one by Allstate insurance, mainly use car insurance claims and statistics from deadly auto accidents to reach their conclusions. The QuoteWizard folks, however, wanted to look beyond the worst accidents and get a grip on the everyday behavior drivers encounter.

Johnson told the Post he couldn’t be sure whether the high number of tickets had more to do with bad driving or with tight enforcement of traffic laws by the Colorado State Patrol.

Colorado’s spike in fatal car accidents and other incidents over the past three years, however, points to bad driving as the better explanation.

Bad Drivers Can Be Polite Drivers

Colorado residents’ bad driving records haven’t damaged their good manners, another recent study indicated.

Kars4Kids, a New Jersey-based nonprofit organization, credited Colorado drivers with being the seventh-most-polite drivers in the country. Coloradans tend to yield to other drivers needing to merge into their lane and practice patience when dealing with bad drivers around them, according to the study, also covered in The Denver Post. The top three most-polite drivers can be found in Idaho, New Mexico, and Oregon.

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