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Does South Florida have the worst drivers in the U.S.?
Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

This story was first posted on November 19, 2012. It was updated on April 17, 2019.

When I arrived at the St. Regis Bal Harbour I posted a comment on my Facebook page stating that “I’m pretty sure South Florida has the worst drivers in the United States. Agree or disagree?” It was not only because of the hour-long drive down from Delray Beach during which I feared for my life but also based on my past experiences here, as well.

While cruising in the middle lane going the speed of traffic (around 65mph) I saw a car’s headlights rapidly approaching on the right side. The driver must’ve been going around 100mph because he flew by as he weaved between lanes without a turn signal. If going at Formula One speeds wasn’t bad enough, passing on the righthand side (unless you’re in England, Australia…) is a huge no-no. It wasn’t just him either; others followed and day after day I continue to see at least one driver drive like this.

When I posted that South Florida drivers are the worst on my Facebook page, I wasn’t expecting the onslaught of comments. Most of my friends agreed with me but others made arguments for their home states like Massachusetts, New Jersey, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, Southern California…

So what do you think? Take this poll and we’ll see what the consensus is! Do you agree that South Florida has the worst drivers? If not, nominate another city or state in the comments below!

 

Johnny Jet

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Does South Florida Have the Worst Drivers in the U.S.?
5 (100%) 1 vote

27 Comments On "Does South Florida Have the Worst Drivers in the U.S.?"
  1. LaViajeraMoren|

    I voted for New York. Our drivers are horrible (and very aggressive) here!

    1. Paul|

      Florida has been getting worse as far as bad drivers go. Where do these bad drivers move to Florida from….the ghettos of NY and that doesn’t help the crime statistics either.

  2. Shay Tressa DeSimone (@escriteur)|

    It’s funny; “Boston drivers” have always had such a bad reputation. I lived there for nearly 10 years, and while Bostonians may drive fast, for the most part, they’re safe, smart drivers. Florida is another story altogether.

    We moved to Tampa Bay in 2004, and found the combination of drivers in central/south Florida to be a recipe for disaster. It’s a mixture of young speed freaks/drag racers, tourists who don’t know where they’re going, and a subset of retirees who apparently don’t think traffic rules apply to them. I’m not trying to stereotype here; I know the majority of young/retired/tourist drivers are capable and conscientious…but I see examples of each of these types of drivers every time I’m on the road: speed demons weaving in and out of lanes and riding on top of others’ bumpers, lost tourists or leisurely retirees cutting across two or three lanes — regardless of oncoming traffic — to get to their exit, etc.

    I’ve been in more near-miss accidents — and seen more multi-car pileups — in Florida than anyplace else I’ve lived; and if I didn’t have quick reflexes and defensive driving skills, I shudder to think what might have happened. Suffice it to say that my husband sold his motorcycle shortly after we moved to Florida because he didn’t feel it was safe to drive here — and bear in mind, we used to ride in the Boston area! So I completely agree with your assessment of Florida having the nation’s worst drivers.

  3. Anonymous|

    l voted…but hope this survey does not get in the hands of my insurance carrier!! :-))

  4. Anonymous|

    l voted for California…but l hope my insurance carrier never finds of this survey!!. (San Francisco & LA, the 2 worst) where there is quite a large # of unlicenced & undocumented drivers, not trained to drive on American roads & speeds and who are too UN-INSURABLE!!. Then ad to that, the unlicensed DUI’ers who after losing the right go on to drive like maniacs avoiding being caught (?). Unfortunately, there is hardly a second choice if you must work.

  5. Anonymous|

    Florida has more one-car accidents than any state I’ve ever seen, including Mississippi! Truly insane down there. Pay to drive on the toll roads there if only to avoid the trucks and the worst drivers in the country.

  6. mallthus|

    I’ve found that this issue in states like Florida, New York and California isn’t the “quality” of the drivers, per se. Instead, it’s that there are drivers from around the world, each with their own interpretations of what is and what is not acceptable protocol, laws aside.

    For instance, if you grew up driving in the US or northern Europe, you’re probably prone to taking turns when merging. If everyone does this, it works fine.

    If you grew up driving pretty much anywhere else, when you go to merge, you look for a spot and race for it. Again, if everyone does this, it works pretty well.

    When you get waiters and racers mixed up together in heavy traffic…watch out! Everyone thinks everyone else is an aggressive or incompetent and traffic flow gets completely messed up.

  7. Cas Sandra (@NYCRR98)|

    And they bring those bad habits to NY. Stay back from them they don’t drive right.

  8. joe|

    I moved here from Tennessee. I know that every city and state has their bad drivers, but I do have to say this. I have driven in a few different states and I have to say the drivers in South Florida are very scary. I work at night at a hotel. Every time I have to leave work late, I find it stressful getting onto 9 north. When I get onto the interstate, I have to get over two lanes or end up going to the airport or 595 west. I look in the rearview mirrow to see if I can get over whle using my blinkers and the one thing I see all the time are drives that will speed up so tht you can’t get ver. Fogive me spelling, kepboard is crpy. not picking al the ltters I am tying. I do knw how to spell, the keybard is a POS. as I get over, all I hear are cars blowingthir horns and not allowing anybody to get over. drivers down here do not know what a blinker is for or ho to use it. They al think that I is just pretty lttle ight. I lso see that if they needmine to get off, they all wait till the last pssible minet to get over and force eerybdy to salmon their breaks that hey can get over and slow down. Why nt this. Get over to get yourself plenay of time to getoff on the exit and not till y ou need to get off and forceeverybody to slam on their breaks, you are nt GOD. Use your blinkers, to ue your blinkers, if yu need to get tot th right, the little stick that is on the left side of your stearing wheel, if you pll up on it, your rght binker will sta flashing and that tlls te other drvers that you need to get over. if you push down on it, the left blinker will startflashing, drivers, whn you see that, you don’t ned to push your dreaks, take you foot of the gas pedel and le them over. On that same note, just because you have a blinker, don’t just come over, allowthe driver to adust themselves to your speed and come over, when you come over just afer you put o your blinker, they forces the other driver to react quicker than they have tim to react.

    I guess what I am saying is this, just use yur brains when yo are driving and what every you do, stay off you damn cell phones while you re drivig and look and signle and wen you see a turn single, don’t speed up, let th other driver over. You kno not in yur own country, you are in America and when you reach a certain age, stop drving. The roads ar fo everybody,not jut you so grow the fuck up, driving is a privlages, not a right.

  9. Anonymous|

    I was a professional traffic reporter for 24 years in Dallas-Fort Worth, Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, Phoenix and Miami-Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Florida. I have studied traffic patterns in such cities as Chicago, Houston, San Antonio and New Orleans. South Florida drivers are absolutely the worst, hands down! First, there are retirees from the Northeast (New York, Boston. Philadelphia, etc.) who had taken public transportation all their lives and move to Florida to begin driving in their 70s or 80s. The rest are from foreign cultures (Caribbean, Central & South America) where any “rules of the road” are ignored and it’s everyone for themselves. It is the total opposite of Los Angeles or San Francisco, where drivers must obey the law just to survive. Within three weeks I am moving from Miami (after being here 28 years) to the rural U.S. Mountain West where the biggest traffic problem is shutting down a highway for a few minutes so a rancher can move his sheep. If you love a nightmare every evening on the expressway system, then by all means, move to Miami!

  10. Carmen|

    I have been living in Fort Lauderdale for a year now, work in Miami. Moved here from Chicago and by far South Florida drivers are the worst EVER!!! I fear for my life every time I get into my car, no manners, etiquette, just plain old selfish rude people, its the cultures as someone here commented, these people have no driving rules back at home and this is what they bring to the US. If the humidity doesn’t drive me back to Chicago the rude selfish dangerous driving will for sure. Already looking for a job back at home.

    1. Sandra|

      Carmen: I thoroughly agree with you 200%. I am from NY, moved to Arizona where I drove up and down mountains, but never did I feel such fear behind the wheel since moving to South Florida. I thank God every day when I get home in one piece. There are so many killers on the road.

  11. Anonymous|

    I used to live in New York, moved to Arizona where I drove up and down mountains, but never did I feel such fear behind the wheel since I moved to Florida. I thank God every day when I get home in one piece because every single day there is someone who is a killer on the road.

  12. Aaron|

    Johnny, I own and drive a food truck in south Florida, and I agree that it’s scary out there, if I get hit (going 65 in the right lane) chances are higher here that that person will be uninsured, and I will be screwed (no truck, no work). It’s been 5 years and hasn’t happened yet. People always ask me why I arrive to events so early, I say “I’m just happy to get there in one peice.” Many drivers from out of state (and out of country), young reckless drivers, and slowwww elderly drivers. Oh, and have you seen the scrap metal and junk haulers on 95 with crap flying out everywhere? Everyday man…

  13. Theresa C.|

    South Florida, especially Miami, have THE WORST DRIVERS ever. We have family and were in Miami for 4 days and every day, we almost got wiped out by the craziest drivers. The worst part were the cars that tail gate the vehicle next to you and at the last minute, they decide they are going to cut in front of you and then cut in front of the car they just passed. So glad we don’t live there anymore. Our family thinks that that is normal and you get used to it. Never again!

  14. Charles McCool|

    Definitely South Florida. I agree with you here, Johnny.

    I see people making left hand turns from the far right lane (four lanes) along Calle Ocho without looking. Regularly. Inconceivable but it works. The drivers are so bad that everyone makes the chaos look normal.

  15. sam|

    all of florida is bad…its full of transplants from the north and tourist. lots of bad manners, people with me/ me/ me aggressive attitudes. contractors not securing their cargo too. i cant tell you how many ladders i’ve nearly missed running over, or bld debris on the roads. where is the hwy patrol ??

  16. Nancy|

    You made a great point ‘where are the traffic cops’? I drive over to LA often (to visit son) and I have yet to see bad accidents, they aren’t bad drivers just fast….99% use blinkers and you never hear horns!

  17. Jean|

    Have to agree with South Florida having the worst drivers. I’ve been spending winters in Florida for almost 20 years and I can attest to the fact that those roads down there are down right DANGEROUS! I have to pick my times to run errands, usually early mornings, never midday or evenings.

  18. Joe L. Sandoval|

    As far as I am concerned the worst drivers in the country are in Monterey Park and surrounding areas. This location is populated predominantly by Asians. I don’t know what it is about this group but it is very dangerous driving through that area.

  19. Marge|

    Hands down, the Baltimore-Washington, DC-Annapolis area though Florida esp. during snowbird season might be a close second.

  20. Richard|

    I lived and drove to Miami for 6 years and prayed each minute. Reckless, no insurance, no license, no green card, near misses and hard hits. Almost daily I saw two cars in a collision; then both drivers get out and run from the scene! I have traveled extensively and although there are aggressive drivers in all cities, no one can compare to the “Miami” two-step!

  21. Kimberly|

    Having lived here now for 4.5 years…yes 100% agree with you. I-95 in Norwalk, CT has nothing on I-95 in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Plus there are extra lanes for people to speed on. I think people move here from the NE and the sun bakes their brains. :-) Also, the texting and driving and distracted drivers in general here are the worst! And you never see a cop pulling them over for it. Ridiculous and dangerous!

  22. Roy Kudla|

    Worst drivers I’ve ever seen are in Glendale, California. Lived here 20 years and still amazed at drivers who run stop signs, double park blocking the lane on one side, when a parking spot is a long 30 feet away. Yeah, these are the same folks who hit and run pedestrians over and over again.

  23. Anthony Bober|

    Have only driven in So Florida on limited basis so maybe bad judge. Maybe a survey on State by State basis. Living in LA / OC area I don’t think our drivers are too bad. On the other hand the corridor between Stockton and Sacramento is like an extremely bad nightmare. Had to drive it a lot and honestly made driving in any European area seem incredibly safe and easy.

  24. Patrick Mahoney|

    Concur on So.Fla. HOWEVER…Just returned from Familial visit in Colo.Sprgs,CO.and LET ME TELL YOU it’s like the Indianapolis 500 and not a L.E.O. in sight.Very scary “Careless and Reckless” to beat the band.

  25. T-Dog|

    I’ve lived in Miami all my life. I enjoy driving. I’ve visited and drove in every major city in the country NY,LA,SF,CHI,ATL. I’ve driven in Mexico, Costa Rica, France, I’ve driven in Italy I’ve driven in the Caribbean. I can attest to you there is no where in the world that compares to how bad Miami drivers truly are. There is absolutely no regard for personal safety or the safety of others. There is no rule of law. There is no normal. No signals, no checking mirrors. No stopping or yielding. No patience. No courtesy. It’s just a free for all at all times. If the lanes have traffic congestion a car will enter the turning lane and jump ahead of the queue as soon as the light turns green. Cars make a right turn from the middle lane on a red light. Cars run red lights on the normal. Cars drive recklessly beyond the speed limit and dangerously under the speed limit of the expressway. There are little to no law abiding drivers in the city. And if there are they have adopted the bad driving habits of Miami. These problems are mostly due to predominantly most drivers are from poor countries with poor technique and no safety structure or traffic laws or culturally they don’t care for obeying rules. You can also add practically Zero Traffic enforcement. So who cares if you break rules when there are no consequences for it. The mayor of Miami Dade (Old Cuban guy) is practically also the police sheriff in which he can decide who he wants to be police director and how he wants the department to be run. I don’t believe traffic enforcement is a priority to him as bad as it is for residents and tourists alike. So which in term has resulted in a unchecked unregulated dangerous driving county of Miami. I’ve had much better driving in Cancun, Mexico than I’ve had at home. Sad reality is nothing… not a single thing at this time is being done about it. So people like me is just hoping the next elected officials in Miami is make some changes to this chaotic day to day living in Miami.

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