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License to rage: These 10 U.S. states have the worst road rage

ConsumerAffairs compared the rate of speeding/careless driving tickets, accidents, fatalities, and traffic incidents involving gun violence to discover which states have more reckless drivers.

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A man driving inside a blue car, his head is sticking out and is seen yelling at a red car in front of him.

Noiel // Shutterstock

Getting behind the steering wheel in America can be a stressful experience, even with the best auto warranty in your back pocket. Common occurrences like getting cut off in traffic can turn confrontational and force drivers across the country into increasingly dangerous situations.

Amid mounting concern over road rage incidents on America's highways, ConsumerAffairs analyzed data on aggressive driving. We compared the rate of speeding/careless driving tickets, accidents, fatalities, and traffic incidents involving gun violence to discover which states have more reckless drivers.

Key Insights

  • Five out of the 10 states with the worst road rage are in the Sunbelt of the United States.
  • Louisiana's road rage score tops our list primarily because it has the second-highest rate of careless driving and speeding citations in the country.
  • New Mexico has the highest rate of road rage incidents involving guns, at more than four times the national average.
  • Montana's score suggests road rage isn't restricted to states with high congestion rates.

Our ranking of the most aggressive drivers by state provides a score for each state based on road rage incidents involving gun violence, fatal accidents attributed to aggressive or careless driving, fatalities due to aggressive or careless driving, and citations for careless or aggressive driving (including excessive speed).

The top 10 states with the most road rage

Heatmap showing “States with the most road rage (2024)”.

ConsumerAffairs

Cruising down America's highways conjures up fantasies of freedom, but that ideal can be rudely interrupted by someone cutting you off or signaling with an obscene gesture. Are some drivers in certain states just less courteous or safe than others?

The short answer is yes, but it's complicated. According to our data, drivers in states with a lot of traffic and congestion seem likelier to experience road rage or fatal accidents than others. This pattern is evident in Louisiana and, to a lesser extent, New Jersey, where careless driving and speeding seem to create a climate that leads to fatal accidents.

However, states like New Mexico, Montana and Wisconsin provide evidence that you don't need clogged roadways to create a recipe for road rage or reckless driving. Both New Mexico and Wisconsin's relatively uncrowded highways have a concerningly high rate of road rage incidents involving guns, something Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun violence prevention group, says is becoming increasingly common. And while Montana has one of the lowest numbers of drivers per mile in the U.S., the state still managed to rack up more than 100 fatal accidents attributed to aggressive or careless driving in 2022.

Last but not least, while a few Northern states have lots of aggressive driving, 5 out of 10 states that snagged the top scores on our list are in the Sunbelt of the United States. Spanning from Colorado and New Mexico to North Carolina and Georgia, these drivers seem to be a little more stressed when they get behind the wheel. 

1. Louisiana

Louisiana drivers sure seem to be in a hurry to get somewhere or are distracted while driving. With one of the country's highest rates of careless driving and speeding citations, the state leads our list for aggressive drivers.

Unfortunately, aggressive and careless driving behaviors are a factor in 62.2% of Louisiana's accidents, resulting in an increase in fatalities in the state that corresponds with a similar nationwide spike in traffic fatalities.

Louisiana road rage score: 47.32

  • Road rage incidents with a gun per 100K residents: 0.52
  • Accidents with fatalities due to aggressive and/or careless driving per 100K residents: 11.55
  • Percentage of accidents due to aggressive and/or careless driving: 62.2%
  • Aggressive and/or careless driving or speeding violations per 100K residents: 2.85

2. New Mexico

While New Mexico doesn't necessarily experience more road rage incidents than other states, it does have a higher per capita rate of driver confrontations involving a gun.

Recent high-profile fatal road rage shootings certainly haven't helped improve the public perception of New Mexico's hostile highways. It's also worth noting the number of citations issued for careless driving in New Mexico is almost double the national average.

New Mexico road rage score: 44.66

  • Road rage incidents with a gun per 100K residents: 2.08
  • Accidents with fatalities due to aggressive and/or careless driving per 100K residents: 9.94
  • Percentage of accidents due to aggressive and/or careless driving: 50.1%
  • Aggressive and/or careless driving or speeding violations per 100K residents: 1.85

3. Montana

You might expect a stress-free driving experience in Montana due to its relatively uncongested roads. While the state doesn't have a high rate of gun-related road rage incidents, you'll still need to buckle up and prepare for aggressive driving behaviors.

Perhaps the open space encourages speeding — the state has an outsized rate of fatal accidents related to careless driving despite a citation rate that's half the national average. Montana's lackluster enforcement might be directly related to the smaller size of its police force and the wide range of miles required to patrol the state.

Montana road rage score: 42.44

  • Road rage incidents with a gun per 100K residents: 0.36
  • Accidents with fatalities due to aggressive and/or careless driving per 100K residents: 11.67
  • Percentage of accidents due to aggressive and/or careless driving: 71.2%
  • Aggressive and/or careless driving or speeding violations per 100K residents: 0.45

4. Colorado

When you think of Colorado, you probably picture scenic mountain passes and unspoiled rural roadways. However, the mile-high city of Denver has its fair share of traffic and congestion that contributes to frustrated and rageful drivers.

Although Colorado's armed road rage incidents are nearly double the national average, efforts to combat aggressive driving with an equally aggressive citation approach seem to have paid off in fewer fatal accidents.

Colorado road rage score: 41.42

  • Road rage incidents with a gun per 100K residents: 0.81
  • Accidents with fatalities due to aggressive and/or careless driving per 100K residents: 7.41
  • Percentage of accidents due to aggressive and/or careless driving: 61.9%
  • Aggressive and/or careless driving or speeding violations per 100K residents: 2.83

5. Arkansas

Road rage incidents involving a gun in Arkansas are so infrequent they barely register in our score, but aggressive driving behaviors are still pervasive in the state.

In fact, the state registers the highest rates of fatal accidents due to aggressive driving in the country. The recent spike in traffic fatalities isn't unique to Arkansas, but that doesn't make the rise less concerning for residents.

Arkansas road rage score: 40.95

  • Road rage incidents with a gun per 100K residents: 0.10
  • Accidents with fatalities due to aggressive and/or careless driving per 100K residents: 11.92
  • Percentage of accidents due to aggressive and/or careless driving: 62.3%
  • Aggressive and/or careless driving or speeding violations per 100K residents: 1.22

6. New Jersey

Getting flipped off on the Jersey Turnpike is a rite of passage for many drivers. But the state has very few road rage incidents involving guns, and the rate of fatal accidents due to aggressive driving is just above the national average.

However, a nationwide-high 72.8% of fatalities on the road in New Jersey are due to aggressive or careless driving. New Jersey also has one of the highest citation rates in the U.S.

New Jersey road rage score: 36.20

  • Road rage incidents with a gun per 100K residents: 0.07
  • Accidents with fatalities due to aggressive and/or careless driving per 100K residents: 5.00
  • Percentage of accidents due to aggressive and/or careless driving: 72.1%
  • Aggressive and/or careless driving or speeding violations per 100K residents: 2.69

7. North Carolina

While it's not exactly the Jersey Turnpike, North Carolina does have its share of crowded highways. Fortunately, drivers in the state experience very few road rage incidents involving a gun.

The state's struggles with aggressive driving are likely due to congested roadways that lead to frustration and higher fatality rates. North Carolina's Department of Transportation has several projects under way to ease traffic congestion around Charlotte, although many could take years to complete.

North Carolina road rage score: 33.66

  • Road rage incidents with a gun per 100K residents: 0.45
  • Accidents with fatalities due to aggressive and/or careless driving per 100K residents: 7.64
  • Percentage of accidents due to aggressive and/or careless driving: 54.5%
  • Aggressive and/or careless driving or speeding violations per 100K residents: 1.77

8. Delaware

Delaware may be tiny, but its drivers are definitely in a hurry to get somewhere.

While gun violence incidents on its roadways fall well below the national average, Delaware still struggles with high rates of speeding and careless driving citations. Just last year, the state passed more stringent penalties for speeding and reckless driving to address a growing number of highway fatalities.

Delaware road rage score: 30.73

  • Road rage incidents with a gun per 100K residents: 0.39
  • Accidents with fatalities due to aggressive and/or careless driving per 100K residents: 6.68
  • Percentage of accidents due to aggressive and/or careless driving: 47.6%
  • Aggressive and/or careless driving or speeding violations per 100K residents: 2.26

9. Wisconsin

Surprisingly, Wisconsin's reputation for Midwestern friendliness doesn't seem to apply when drivers get behind the wheel. Once they hit the road, Wisconsinites are more likely to look like they're extras from "The Fast and Furious."

The state has a relatively high rate of armed road rage incidents. Also, a relatively high percentage of accidents and fatalities are due to aggressive or careless driving.

Wisconsin road rage score: 30.63

  • Road rage incidents with a gun per 100K residents: 1.10
  • Accidents with fatalities due to aggressive and/or careless driving per 100K residents: 5.24
  • Percentage of accidents due to aggressive and/or careless driving: 56.4%
  • Aggressive and/or careless driving or speeding violations per 100K residents: 1.04

10. Georgia

Everything isn't always peachy with Georgia drivers, who tend to be a little more stressed out and more likely to be speeding behind the wheel than those in neighboring states.

This translates to an elevated risk of fatal accidents as a result of careless driving. Atlanta legislators have been urging new laws to crack down on "superspeeding" after a spike in drag races in the city.

Georgia road rage score: 28.55

  • Road rage incidents with a gun per 100K residents: 0.61
  • Accidents with fatalities due to aggressive and/or careless driving per 100K residents: 6.53
  • Percentage of accidents due to aggressive and/or careless driving: 42.5%
  • Aggressive and/or careless driving or speeding violations per 100K residents: 1.85

5 states with the least road rage

Perhaps there's something calming about an ocean breeze because several of the states with the least aggressive drivers are located on the West or East Coast. The following five states received our lowest road rage scores.

  • New Hampshire (3.07)
  • Rhode Island (8.19)
  • California (8.33)
  • Virginia (8.51)
  • South Dakota (9.48)

What's the secret to New Hampshire's calm roads? Interestingly, the Granite State earned a higher (worse) score for more armed road rage incidents per capita than New Jersey and Arkansas, but this was heavily outweighed by its incredibly low percentage of accidents involving careless or aggressive driving (just 14.6% of accidents in the state).

The other four states with low road rage scores had similar results, with less than 30% of accidents reported involving careless or aggressive driving. South Dakota also deserves a tip of the hat as one of only three states in the U.S. with no armed road rage incidents, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.

U.S. states with the most and least road rage (2024)

See where your state ranks for armed road rage incidents, fatal accidents due to careless driving and other aggressive driver-related statistics.

Bottom line

Table showing “States with the most road rage (2024)”.

ConsumerAffairs

While America's affinity for driving is a hallmark of our highway system, not all drivers share the road safely and courteously. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides the following tips if you encounter road rage or someone driving recklessly.

  • Move over. If you're in the left lane or middle lane, move to the right and allow the driver to pass.
  • Back off. Give speeding drivers space, as they're more likely to crash.
  • Keep watch. Pay attention to your surroundings, and steer out of the way of an unsafe driver.
  • Call the police. Call 911 immediately if someone is following or harassing you.

If you experience rage or frustration behind the wheel, experts advise pulling over, taking a few calming breaths and only merging back into traffic when your anxiety and stress feel more manageable.

Methodology

To determine the states with the most (and least) road rage, our team scored all 50 states across six metrics:

  • Traffic incidents involving gun violence per 100,000 residents from the Gun Violence Archive (2021 to 2023)
  • Accidents involving fatalities due to aggressive/careless driving per 100,000 residents from the NHTSA (2022)
  • Fatalities due to aggressive/careless driving per 100,000 residents from the NHTSA (2022)
  • Percentage of accidents due to aggressive/careless driving from the NHTSA (2022)
  • Percentage of fatalities due to aggressive/careless driving from the NHTSA (2022)
  • Aggressive/careless driving and speeding violations per 100,000 residents from the NHTSA (2022)

Scores were calculated for each metric for each state by assigning the state with the highest number a score of 10 and others relative scores. We then added the six scores together to create a road rage score.

This story was produced by ConsumerAffairs and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.