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Worst State to Be In as a Driver During the Holidays

We all love a nice family road trip when it comes to visiting our loved ones across the country. But what states should you steer clear of if you have the option?

Three Worst States to Drive in During the Holidays

Based on 2020 data analyzing holiday-timed accidents and fatalities, Colorado, Virginia, and Wyoming have been identified as the worst states to drive in.

Unfortunately, Virginia can be a tough one to avoid for East Coast drivers heading north to south. Ideally, though, folks planning the great American road trip can do some workarounds when it comes to driving around Colorado or Wyoming.

What makes historic Virginia, the Centennial State of Colorado, and Big Wyoming cowboy country so rough for driving? This data was put together by looking at accident rates, but also factoring in the number of speeding tickets issued and DUIs registered.

Why are There so Many Traffic Accidents Over the Holidays?

There are a lot of factors to consider when figuring out why holiday driving can be so perilous. First, let’s take a look at car accident causes in general, as most of these are the same, if not heightened, during the holidays.

Common causes of car accidents include:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving like passing or turning without looking
  • Running red lights
  • Poor visibility
  • Bad weather conditions
  • Driver distraction
  • Driver fatigue

So, which ones of these are most heightened during the holidays?

Distracted Driving

 The big killer (no pun intended, unfortunately) is distracted driving. Doubly unfortunately, with all the other great trappings of modern technology comes potentially deadly distractions, so this a factor that is not only not going away anytime soon, but seems to be largely increasing.

This makes plenty of sense when it comes to the holidays. Whether it’s texting the in-laws that you’re going to be late or calling ahead to see which kind of wine you should pick up en route, distractions cause accidents.


Speaking of wine, driving under the influence is the second-holiday devil that drivers and passengers need to be aware of and willing to confront head-on. If mom and dad are far too tipsy after Christmas day dinner at Grandmas, go ahead and get the spare bedroom ready or get comfy on the couch. There is never a good excuse for driving drunk, so plan ahead or designate a sober driver ahead of time.


Particularly when it comes to traveling across one or more states to visit family or friends for the holidays, the downside of epic road trips is really long hours behind the wheel.

 Driver fatigue is extra problematic during the holidays, especially when you are on a really long trip or driving home from a late holiday dinner. Again, planning ahead is the key to a safe vacation. Don’t be afraid to spend the night with your extended relatives, and if that’s not an option, book a hotel or Airbnb ahead of time.

Bad Weather

Even if you are an awake, sober, and highly experienced driver, bad weather conditions can spell disaster for anybody and are one of the few scenarios where a White Christmas is really not going to work in anyone’s favor.

Other Perils on the Road

All of this neglects another big danger to consider, which is other drivers. The four big culprits listed above apply not only to you but also to everyone else on the road. When it comes to the holidays, everyone is in the same boat (or car).

But one thing that makes Wyoming, Colorado, and Virginia particularly deadly for drivers is that all three feature many miles of highway, which means lots of big trucks moving at fast speeds.

When it comes to long haul trucking, these drivers may not be on the way to grandma’s house, but they are likely working overtime to make much needed rushed holiday deliveries. That is when factors like speeding or driver fatigue become extra serious.

Getting hit by a truck is nothing like being involved in other car crashes. It is not a fender bender. The enormous mass of 18 wheelers makes for nightmarish tragic scenes far too common in the US, but especially the case in these three states during the holiday traffic rush.

You can read more about truck accident statistics here.