When it comes to driving in the U.S., there is a wide diversity in the terrain, road quality, and drivers you encounter. After 23 years of traveling to and around the country, including one year of RVing, I’ve covered 35 states. Along the way, I’ve come across five places that give me a headache when I think about driving there. So, these are the top five worst states to drive in — according to me. Keep in mind that I have never driven in these or any other locations during heavy snow.
5. Las Vegas, NV
The same week I started RVing was the week I moved from Atlanta to Nevada. I absolutely love calling the Battleborn State home, but I hate driving in Las Vegas. As is the case in most cities, Vegas drivers are impatient. To add to this, the roads are frequently under construction and they don’t always paint in temporary white lines. So, you’ll be on the highway trying to guess where your lane begins and someone else’s ends. I also hate making left turns in Vegas, because they are usually separate lanes blocked off by medians for about 1,000 feet. So, if you don’t know the area well, that makes it easy to miss your turn.
I do, however, like driving in Nevada outside of Vegas. One of my favorite roads is the drive from Vegas up to Lake Mead. The winding road is flanked by mountains and valleys that provide diverse colors, shapes, and wildlife. Driving through Valley of Fire is also an amazing experience.
4. Atlanta, GA
When I first learned to drive in America, Atlanta was home. I remember being so paranoid about going on the highway that it always took me an extra 10 to 15 minutes to get everywhere, compared to family or friends. I only finally got on the highway when I decided I wanted to travel across America and go RVing. At that point, I knew there would be no avoiding it.
So, what was it about the Atlanta highways that made me nervous? The drivers were not just impatient; they were reckless.
- I almost got run off the road several times — usually by truckers and Dodge Charger drivers.
- Twice, I was almost T-boned by someone casually running a red light.
- Atlanta has highways with a whopping SIXTEEN lanes.
- I285, which circles the Atlanta city limits, is the deadliest highway in America.
Of all the places I’ve driven in, I’ve never honked anywhere, like I honked in Atlanta. In fact, Georgia is one of two states where I have ever used my horn in either of my two vehicles.
Arizona is a tricky state to rank. I have always commended the effort of the Department of Transportation — or whoever puts up those thoughtful signs for people like me. It is the only state I’ve driven through that has signs telling you exactly which lanes to move to for high winds if you’re towing. It will say left lane for the next five miles and then right and then left. I love that! But, my God, Arizona drivers are the absolute worst! They would pull out of parking spaces without looking, ride your butt on the highways, never use their turn signals and just turn in front of you and expect you to stop.
In fact, according to several news agencies, Arizona consistently ranks among the worst drivers in America. So, I’m not the only one who absolutely hates sharing the road with them.
When I was in Atlanta, much of my honking needs came from driving a small car. Once I upgraded to my FJ Cruiser, people treated me with more respect on the road. In Arizona, the drivers were so swift with the dangerous maneuvers that I barely had time to honk. So, it was Wyoming that I first knew what Samson sounded like when he shouted angrily. I have had to honk at not just drivers opening their car doors in the middle of the road, but also pedestrians waiting until you’re right by them to cross. To make matters worse, deer is common in Wyoming. I have seen them casually strolling through downtown areas, forcing us to pull off emergency stops at intersections. Consequently, I rarely drive in Wyoming after dark.
Even from an aesthetic perspective, Wyoming is not one of my favorite driving spots. The Grand Tetons are still the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen in my life and driving through Wind River Canyon is amazing. But, they do not represent all of the state. Much of the driving routes take you through boring flatlands and farms with nothing to look at. Throw in the impatient drivers from Utah and you’ll be ready to get off the road as soon as possible.
1. New York City, NY
Driving in New York City is so awful that I have never actually driven in NYC and don’t want to. I have vivid memories of dodging bullets while driving through town with my aunt and narrowly missing being run over by an ambulance that was speeding down the highway on the wrong side. To make matters worse, there’s a lot of traffic and a pervasive smell of urine. I am no city girl, and of all the urban centers I have visited in America, New York is my least favorite.
That said, New York is beautiful at night if you can find a spot with a good view and no stray bullets. I’m sure it’s also an amazing location for young people who love the idea of being in a city that never sleeps. However, you won’t find me dragging my RV through the Big Apple anytime soon.
What are some of the worst states and cities you’ve driven through in America? Share them with me in the comments below!