Safest States for Driving: Essential List of All 50

 Safest States for Driving: Essential List of All 50

RVers know that different parts of the country offer different road conditions, traffic laws, driving behaviors, and so on — but have you ever wondered what are the safest states for driving and RVing in general?

Well, the team at AutoInsurance.org has the answer. That’s because the auto insurance comparison site has put together the list based on the most recent NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data. You can learn more about the methodology used here

Using this data, researchers computed certain safety indicators for every state and determined the safest states for driving. Check out the heat map showing road fatalities per 100,000 by state.

An image of a heat map showing accident trends across the U.S.and the safest states for driving
A heat map type list showing the safest states for driving

Data Trends in the Safest States for Driving

The data highlights an obvious trend: The more rural the state, generally speaking, the more dangerous the roads.

Concurrently, the data shows that while city driving can be intimidating — with busy intersections, high densities of pedestrians, and difficult parking, among other challenges — urban roads are actually far safer.

In 2016, for example, the total number of deaths that occurred as a result of accidents on rural roads actually exceeded that which occurred on urban roads (18,590 vs. 17,656) despite rural roads being far less traveled.

The numbers for the safest states for driving become striking when adjusting these numbers for traffic volume differences.

That’s because the fatality rate per vehicle mile driven is almost three times higher on rural roads than urban ones, according to AutoInsurance.org research.

Perhaps not surprisingly, as the percentage of miles driven on rural roads increases (for each state), so does the fatality rate.

The Safest States for Driving list

The safest states for driving list below, ordered from safest to most dangerous, shows how all 50 states and the District of Columbia stack up in terms of road safety.

  1. Rhode Island
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 4.8
  • Total fatal crashes: 48
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 38%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 6%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 11%
  1. New York
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 5.2
  • Total fatal crashes: 965
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 17%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 13%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 16%
  1. Massachusetts
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 5.8
  • Total fatal crashes: 359
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 29%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 11%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 4%
  1. New Jersey
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 6.7
  • Total fatal crashes: 569
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 22%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 33%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 5%
  1. Minnesota
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 7.2
  • Total fatal crashes: 357
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 28%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 8%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 38%
  1. Washington
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 7.6
  • Total fatal crashes: 504
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 32%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 25%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 24%
An image of a highway in Washington
A highway in Washington – the fifth safeston the list of thesafest states for driving. Photo by David Dallaire on Unsplash
  1. Connecticut
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 8.2
  • Total fatal crashes: 281
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 30%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 5%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 6%
  1. Illinois
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 8.4
  • Total fatal crashes: 1,003
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 26%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 5%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 21%
  1. Hawaii
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 8.5
  • Total fatal crashes: 109
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 25%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 17%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 7%
  1. Maryland
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 8.5
  • Total fatal crashes: 472
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 24%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 6%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 12%
  1. Virginia
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 9.2
  • Total fatal crashes: 722
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 29%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 20%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 32%
  1. Pennsylvania
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 9.3
  • Total fatal crashes: 1,088
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 24%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 6%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 30%
  1. California
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 9.4
  • Total fatal crashes: 3,357
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 23%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 5%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 14%
  1. Utah
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 9.5
  • Total fatal crashes: 259
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 20%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 7%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 29%
  1. Ohio
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 9.8
  • Total fatal crashes: 1,053
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 34%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 6%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 25%
  1. Vermont
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 9.9
  • Total fatal crashes: 57
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 47%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 5%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 66%
  1. New Hampshire
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 10.2
  • Total fatal crashes: 130
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 30%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 4%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 34%
  1. Wisconsin
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 10.6
  • Total fatal crashes: 544
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 32%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 18%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 42%
  1. Michigan
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 10.7
  • Total fatal crashes: 980
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 25%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 6%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 22%
  1. Colorado
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 11.3
  • Total fatal crashes: 558
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 34%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 12%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 28%
  1. Alaska
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 11.4
  • Total fatal crashes: 78
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 45%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 1%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 41%
An image of a highway in Alaska
A highway in Alaska. Alaska is number 30 on the list of the safest states for driving. Photo by Joris Beugels on Unsplash
  1. Nebraska
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 11.6
  • Total fatal crashes: 194
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 39%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 7%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 57%
  1. Nevada
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 11.6
  • Total fatal crashes: 303
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 30%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 3%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 29%
  1. Maine
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 12.1
  • Total fatal crashes: 151
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 31%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 2%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 64%
  1. Oregon
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 12.4
  • Total fatal crashes: 446
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 27%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 2%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 39%
  1. Indiana
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 12.5
  • Total fatal crashes: 768
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 18%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 5%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 38%
  1. Delaware
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 12.7
  • Total fatal crashes: 116
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 31%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 14%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 26%
  1. Iowa
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 13.0
  • Total fatal crashes: 356
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 26%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 9%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 61%
  1. South Dakota
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 13.6
  • Total fatal crashes: 103
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 42%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 9%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 77%
  1. Texas
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 14.0
  • Total fatal crashes: 3,407
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 25%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 11%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 24%
  1. Arizona
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 14.3
  • Total fatal crashes: 865
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 23%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 6%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 32%
  1. North Carolina
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 14.6
  • Total fatal crashes: 1,348
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 28%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 12%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 28%
  1. West Virginia
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 14.6
  • Total fatal crashes: 250
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 28%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 2%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 44%
  1. Kansas
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 14.8
  • Total fatal crashes: 381
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 21%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 25%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 52%
  1. Georgia
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 15.4
  • Total fatal crashes: 1,422
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 22%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 5%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 25%
  1. North Dakota
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 15.4
  • Total fatal crashes: 102
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 48%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 11%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 73%
  1. Idaho
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 15.5
  • Total fatal crashes: 232
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 28%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 21%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 57%
  1. Missouri
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 15.6
  • Total fatal crashes: 868
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 28%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 9%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 37%
  1. Florida
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 15.9
  • Total fatal crashes: 2,933
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 21%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 8%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 19%
  1. Tennessee
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 15.9
  • Total fatal crashes: 966
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 23%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 13%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 30%
  1. Louisiana
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 16.3
  • Total fatal crashes: 704
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 30%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 19%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 33%
  1. Oklahoma
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 17.6
  • Total fatal crashes: 624
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 28%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 8%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 45%
  1. Arkansas
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 18.4
  • Total fatal crashes: 488
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 23%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 5%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 45%
  1. Montana
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 18.6
  • Total fatal crashes: 171
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 48%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 9%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 75%
  1. Kentucky
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 18.9
  • Total fatal crashes: 763
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 25%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 25%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 52%
  1. Wyoming
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 19.2
  • Total fatal crashes: 100
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 29%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 15%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 76%
  1. New Mexico
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 19.3
  • Total fatal crashes: 358
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 29%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 40%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 54%
  1. South Carolina
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 21.0
  • Total fatal crashes: 936
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 36%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 5%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 43%
  1. Alabama
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 21.4
  • Total fatal crashes: 937
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 15%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 5%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 38%
  1. Mississippi
  • Road fatalities per 100,000: 23.1
  • Total fatal crashes: 628
  • % of crashes involving alcohol: 16%
  • % of crashes involving a distracted driver: 0%
  • % of miles driven on rural roads: 50%

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Safest States for Driving: Essential List of All 50

Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

4 Comments

  • So does the information then lead us to believe that you’ll have lower insurance rates if you live in a “safer” state? And what if you’re living on the road full time, should you claim a “safe” state as “home” and register your vehicles there to take advantage of the in theory lower rates? I’m thinking a call to our insurance provider might shed some light on this. But thanks for sharing this.

  • It would be helpful to know how many of each state’s fatal crashes involved out of state vehicles. The rate per 100,000 is based on that state’s population, but this doesn’t necessarily reflect the traffic on the state’s roads. How is out-of-state traffic factored in?

  • […] Source […]

  • I also note that many of the more “dangerous ” states have higher posted speed limits. A crash at 80 -vs- one at 55 will often give different results.

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