Georgia drivers among the worst in U.S.

Have you humans ever heard the line "if you love something, set it free and give it a no-bid airport contract?" (Hideously manipulated AJC file photo)

Have you humans ever heard the line "if you love something, set it free?" (AJC file photo, fashionable panda accessory added via Photoshop)

It’s not Christmas quite yet, but avid readers of this space will be getting an early gift — after a bit of time off I am working 9 of the next 10 days.

So, buckle up for a joyous magical ride the likes of which even Rudolph has never seen.

Quite a bit of news has transpired since my last work of prose so let’s get right to the serious business of dissecting semi-current events.

  • Georgians aren’t the worst drivers in the U.S., according to a new report that seems about as trustworthy as that dude using the wrong blinker while talking on the cellphone and downing a Breakfast Burrito as he merges onto I-285. Georgia ranks 14th on this naughty list, and, as usual, we are better than any other state in the South, which, according to the study, drives like I wrap Christmas gifts. Louisiana is home of the worst drivers, followed by South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama and Florida. North Carolina is 8th and Tennessee is 13th. The best drivers are in Vermont, New Hampshire and other states chock full of ice, snow and Yankees.
  • You may know by now that Zoo Atlanta’s panda twins were mistakenly identified as boys, but did you hear they are thinking of changing the name of one of them to Shirley, slapping a corsage on its pelt and awarding its relatives airport contracts? No? Me either.
  • China has landed on the moon and reportedly found no sign the U.S. visited 44 years ago. Just kidding, but wouldn’t that be a great conspiracy theory? Feel free to launch that one when you see your black helicopter-fearing Uncle Jesse this holiday season.
  • Looking for a perfect gift for the aforementioned Uncle Jesse? Consider incandescent light bulbs, which will be almost impossible to find by July of 2014, says Home Depot. Federal law forbids the import and manufacture of the ancient, energy-hungry devices that provide perfect lighting.
  • An Italian protester is accused of sexual assault after kissing a riot police officer’s face shield. Nina De Chiffre, 20, is guilty of “sexual violence and insulting a public official” said a police union official. De Chiffre said she was trying to encourage a violent reaction from the officer. ”[The kiss was] no peace message,” she wrote on Facebook. “I would hang all these disgusting pigs upside down.”
  • After her husband’s death, an Oregon woman, 65, tries to find the son she gave up for adoption 45 years ago and learns he died in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. “I found him and I lost him on the same day,” said Carol King-Eckersley.
  • The federal government pays John Hopkins University scientists to skin rats, electrically stimulate their genitals and freeze their tissue. The sexual health studies are “cruel and trivial,” says PETA, and suggests the millions in funding be pumped into a cardiovascular research program that has been bled dry of funding.
  • The U.S. has so many federal laws no one can accurately count them. The Justice Department, which has to keep track of such things, undertook “the laborious counting” of scattered statutes “for the express purpose of exposing the idiocy” of the system, says a retired federal official in The Wall Street Journal. “There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime,” said John Baker, a retired Louisiana State University law professor who has also tried counting the number of new federal crimes created in recent years. “That is not an exaggeration.” In related news, sheriffs are refusing to enforce federal gun laws.
  • Colorado lawmakers are worried there’s not going to be enough marijuana to meet demand when the plant is legally allowed to be sold Jan. 1 and violence will erupt as people wait in huge lines in freezing temperatures while holding enormous sums of cash. A quick solution would be to let people buy weed on Amazon via the new Kindle Bong.

BREAKING FLUFF: The AJC is giving away free Georgia Lottery T-shirts to the daily winner of our Eye For News game, which I am told was designed and created by a cool dude. To win you have to have the high score at 1 pm. The contest is being held this week, Monday to Friday from 11 am to 1 pm. Good luck! Here’s a pic of the shirt …


37 comments Add your comment

Hidden agenda

December 16th, 2013
10:11 am

Sometimes I wonder if a pointless story becomes the lead in this column specifically to deter readers from paying attention to the more important issues being raised by the other columns. For instance, the government wasting our tax dollars to pay Johns Hopkins to torture rats or the gross excess of federal laws that mean essentially that everyone in America is a federal criminal but they just haven’t been targeted by a Federal prosecutor yet.

George Mathis

December 16th, 2013
10:21 am

There’s no hidden agenda. But “offbeat” leads seem to do better with readers. I try to mix the two.

Georgia Worst

December 16th, 2013
10:24 am

I’ve lived/driven in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia–and have driven in every state along theo eastern seaboard and every state along Route 44 from North Carolina to Los Angeles. Georgia/Atlanta have the absolute worst drivers of any place I’ve driven–they are just plain stupid and do not know the rules of the road!!


December 16th, 2013
10:27 am

Hidden – Agreed, there is new here, somewhere buried in snark.


December 16th, 2013
10:40 am

I agree with #GeorgiaWorst. I’ve lived in California, Oregon, Washington, Florida, Puerto Rico, and have visited 39 states in the U.S. Besides PR, Georgia does have the absolute rudest and worst drivers.


December 16th, 2013
10:51 am

You should see The Yahoos on the Interstate when its Raining…. Everyone Puts on their “Emergency Flashers” they continue driving even SLOWER in ALL LANES.

Road Scholar

December 16th, 2013
10:52 am

Georgia is ranked 14th . C’mon ya’ll! We can be number one!

Did anyone notice that the majority of the worst states are red/ southern/ tea party states! Not only are they math and science challenged, but driving challenged!

Turn signal? What’s that? Georgia drivers don’t leave theirs on….because they never use them!!!!!!!!!!!


December 16th, 2013
11:09 am

I drove in almost every state mentioned in this article. Georgia has better drivers. Vermont? They stay home when the bad weather hits. Of the few who do brave the elements, they get pulled out of ditches when help arrives.


December 16th, 2013
11:12 am

China has landed on the moon – Not Good news for NASA, Corporate Secrets and American Telephone and E-mails users.


December 16th, 2013
11:20 am

The worst drivers on Georgia roads are in vehicles with Tennessee plates. They must offer prizes for closest tailgating up there.


December 16th, 2013
11:30 am

The fact is that a large number of our metro Atlanta drivers are illegals – or undocumented workers or whatever the correct PC term is this week. Many of them have no clue about the rules of the road, not to mention no drivers license or insurance. Good luck if you’re ever involved in a traffic accident with one of them.


December 16th, 2013
11:56 am

How can any state have worse drivers than GA? Flawed study, if you ask me…

Hidden agenda

December 16th, 2013
12:04 pm

The bad drivers are only made worse by the horrible traffic and road engineers at the DOT who build freeways that don’t adequately drain, overuse/improperly use the Yield and Keep Moving signs, create crazy 1/4 “turn lanes” with multiple turn arrows and all the rest of the insanity you see on the roads here in GA. The correct response is not to say “well then why don’t you move back to such and such”. There are correct ways to build an intersection, freeway, roadway, and frankly plenty of other states do a far better job. If our safety is the primary concern, the right answer should be embraced, regardless of what state it comes from.

Hidden agenda

December 16th, 2013
12:04 pm

I meant to say 1/4 mile long turn lanes, not just 1/4 turn lanes.


December 16th, 2013
12:18 pm

how many of those drivers have moved in here? I remember forty years ago we had good drivers and people showed respect to other drivers now people are always in a hurry to get every where ,running stop lights,pulling out in front of others trying to get ahead of everybody on the road,if those drivers would just have some patience it would be better for them and us just try to slow down people


December 16th, 2013
12:21 pm

Hey! When we see others’ “scores” at the end of our awesome playtime with the word search, is that people’s final time that they used or how much time they had left? I ask because I’m shown how much time I have left – usually not much. And some people have 1:38 “left” the way it looks now. So, it is either impossible or switched around.

Road Scholar

December 16th, 2013
12:21 pm

Hidden agenda: Interesting since all states use the same “design” bible! What about the comprehension rates of the users? Those”its my road” drivers?


December 16th, 2013
12:45 pm

Let’s face it, Gwinnetians drag the entire metro area down. See someone doing something stupid or driving cluelessly or slowly? 8/10 times they are from Gwinnett. Gwinnett is not great – it should be walled off.


December 16th, 2013
12:54 pm

I will never understand the non-use of turn signals down here. The turn signal is literally centimeters away from your hand on the steering wheel at the 10 o’clock position; my pinky rests on the thing ready to use. Then again I’m just some dumb yankee who took driver’s ed decades ago.

Jack ®

December 16th, 2013
1:00 pm

I was kinda wondering if Shirley’s airport contract story would surface again. I’ve always wondered what was done about all the unpaid taxes owed by her ex. I suppose they were all written off with a flourish of a pen or a computer keystroke. That old saw came to mind: It ain’t what you know, it’s who you know.


December 16th, 2013
1:02 pm

Like most ‘rankings’, the final results not always the best measure of who’s ‘best’. The stat that matters most is deaths per miles traveled. The fact that Southerner cops write more tickets more likely means that they are actually patrolling the roads rather than assuming Northern drivers aren’t committing infractions. Check out YouTubes videos of bad drivers. Just like people of Walmart…they are EVERYWHERE!

Hidden agenda

December 16th, 2013
1:12 pm

Road Scholar – maybe the problem is the inability of the GADOT to read. I pass through an intersection every day in which the right turn lane has a Yield sign and the left hand turn lane (that puts you going the same direction as a right turn would) also has a Yield on Green sign. Both parties clearly can’t be expected to Yield to each other or nobody would go anywhere.

Some Yield signs are put so far into the turn there is no way to see them in time to stop/yield to left turning traffic. I have been in some states that NEVER appear to use the Yield sign while GA seems to use them to “solve” traffic issues at intersections. Bottom line, how does a car turning left know that the opposing right turn lane even has a Yield sign (especially at night or if the sign is at just the right angle)? The lane Yielding according to the GA traffic codes is supposed to Yield to everyone, even on a green. You should always do the same thing at an intersection, not one thing IF this or another IF that.

I also get off the freeway at LaVista every evening off the 285. There USED to be a Yield sign (the rare properly used Yield signs). Now it is a “Keep Moving” sign. The only problem is that the lane you turn into is also a lane many folks going 45mph on LaVista want to get into to turn into Target or onto Northlake Pkwy. So if you Keep Moving, you ultimately have to stop anyway in order to merge into the next lane over because the lane you are in is forced to turn right in less than 100 yards. All the traffic is smart enough to stop and wait even though the DOT is too stupid to realize their error. I even had a cop honk at me and so I went and then stopped in the lane 25 feet later to change lanes to the left. What an idiot. You might think the cops would notice the stupidity and do something, but instead they just honk as if that will solve the bigger problem.


December 16th, 2013
1:15 pm

Got to love Colorado…Some if not the worst shooting massacres have occurred there and the state is worried about having enough weed…..


December 16th, 2013
1:42 pm

The worst-driving Georgians? Just look for the Cobb County stickers on the plates. Gwinnett is a close-second, followed by Fulton.

motocross survivor

December 16th, 2013
1:45 pm

It is hard to not see the demographic factor in the best vs. worst list. You can figure it out.

motocross survivor

December 16th, 2013
1:46 pm

And I agree that the headline is deceptive, but what’s new..


December 16th, 2013
1:54 pm

The worst drivers are not Georgia natives, but those transplants who have flocked here to Georgia froms all points N, S, E, & W. ESPECIALLY the metro Atlanta area.


December 16th, 2013
2:06 pm

I will say this much: I have driven in MANY different parts of the country, and in no other region have I EVER observed as many people making U-turns on very busy 4 lane roads as I have seen here in Georgia.


December 16th, 2013
2:09 pm

P.S. I call BS on claims that it’s the transplants who are the reason for the poor driving skills here in Metro Atlanta – if that is the case, why aren’t their home states at the top (or bottom, as it were) of this ranking?


December 16th, 2013
2:18 pm

Somebody here is all wrong. Georgia does not have the worst drivers. No indeed. Georgia has the most DARING drivers in the USA.

How many can stay two inches from the next car and still drink coffee without spilling a drop? How many can detect a hidden police car two miles away? How many never pass a tractor-trailer without waving? How many can squeeze into a small space between two speeding cars and not scrape the paint? We are the darling dare devils of autodome filled with Southern hospitality! We share the road if you get out the way.

A pox and pity on those pokey northerners heading for their Florida trailers. Long may those snow-birds linger in slow lanes as they seek sweet orange blossoms. We love ‘em. Then pass ‘em!


December 16th, 2013
2:19 pm

I am the worst driver on the road and I will run over your a$$. Better use your superior skills aquired in living elsewhere to avoid me. I can see your Red Sox decal.


December 16th, 2013
2:28 pm

This is a lie! People in Georgia can’t drive on a dry, warm, sunny day! These people here drive really crazy!

Road Scholar

December 16th, 2013
2:33 pm

Hidden: The left turn “yield on green” sign is for stupid left turners who think they have the right of way. I bet that lane also has a left turn signal followed by a green ball with the yield on green sign. Or maybe not. Once that left turning vehicle turns left (safely , I hope)…begins that movement into the side street… it has the right of way. So, regardless from where the traffic is coming from, the right turn yield is always in effect.

At Lavista it sounds like you have a short “weaving” section for about 300 feet. I bet if cars stop…the traffic backs up onto the Interstate? The design is flawed because someone granted the Target a driveway too close to the ramp. Do away with the driveway and I bet it works ok…or better! What is the speed limit on Lavista here? 35?


December 16th, 2013
10:27 pm

If the right turn must Yield, doesn’t that mean that the left turner has the right of way? I mean they can’t both be valid. And yes, there is the Yield on green sign with the left arrow. Again, how can both be right, and why can’t we just stay with consistency and have the right turn lane always have the right of way as it should always be. Why should he Yield on a green at all?

And yes, the Target driveway is inappropriately too close to the offramp, but so is the Northlake parkway right turn that so many need to get to (thus crossing the “keep moving” traffic from the freeway. Additionally, many folks need to get into the left turn lane to turn left onto Northlake so need to wait for a break in traffic. Of course traffic backs up, even with the Yield because the 45mph (not 35mph) traffic is going way too fast to cross, merge with, or anything else but DIE in. The cars drivers are smarter than the DOT sign locators. There used to be a Yield sign which made sense. Now the Keep Moving sign is just an accident waiting to happen if people actually obey it. Across the freeway, the southbound entrance ramp has a Yield sign and yet there are two lanes entering the ramp and a Keep Moving sign would be way more appropriate. I just don’t think that DOT folks (and I’m betting you might be one of them) really give enough though to how complicated they make intersections (the absolute worst place to make things complicated).


December 16th, 2013
10:50 pm

After having lived in TN, I found the Nashville drivers to be the worst of all the states I have lived in, mainly due to everyday drunk driving. Seriously it’s a “disease” up there. Was glad to get out of there alive. Now in SC, I find that apparently young teenage girls are taught to tailgate as a way of life. Probably related to the “cellphone thang”. Every time I look in my rear view mirror there’s one on my tail. I have noticed that most of the accidents I see are where someone got rear-ended.


December 18th, 2013
11:37 am

Not surprised that Georgia is ranked so low. Drunk driving on 285 is practically a state sport at this point, and the brainless Dunwoody soccer moms in their giant SUVs attempt to kill their fellow commuters daily. Drivers Ed should be mandatory in this state.


December 19th, 2013
12:07 am

I lived in Atlanta for a couple of decades, and have lived in Richmond, VA for the last 8. Yes, Atlanta drivers could be safer and more courteous. Richmond has far worse drivers—they’ll drive on the wrong side of the road and expect you to move for them. They’ll turn around ANYWHERE, even on a busy main street. Red light? No problem, if I feel like going, I’ll go. Need to get into traffic from a merge or side street? Tough luck. Why don’t the police ticket for this more? They do it, too, in non-emergency situations.