Drive In Arizona At Your Own Risk

Arizona drivers are dangerous

Arizona Drivers Are Among The Worst In The United States


There are many statistics proving how bad Arizona drivers really are. As I stated in another post about rude Arizona people, the same can be said for the way they drive. It is difficult to comprehend how bad the drivers are here, until you’re plopped into traffic on a street or highway in Arizona. If you have ever lived in Arizona, this makes complete sense to you. If you haven’t been to Arizona to experience the adventure of driving here, read on.

Phoenix Ranked #8 Most Dangerous For Pedestrians

According to a report by Transportation for America, there were 1,479 pedestrian vs. vehicle deaths in Arizona between 2000-2009. In most Arizona cities, there are plenty of sidewalks and almost every intersection has a walk/no-walk sign. In other words, the streets are designed for pedestrian traffic. Unfortunately, the bad drivers in this state don’t pay attention to pedestrians. Crosswalks here are very dangerous, especially for people in vehicles turning right…they just don’t pay attention.

Phoenix Ranked #10 For The Most Drunk Drivers

I suppose the good news is Phoenix was ranked #4 in 2010, and moved down to #10 in 2011. When most people think DUI, they think alcohol. Although alcohol is a big problem in Arizona, so are drugs. There are just as many drugged drivers as there are drunk drivers. People have enough problems driving here sober, so why risk it when impaired by drugs or alcohol?

Phoenix has the 4th most dangerous intersection in the United StatesPhoenix Has the 4th Most Dangerous Intersection In The United States

A State Farm study revealed a [non] surprise about driving safety in Arizona…the 4th most dangerous intersection in the entire country is right here, in Phoenix. Take a trip to 19th Avenue and Northern Avenue and see if you survive! You can read more about it here.


My Thoughts

You would think driving in Arizona would be easy, and it is. However, for the driver who is distracted, inexperienced or just a bad driver, driving in Arizona can be treacherous.   It is dangers for themselves and those driving around them.

If you don’t live in Arizona, let me paint a picture. Most cities, especially in Phoenix, use the “grid system”. What this means is streets are straight, and have a cross street every 1/2 to 1 mile. The major “cross streets” are every once mile. These streets can be as straight as an arrow for miles and miles. So, with that in your mind imagine driving a straight line and coming to a traffic signal. At the next mile, you may have to stop at the stop light or turn left or right depending on where you want to go.

Looking at the photo of the 4th most dangerous intersection in the United States (above), that is a typical intersection in Arizona. You wouldn’t think navigating these streets would be difficult, especially since you’re just driving straight. For some reason (usually distraction), people often fail miserably at navigating these streets. The “grid system” is designed for simplicity and to give you various ways to get to your destination. Taking a look at the photo again, you can see the crosswalks. These intersections are so busy, drivers often fail to notice pedestrians in the sidewalk. All too often do you hear about another person run over by a car on the news.

Although the grid system is supposed to be simple and efficient, it makes for a VERY BORING drive. In most “normal” places, there are hills and curves. Here, there may be a curve here and there, but mostly it’s straightaways. Here is a brief description of my drive to work: Turn left, go 2 miles at stop at stop sign. Go straight. Take one of the few curves and stop at the next stop light. Drive one mile, stop at the stop light. Drive another mile, stop at the stop light. Drive another mile, stop at the stop light. Drive another mile, stop at the stop light and turn left. Drive another mile, stop at the stop light and turn right. I wish I were exaggerating, but that’s how my drive is: twenty minutes of sheer boredom while watching out for the bad Arizona drivers.

I saw the funniest thing driving yesterday. There is a curve near my house on the main road that curves 90 degrees. Keep in mind, when it turns it’s still the same road…NOT A T-INTERSECTION! As the vehicle in front of me approached the curve, the driver put on its turn signal before it entered the curve! At first, I thought it was turning onto one of the private streets…but, no. He fully intended on communicating to me that he was following the curve to the right! C’mon, people! Just because it’s not straight, it doesn’t mean it’s a hazard…it’s just a curve, deal with it! Ok, got that out of my system!

With the simplest roadway system in the world, Arizona drivers clearly cannot handle normal driving conditions. If it’s curvy, it’s a challenge. If it’s rainy, it’s nearly impossible to drive on (according to Arizona drivers). If it’s curvy AND raining, start saying your prayers.

Do you have a story about your adventure of driving in Arizona? If so, please comment and share your story!

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21 thoughts on “Drive In Arizona At Your Own Risk

  1. Sherrie Miller says:

    Arizona drivers nearly killed my husband. While driving on the 10 to Chandler to work, a 19 year old girl who was using her iPhone while driving pushed his car across all 4 lanes of the 10 and into the divider. Its not against the law to use your phone and drive in AZ, so she didn’t even get a ticket.

  2. No Arizona says:

    I’m glad he’s ok! Do you still live in AZ, or did you escape?

  3. Andy says:

    I travel a lot, so I’ve been everywhere in the USA, and I’m a bus driver for a ski resort in the wintertime. I recently looked after a (West Valley) house for family for about two months.

    Your article makes me laugh (and cringe) because I’ve never been so terrified to drive anywhere (re-read above qualifications) as I was in Phoenix. At least in, say, NYC or SF, aggressive drivers are easy to read. As in “they’re crazy but they probably know what they’re doing.” No such luck in Phoenix. Nobody worries about their license until they’re 65 and it shows. And everyone’s on the phone.

    I’m enjoying reading your blog.. and also pretty glad I didn’t come running when the family said “follow.” I’ll visit them for Christmas like everyone else.

    • No Arizona says:

      Good call, Andy…just visit! A majority of people in Arizona are just plain rude, and it translates into their driving behavior. It’s just amazing with the some of the best roadways in the country, Arizona drivers still find a way to make driving more difficult than it needs to be. Have you noticed how straight the roadways are? How hard is it to drive in a straight line?

      Thanks for visiting, and I applaud you for not giving in to your family’s urging for you to move to AZ.

  4. Noah Tern Signall says:

    this site is hilarious and cathartic and thank you i needed this

    -wofeully displaced Northeasterner

    • No Arizona says:

      Welcome to the site! I hope you get to return to the Northeast soon, it’s a beautiful part of the country. I’m sure you don’t miss the harsh winter, but ANY kind of winter is nice!

      Thanks for reading!

  5. strutamutt says:

    Thank you! I moved to Prescott Valley, AZ 2 years ago to live with my boyfriend who was from California. I moved from FL, where I constantly heard people complain about the drivers and have complained about them myself a few times.

    After being in AZ for a few weeks, I realized that I was seeing more accidents than I ever saw in FL. And I saw more horrible accidents such as rollovers in such a short time. My boyfriend was involved in a rollover when someone clipped his back end, and I was involved in my first accident ever earlier this year when someone ran a red light and took out our car. I have almost been in several accidents here, to the point that driving on the road makes me hyper defensive.

    And dont get me started on the people here. I want nothing more than to return to FL, where our crazy drivers were at least predictable! Unfortunately the boyfriend really likes it here.

  6. LBC says:

    I have lived here for 1year and one month now. About four months into my residence, my wife and I decided that we got to get the heck out of here. I have lived in NYC (raised there); Palm Beach county, Fla.; Honolulu, Hawaii; Las Vegas, Nevada and finally here. These are perhaps the rudest, most cut-throat people we have ever encountered. Especially at work where they treat young locals like family and older 20+ years more experienced and well traveled folks like me are just chopped liver, left to do junk work. But since this thread is about AZ drivers, let me just say this: while everywhere you can find bad drivers and people living there complaining about them, the Arizona bad driver’s “fingerprint” is this: drive like you’re on a race track like there’s no tomorrow, because they have such important lives (not!) except the one time they should speed up—on the freeway on ramps! Honestly, I have never seen so many people go 180 degrees in the other direction with zero sense of urgeny, lolly gaging at 25 mph until they’re just about 5 feet away from merging onto a 65mph road, then having to gun it hard and causing the cars on the freeway’s right lane to brake hard just to avoid the idiots. In a minute the same idiot is now going 80 in the left speeding when he shouldn’t and not having sped up when he should have been.
    By the way, this website is the absolute best catharsis for us. I could go on about all the jerks in jacked up pick ups who don’t need them at all, mainly because they may have come from a “ranchero” culture but now live in an apartment building and don’t know that there are other more practical types of vehicles that they can drive.
    Finally, for those that say that rude Arizonans come from everywhere else let me say this: my experiences have been with AZ natives and those that are not, but come from somewhere else but have been here so long that they love it so much that they can’t conceive of living anywhere else. To me, if you truly can’t stand the people here, then you will draw up plans like I am to get the heck out of here as soon as possible. There may be some that are genuinely stuck in some way, but a really good fellow would be so disgusted that they’d be on the first road out. Hope to God my job transfer goes through!!


  7. John Colt says:

    I travel to Phoenix for business many times a year and usually stay 3-5 days at a time. I noticed the terrible driving immediately I have been almost killed many times. I have to practice extra defensive driving to get around. The lifted 4×4 fox no fear trucks are the most annoying thing ever. I have a good friend dead set on moving to Phoenix I have even thought about it myself… maybe not so much anymore

  8. I srvivdLA93riots says:

    I’m born & raised in Cali East L.A I don’t identify with any political party, & moved from there in ’09 to AZ. First living in the northern part of it for 4 yrs. then moved to PHX in’13. All I can say is this state is filled with so much narrow mindedness it’s really sad. So much alcoholism, drug addiction, domestic violence & a lot of severely unskilled drivers. Yea there’s cool people but 0 culture unless you’re American Indian, barely any culture or sense of pride even from the gente but other than that there’s just more jokers here than decent people. The only way to have any kind of fun is to leave the state because truthfully there’s no nightlife that doesn’t consist of poseur try hards who behave as though they’re in Beverly Hills, people here call Scottsdale Snobsdale, no lie. & the nature here only cranks you up so much before one canyon & cactus looks exactly the same as the next. I’m cool with that after all my home is only 5-6 hrs away where I can have the coastline, mountains, & deserts all rolled into one. not to mention sick crazy nightlife, amusement parks, awesome ethnic diversity so close to each other & my Dodgers. WE WON THE WEST NOW WHERES THE POOL!!!

  9. Grog Che says:

    I haven’t noticed any recent reply’s from the blogger to these posts. Is this blog still being managed or did our anti-Phoenix blogger succumb to all the things he loathes about Phoenix. Anyway, the comments on the driving is dead-on. I have a cop friend who is a native and served on the force for 20 years, and he totally agrees to two things–people in AZ are extremely rude (especially the drivers), and you can never get use to the heat. In the first few weeks I have lived here, I had gang signs flashed at me by some middle-aged gang member on the interstate because he thought I had cut him off. Second, I was almost taken out not once but twice by the same Yukon driven by some middle aged mother who has no concept of how roundabouts work. You would think that since she seems to use it every morning that she would understand the simple concept that you have to yield to cars coming from your left. The scary part is if this woman is a small representation of the drivers in Phoenix that tells me that I am among very ignorant and stupid people.
    I develop phone apps, and I am playing with the idea of using smart phones as a car mount to monitor traffic as you drive–any infraction occurs it is recorded and reported to the authorities–% of ticket fees go to the drive using the system.

  10. Dan says:

    The only way I can describe driving here is driving with stupid around u all day. The carnage here is unreal. The worse thing is it’s every day and they don’t learn. Hence stupid. I will move again I just don’t want to drive here

  11. Richard Carl says:

    I agree. Drivers in Arizona often come from other States like California and the Midwestern States. They too add to dangerous driving conditions for everyone. There needs to be more traffic enforcement and resources dedicated to combat the problem. The number of traffic citations and DUI arrests would pay off for the cities and their presence would serve as a deterrent. It’s a win for

    • Mark says:

      You’re all correct about Arizona. The bad drivers, rude people, and dreadful summers. I currently live in North Scottsdale and it sucks. There is no sense of community in my neighborhood. Neighbors are unfriendly and self centered, except for a few. My home is for sale and hopefully I can move before summer.

      • No Arizona says:

        Where will you move to? It’s a shame…people pull into their garages, close the doors and don’t talk to neighbors. Now that it’s about to heat up, people will start going inside while the rest of the country is going outside and enjoying summer. It’s much more fun looking forward to summer than dreading it. My advice, live near water!

  12. Mitch Mclean says:, don’t be scared. We might be aggressive, but I wouldn’t say we can’t drive.. I’ve been driving these streets for 2 decades, never even had a fender bender. Quit acting like it’s impossible to drive here. Not true at all

  13. Elana says: and being a pedestrian is terrifying in all states. Here in flagstaff im the only driver who honors the speed limit and watches with a hawk eye for pedestrians. Everyone is furious with me for honoring speed limit. Tailgating, angry deadly passing. I regularly have people cross the solid line driving wrong way on soliere to pass me.
    Most folks are driving more then double the speed limit. Potholes sooo bad, generally roads ripped to shreds (drive the length of Beaver going south, note left side of road) paint worn away, ambiguous painted warnins; note soliere traveling east approaching country club)

  14. 4 accidents in 3 years none my fault that should prove something I watch the news and see major accidents at 4 am !!!! Not even in NYC the city that never sleeps gets that these Nascar Hicks drive too fast…

  15. Dylan Milford says: completely agree. It’s almost as if something in the water affects people’s ability for decision making. I’ve noticed this driving behavior in two other places. One is Ft. Meyers Florida where even the city police often crash and around Ft. Hood Texas. Both places are full of people from all over the world. Ft Hood being an army base and Florida being New York retirement local. While outside of Austin is a great place to drive, even in the big city of Houston, drivers are considerate and don’t have the traffic Florida or Phoenix has even though they do have traffic issues with road construction as the city works to keep up with the growing population.
    I am surprised you found someone in AZ that used their blinker at even to follow the road 😃.
    Also, while I agree too many people in AZ are looking down at their phone I don’t believe phone laws are necessary. There is already a law that covers this. Distracted driving should be a ticket able driving offense by the local police departments. Keep the phone “up” in your peripheral and keep in mind your view of the road takes priority over a text or Facebook. You can use your phone while driving if done responsibly. Especially on these flat and boring valley roads.

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