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By Bob Greiner  |  September 12, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
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Next: Readers: Area's Worst Drivers from Maryland


Whether I am on 495 or I-270, whenever I encounter a speeding, wreckless driver weaving in and out of lanes, it is invariably someone with VA plates.

Posted by: Kid Charlemagne | September 12, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I find the worst drivers have MD tags

Posted by: dmk | September 12, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

The reckless weaving and speeding is universal. What is more annoying is the cars with MD plates driving in Virginia roads on the left lanes at 10mph or more below the speed limit blocking traffic. That and I have been almost clipped more than a few times by MD drivers not looking at anything but their rear view mirror trying to merge into my lane and acting like I was the one at fault for them almost hitting me.

Posted by: DND | September 12, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

A better poll would be which region's drivers are most likely to honk at you or flick you off. Maryland would win hands down.

Posted by: Richard | September 12, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

The worst drivers are in Maryland. And, you kids get off my lawn, dagnabbit!

Posted by: Colonel Mustard | September 12, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Maryland drivers are genberally oblivious to everything outside of their cars. But when dirving in the District, Virginia drivers drive like they own the streets. Red lights? Ha! Not for Virginians. Speed limits? They don't have time for that nonsense.

Posted by: Watch Out! | September 12, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Whether I am on 495 or I-270, whenever I encounter a speeding, wreckless driver weaving in and out of lanes, it is invariably someone with MD plates that is causing the drivers from VA to take extreme measures to get around them.

MD Drivers = 15mph under the speed limit in the left lane.

Posted by: MDDriversSuck | September 12, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The MD left-hand lane thing is amazing, if they're driving below the flow in the left lane - they've got MD tags.

On the other hand, there appears to be a 35 miles/hour speed limit on 66 for VA tags if there's even a forecast of rain. Clouds bring the speed down 20 miles an hour.

Generally, I find the worst drivers are the ones driving.

Posted by: Tim from Silver Spring | September 12, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Whenever I see a vehicle weaving in and out, using traffic for slalom cones, the tag nearly always reads Maryland.

When a driver crams into the one-vehicle space between your vehicle and the one in front, the license plate on the offender almost always reads Maryland.

Whenever we travel out of state and see another vehicle driving stupidly and aggressively, we say that the person behind the wheel is "Driving like a Marylander." About 33% of the time, the license plate of the offender does read Maryland.

Posted by: Maryland Drivers Suck Donkeys | September 12, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Everbody inside the beltway drives terrible. VA drivers are too scared to speed since the laws in VA are ridiculous. So they drive with no care in any lane on the interstate. DC drivers have no concept of how to drive on the interstate and MD drivers inside the beltway drive like total idiots. I dont see it being that hard to stay to the right and keep with the flow of traffic. Also people here DO NOT KNOW HOW TO MERGE!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: TM from TN | September 12, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I voted for Maryland largely on the strength (weakness?) of the PG County drivers, who are by far the worst around here in terms of their utter disregard for traffic laws and their general contempt for other drivers. Many of them speed down the shoulders, go straight out of turn lanes, tailgate, slalom in and out of traffic, and generally display no common sense. I was quite gleeful on Wednesday morning to see the Alexandria cops out on US-1 in Old Town pulling over dozens of Maryland drivers who were violating the HOV-2 restriction in the right lane.

I think Virginia drivers are the worst about hogging the left lane, though. Wherever I am, be it Virginia, Maryland, New York, Quebec, Maine, etc., it seems like the person hogging the left lane has a Virginia plate. But in the scheme of things, I'd rather deal with a left-lane hog than with the sort of behavior I encounter when I drive on the PG County Beltway or I-295 in DC. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the guy I saw last year in England cruising in the right lane on the M4 (the right lane is the passing lane when you drive on the left) was from Virginia since he was the ONLY person cruising in the passing lane.

I live in Virginia, BTW.

Posted by: Rich | September 12, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

If they are going faster than me they are a Jackazz and if they are going slower than me they are idiots. Apparently the only person who knows how to drive in the DC metro area is me. C'mon now .Isnt that what you all think?(:>)

Posted by: 1234563 | September 12, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

PG drivers suck because PG County sucks. PG drivers are simply responding to their environment. If any of you have suffered the misfortune of dealing with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration by visiting the Beltsville "Service" Center, it will be no secret to you why there are so many dangerously under qualified drivers out there. The only reason the drivers across the river in the Commonwealth might behave better is that someone is watching. Arlington County and the City of Alexandria do traffic enforcement and it makes a difference in how people act. But on 95/495/395/66/270--everyone sucks.

Posted by: I like donkeys and MD drivers suck | September 12, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Going by plates: MD. There's a difference between steering a car and driving. MD drivers apparently will never figure this out.

Going by location - the geographic center of bad driving: DC. No rules, just wrong.

Posted by: They all pretty much suck | September 12, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I like how everybody posts like they never ever drove carelessly and act like they are not guilty of reckless driving. Maybe all the recklessness will slow down once everybody gets off their high horse and smell what they're shoveling. I know I'm not innocent. Anybody else want to confess?

Posted by: YeahRight! | September 12, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Drive Fast, take chances, that's my credo!

Get out of the left lane, "Keeper of the Speed"! If you want to lead a parade, run for mayor. I have places to go and don't care about your honor roll kid or how you are just so proud that you voted for Bush in 2000 that you won't remove your idiotic bumper sticker (which just makes you look like an even bigger idiot).

Left lane = passing. Right lane = cruising. Learn it, live it.

Posted by: gofaster! | September 12, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Native Washingtonian here and VA drivers are the worst and have been for the longest time. that comes from noting how VA drivers are in the city and how they are throughout the region. They are either BMW arrogant or Camaro/Trans Am stupid. not to be racist, a number of them are also foreign and drive like they are still in 2nd and 3rd world countries.

Posted by: RobGreg | September 12, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

without a doubt Maryland is the worst! Not saying VA or DC is much better, but it's almost inevitable any accident at rush hour involves or has been caused by the dreaded MD plate.

Posted by: DudeAbides | September 12, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

ALL drivers in the Washington area stink. Between the tailgating, left lane cruising, nonexistent use of turn signals, aggressiveness, discourteousness, ignoring yield signs, not knowing how circles work, and texting, it's a wonder we aren't all dead. I travel to NJ frequently and it's a breath of fresh air if only because people stay out of the left lane.

But yeah, PG is the worst.

Posted by: Jim | September 12, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

MD drivers are the worst by far (especially the left lane thing). Someone once told me that if you see an accident here, the MD driver caused it, the VA driver has stopped to stare at it and the DC driver is up on the curb trying to get around it. I guess we're all pretty bad.

Posted by: Pierce | September 12, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Clearly the worst drivers are the one's in Maryland but they all have Virginia plates. I think the new arrivals (others call them immigrants) are being pushed out of Virginia due to the aggresive alien laws and find Maryland with all the freebies they dole out the place to stake a grub. Hail Julio!

Posted by: Jimmy | September 12, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I live in Va, so I answered with that state, but it's actually this entire region. This is the 3rd region of the country that I've lived and by far it is the worse. I have never lived where drivers stop to look at even minor freeway accidents that are on the opposite direction and it's divided by express lanes (who have also stopped to watch).

In Va, they make left turns like they are riding a cart pulled by mules, but they will cut you off to get ahead of you in that same turn lane.

The greatest region problem, though, is the lack of regulation of trucks. In Ca & Michigan, trucks must drive slower on the interstates than cars and this actually leads to much safer driving. Here, the legislatures refuse to even speak of regulating truck speed.

Posted by: Tony S. | September 12, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I drive into VA everyday and they are the WORST drivers. They don't care about anyone but themselves. I've seen them read, drink, eat, and smoke drugs while driving. They are so bad that no matter what state I'm driving in if a driver does something stupid I'll think or say outloud they MUST be from VA; and SURE ENOUGH they are!

Posted by: BullyLover | September 12, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I find that the worst drivers are Virginians in Maryland or Marylanders in Virginia (of which I am occasionally one). There seems to be something different in the road design or the driving style or something that is very difficult to adapt to. Perhaps its just being relatively unfamiliar with the area causing hesitancy, which to me is the most dangerous offense.I joke that every time I see a bad driver, it's either a senior or a Virginian, and I only have to honk when it's both.

I apologize to all Virginians whenever I've had to go through the Springfield intercnahge, that might've been me cruising through at 30 mph trying to figure out where the #%*! I'm going.

Posted by: stinker | September 12, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Man, how is this even a question?? Maryland drivers, with their uninspected cars and me-first lead feet attitudes are easily the worst in the area, if not the nation. DC has a lot of foreign diplomat drivers, which doesn't help its cause, but they are still driver's ed instructors compared to Marylanders. Stay off the road MD!!

Posted by: Adam | September 12, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those that singled out PG county over any particular state. I see the worst of the worst while there or on the routes in or out of PG. You know who you are.

Posted by: DC Guy | September 12, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I think the general consensus among people I know is that wherever maryland drivers are, whether it's maryland, dc, or virginia, they're the worst.

Posted by: VAmetro | September 12, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

You remember in the Matrix, how when the bad-guy agents or Neo really exerted themselves, they'd get all blurry because their arms and legs were moving faster than the eye could follow them?

That must be what it looks like to Maryland drivers when they come to Virginia. Driving in Maryland is like wandering into a Remedial Driving 101 class full of blind centenarians. Do Virginia drivers strike you Marylanders as brutally, unintelligibly, mercilessly efficient and skillful? Does your brain short out at the sheer terrifying realization that we've actually unlocked the secret to controlling these fantastical horse-less carriages?

Hi: those white dotted lines, all over the road? Those are lane markers, Marylanders. And really, really, truly, I promise: it's perfectly OK to go the same speed as the rest of traffic. Sometimes, you can even go faster! And some of the bravest and most forward-thinking of Virginians have discovered that, with excruciating effort and post-graduate-level expertise, it is even possible to switch from one lane to another in under ten minutes! While continuing to move the "motor-carriage" forward at a consistent rate of speed!

Look, I know driving is awfully scary: you're sitting in a one-ton steel fire-bomb capable of moving fast enough to liquefy a person upon contact. Be brave, Marylanders: you can do it!

Alternatively, get the &*#$ out of the left lane.

Posted by: Albert | September 12, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

PG county? No, the worst drivers are wherever there is the greatest density of people: Virginia. Plus, VA is a bunch of Republicans who, as we've learned from the Bush administration, are incompetent at anything they do.

Posted by: Ryan | September 12, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I've lived in DC my whole life and have always said that MD drivers are more aggressive, but VA drivers a far worse.

No one in VA knows how to merge, or change lanes. They'll drop down to 30 miles below the speed limit just to change lanes because they aren't capable of changing while maintaining speeds. MD will cut you off on purpose, VA will mess EVERYONE up without even meaning to.

Posted by: Washington DC | September 12, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I live in the Richmond, VA, area for the past six years and have never seen so many red light runners as I have here. You always do a five-count before going through on green to account for the idiots running red.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I have to say I've never really seen the "driving 10 mph" in the left lane thing (i'm thinking a lot of you have must be maryland drivers with no idea what the speed limit is), but MD driver seem to pay no attention at all to the law. Speed limit's 40 on the parkway? We'll tailgate you going 75 and then weave in and out of traffic. It's a turn lane? We're going straight. HOV lane? We're ghost-riding the whip.

Posted by: MDdriverssuck | September 12, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

The worst drivers are the ones from outside whatever area you live in. That's because they don't know the traffic patterns and are usually trying to figure out where the heck they are.

The *second* worst drivers are the ones who are always B&M-ing about what other drivers are doing rather than minding THEIR OWN driving!

Posted by: Honk If You Love Noise | September 12, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm not voting because there's no "all of the above" option. The worst traffic offenders I've seen, however, are BUS DRIVERS. I lost count of how many times I've either almost been hit by a bus and how many times I've witnessed one (or more) block an intersection. If government-owned vehicles provided a good example, maybe everyone would show some more respect on the road.

Posted by: VAAnonymous | September 12, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I think Maryland generally has more bad drivers. However for bad road signs and design, I think Virginia has that "honor".

Posted by: anon | September 12, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Marylanders are the worst. They are incapable of merging correctly onto interstates, drive 10 under in the left lane, and slam on breaks to change lanes.

I will agree that Virginia drivers are maniacs in the District. But I prefer that anyday over an idiot Maryland driver failing to keep up with traffic flow.

Posted by: KevinArlington | September 12, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

If a drive is doing something dangerous and/ or stupid you can bet they have MD plates.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

+1 to bus drivers being awful. +1000 to MD being complete idiots with no regard for where they hurling their 4,000lb piece of crap cars built over two decades ago. driving 90 mph and weaving in an overloaded cadillac on 495 can never be safe

Posted by: mdsucks | September 12, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Out of the three states you mentioned, I'd have to put in my vote for Virginia drivers being the worst, especially in terms of left-lane hogging. But the story wouldn't be complete without mentioning Pennsylvania and West Virginia drivers. We see 'em all here on the MD eastern shore, and during the beach traffic frenzy, more consternation is caused by PA and WV drivers than any others. These two states have made left-lane hogging into state pasttimes, apparently.

Posted by: Eastern Shore Girl | September 12, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

This whole area has terrible drivers for two reasons: 1. no one knows where they are going because the the road and highway systems are ridiculously confusing (I think Boston is the only city worse in this department) and 2. everyone is too nice, STOP LETTING PEOPLE CUT IN YOUR LANE, AND GO AT STOP SIGNS WHEN IT'S YOUR TURN!

Posted by: better driver than you | September 12, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Oh, one more thing. Fie on you Blackberry-obsessed drivers, no matter what state you're from. I can't tell you the number of people I've seen texting and driving at the same time. Scary stuff.

Posted by: Eastern Shore Girl | September 12, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The worse drivers in the metro area are Virginians. It would seem like they just got roads and learned of cars. They either are driving too fast or too slow. The concept of proper lane change, merge and yield are foreign to these folks. They will kill you or cause you to get killed if you aren't careful

Posted by: Bob Saget | September 12, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Since most people in the region live in Northern Virginia, the poll results will be skewed. As someone who grew up in Virginia and has lived in all three for significant parts of my life, I would have to say Virginia has the worst drivers - more accidents, more aggressive drivers, way more traffic. Some of it maybe because of the development philosophy though. Virginia tends to favor business over residents. I've lived in Maryland for the last several years and I noticed that they actually build roads before they develop. With Virginia, they do the opposite.

Posted by: Objective Opinion | September 12, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

VA drivers, no question. They drive like scared little bunny rabbits.

Posted by: Karen | September 12, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

It would be one thing if they stayed in VA, but when they're driving in the District it seems Virginians are disporportionately straddling lanes, running lights, speeding, parking illegally, and generally doing whatever suits them.

Posted by: Peter | September 12, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Ahh, you're ALL great drivers. None of you give me any problems.

Posted by: Josey23 | September 12, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Virginians are the worst drivers because they only know one way to drive and that's their way. They don't pay attention and drive like they are the only ones on the road. Unfortunately, many Virginians and Marylanders for that matter have moved into the city and brought they lack of driving skills with them. This phenomenon has skewed the results as many people with DC plates are actuallu undercover VA.

Posted by: Matt | September 12, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Virginia drivers are the worst. I tip the scales in their favor. :-)

Posted by: KBurchfiel | September 12, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what Maryland drivers' problem is. Rain - we're talking drizzle here, people - is not a hazardous weather condition, yet you slow down to a crawl and frequently drive off the road or rear end each other. And don't even get me started on snow; flurries that don't stick to the ground and don't make the road slippery still, for some reason, make you skid off into oblivion. Also, turn signals are fun, I promise.

I'm not sorry to have moved to Virginia, where people seem to have a better grasp on sanity.

Posted by: Kate Elizabeth | September 12, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

It hase to be Virginia. Hands down. Come on Virginians be proud.

Posted by: Native6 | September 12, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

DC drivers are the worst.

Anytime I see a DC driver in the Maryland suburbs, they are just one royal pita.

Slow drivers with piece of crap cars.

DC doesn't want commuters coming to jobs in DC?

Then stay the helll out of Maryland and Virginia.

Posted by: DCSUCKS | September 12, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I live in the District, and echo a remark of an earlier post: That in the District itself, in my 19-year-experience, Virginia drives are the worst. In an apparent rush to "get home and vote Republican," as I often quip, Vuh-ginny drivers often manage to hit pedestrians (often while mid cellphone chat), run lights, speed, dash across lanes ("Honey,I can almost see Virginia! We're almost there!") and generally drive poorly. This is not theory. This is lived experience.

Posted by: Bruno | September 12, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Everybody is lost (and drives accordingly) once they leave their comfort zone. In this area this always seems to involve crossing a river. Drivers with diplomatic plates are the absolute worst, they're lost everywhere.

The best drivers I have ever encountered are in Pittsburgh. Those folks really do know how to merge!

Posted by: kguy1 | September 12, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

NoVa and PG have psychotic speeders (that's me, I won't lie). DC, Arlington, and Montgomery county have the people who don't understand how to comport oneself in the left lane or in multi-lane traffic and don't understand that public streets are not for parking and waiting for your friend to come out (add PG to that list, too). The Eastern Shore and northern Maryland have the people who just drive too dang slow. Maybe people in Charlottesville know how to drive. Somebody somewhere must!

Posted by: John K. | September 12, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, are some of you people as stupid as you sound? How does this have anything to do with Republicans or Democrats, or Bush or Kerry or whomever? People who try to inject politics into everything must lead sad lives.

"Maybe people in Charlottesville know how to drive."

Unfortunately, they don't. They're the opposite of PG County--in Charlottesville people drive glacially slowly, never seem to know where to turn even if they've lived there for years, the traffic lights are all strangely timed.....

Posted by: Rich | September 12, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

It's funny this poll came out today. I had the joy of driving from Reston, VA to Towson, MD today. Everyone was civilized on the toll road, from 495 -> 95, it was a madhouse of MD drivers cutting in front of me with less than 1 car length. Or that one driver going 40.

I can't tell you how many times MD drivers were hugging the edge of their lane, forcing me to hug the edge of my lane. Once I got past the Beltway, everyone was driving fine, and then the Baltimore drivers were fine.

My vote is definiately the Maryland drivers living near DC.

My general experience is just driving the toll road and it's a pleasant experience and my opinion is that is due to the constant fear of cops pulling people over. Doesn't matter to me. I'd prefer driving here than on 495 ANY day. I don't care if I have to pay.

Posted by: been there, done that | September 12, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

VA has the worst drivers by far. You have drivers who drive slowly during rush hour and leave two car lengths in front of them. They try to control the flow of traffic. Yeah I weave in and out to get to where I'm going. If you want to drive like its Sunday drive after rush hour is over.

Posted by: Kris | September 12, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Virginia drivers are by far the worst. I've been cutoff countless times by folks with VA tags on the Toll Road in VA. I know everytime I cross the Potomac I need to be ultra alert, you never know what they are going to do!

Posted by: Mike | September 12, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I thought I'd add my perspective as a non-driver in DC. I gave up on driving when I moved here a little over a year ago. I came from Minneapolis, where the only viable transportation option is a personal automobile. It seems to me that the DC area (with the exception of the sprawled out suburbs) has an embarassment of riches in terms of public transit. Hence, my relinquishment of driving. I must say that I've loved every day that I haven't had to slide in behind the wheel of a car!

Now, here are my observations of DC-area drivers:

1) Driving seems to be a rather cut-throat endeavor around here. Even during rush-hour gridlock in Minneapolis, people were not as mean-spirited while driving.

2) Once one gets behind the wheel of a car, it seems that one becomes oblivious to that which is around him. For instance, 16th St. NW is not, in fact, a freeway, but rather a street lined with residences, churches and schools. The ignorance of drivers in regards to pedestrians in crosswalks and even on sidewalks is astonishing to me.

3) If you work in the District and you live in Herndon or Germantown, you've made a lifestyle choice. Part of that choice was to trade a good portion of your time and money (commuting by car) for a larger (and perhaps less-expensive) house and yard. It surprises me that people who have made this choice are appalled by a 90 minute commute and seemingly have great contempt for their fellow commuters and for those of us who have chosen an alternative to driving.

I would hope that, wherever the driver hails from, he or she would take a minute (or perhaps 90?) to consider those outside of the confines of their car.

Posted by: NWDC Walker | September 12, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

oh please!!! everyone knows that VIRGINIA has the worst drivers. it's as though they lose their heads once they cross Key Bridge. maybe they drive well in their own state, but when they migrate over the waters into DC, it's over.

Posted by: Miss Penny Lane | September 12, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I hate to admit it but it has to be Maryland. I have been away from the state for 12 years and returned recently; what is the deal with Emergency Flashers and decreasing your speed to a crawl during a rain storm Marylanders? Is it not against the law to cross a solid line when merging? Rubbernecking backups that rival the actual accident backups, come on. Maryland by far.

Posted by: Frank from B-more | September 12, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

OMG!!! I have been waiting for this topic. I have been in DC since 1994. I grew up and learned to drive in NC in 1990 so I am an impartial observer and experienced driver. I've lived in MD, DC, and VA. HANDS DOWN, MARYLAND DRIVERS ARE not only THE WORST in the Metro area, in my opinion they are the worst on the entire east coast!!! A distant second is New Jersey followed by Florida.

I live in the district and work in Commonwealth. I rarely have to drive in "the State" and I'm glad. The worst part is that MD drivers are always in everyone elses state messing up their traffic, doing the stupidest, most dangerous maneuvers they can think of.

My wife and I, whenever we see a driver displaying that they haven't the slightest grasp or understanding of customary driving rules and courtesies, we just look at each other and say "Maryland driver..." And 9 out of 10 times when we get a glimpse of the license plate, we are correct.

Posted by: gary in dc | September 12, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

As George Carlin used to say, anyone who drives slower than you is an idiot and anyone driving faster than you is a maniac. Human nature to perceive it that way. But being from across the river, VA drivers are the former.

Posted by: Steve P | September 12, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Neither Maryland nor Virginia drivers can handle the city. They should all just leaves their cars in the countryside and take the tube.

Posted by: Brian | September 12, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Despite their own prominent state law, MD drivers seem to dislike stopping for pedestrians and often engage in a pre-emptive strike by idling over the entirety of a marked crosswalk.

Posted by: Tim | September 12, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Scariest thing on the road is a mini-van or SUV with VA plates, RUN FOR THE HILLS. They'll cut you off inches away from side swiping you or T-boning you. I saw a guy this morning from the far right lane make a left turn to strong arm his way onto the 3rd street tunnel.

VA people cannot drive in DC or MD. I think they're not used to streets being called one thing from its beginning to its end. Or they're constantly looking for toll booths.

Posted by: DC | September 12, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I live in Alexandria and drive exclusively in Virginia. Ninety-nine percent of the time the p-poor driver in the fast lane going slow, non-turn signal using, non-stopper at a stop sign, driving on the shoulder, pulling out in front of me when I have the right of way is a fellow Virginian. I think my fellow Virginians are too full of themselves.

Posted by: GHS | September 12, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Road rage---or at least irritation---is what drives most aggressive driving; and mostly it s a game of expectations.

Given its density (and sad government), people expect congestion in the District. Given their larger roadways, longer distances and normally faster travel speeds, the *suburbs* fail most miserably at meeting motorist expectations. There are more drivers, more delays, more bottlenecks, and more ire on the critical suburban arterials during the rush hours.

And at least Virginia builds roads to match needs. Maryland wins the worst driver category, because insufficient infrastructure exacerbates already short tempers among commuters in their wheeled cocoons.

Posted by: RoadDove | September 12, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

MD bad all the way. I've said it for years. But I agree with an earlier post that the worst offenders live near the beltway. My least favorite piece of road in the country is the MD section of 495, both Montgomery and PG. I have driven on many highways in many cities in this country.

Don't slam on your breaks at the bottom of the on ramp to merge. Don't cross the solid white line to cut me off. I'm willing to let you in at the dotted line if you are up to speed. Don't pull into the right shoulder to beat me to the right turn lane - I don't look in my right mirror to see you barrelling down the shoulder before I correctly wait until the lane exists.

Also, I've found more MD drivers stick with a single speed no matter the limit. 50 mph in the 35 and when it increases on the same road to 55, I pass you because you haven't sped up. Get a clue. 10 mph under the limit is just as dangerous as 20 over the limit.

Posted by: Steering Clear | September 12, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Basically all three suck. VA and MD you suck more. Why is it that if the sky turns grey traffic slows...if it drizzles it stalls...and when it rains...accidents stall 395/495/95/270/370/RT 1 & 29 IN DC-MD-VA

Just use more cautious...and pay attention...but most of all enjoy!

Posted by: DC's Next Great Thing | September 12, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Who are the worst drivers...MD...DC...or VA?

To me it doesn't matter what the plate reads it depends on how much driving experience you had prior to getting behind the wheel of any vehicle. Years ago...when the permit age in DC was 15 and 1/2 years of age; my mother and uncle’s made me practice, practice and practice more. My practice was rarely on the streets with real live action. Nooo! It was usually in some vast, primarily empty, parking lot or field. Until they saw that I had the confidence to handle the machine I wasn’t allowed near a vehicle without adult supervision. Confidence goes a long way when driving as is the case for anything else in life.

The problem with the DC Metro area is we have so many people who that are from every corner of the country and the world for that matter and somewhere along the line they learned to drive with very little practice and POOF they’re on the roads in no time. If you lack the necessary confidence in your abilities to be able to handle thousands of pounds of machinery the problem starts there.

Why else would drivers get behind the wheel and freak out because there's a car, truck, bus or bicycle next to them!

Why else would drivers get behind the wheel and freak out because the sun is too bright!

Why else would drivers get behind the wheel and freak out because there's rain falling (a drop, mist, drizzle, torrential downpour....)!

Why else would drivers get behind the wheel and lose their freakin' minds when they see a fender bender or accident and virtually stop to look! It's a highway people...keep it moving...that's why God created peripheral vision!

I once worked with a woman who was afraid to drive in the rain, she would have someone take her home or pick her up when it rained. Good for her! Maybe more less confident drivers should do the same even when it's bone dry outside!

In closing, I don't believe the problem is restricted to a particular area or state. I believe that at some point people are told that they're a good driver or believe it themselves and run with it without the PRACTICE and CONFIDENCE needed to deal with all aspects of driving.

Let's call it the "American Idol" syndrome!

Posted by: 'SkinsforLife | September 12, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

This seems to be a classic case of the "Downing Effect" in action.

If you have to look up downing effect, then you are probably in the lower end of the spectrum. A person's ability to judge their own intelligence decreases with intelligence. Conversely, the lower your intelligence the worse you

Basically, the dumber you are, the smarter you think you are. And possibly the dumber you are the better driver you think you are.

With that said, I have had extensive time driving in all 3 locations... When my GF sent me this link I was laughing and I said BEFORE I read it, that I wondered if they will key on the MD left lane thing (which my GF and I have discussed on more than one occasion. Imagine my delight to see that it is one of the first topics regarding drivers and it is commonly known.

PLEASE! Could a left lane sulking Maryland Driver tell me what the fascination is in MD with slow drivers in the passing lane? I'm not talking about not speeding in the fast lane, I mean slow driving in the passing lane.

I have been living in MD that last 2 years and I still can't believe how amazingly freaking common it is. Before I moved here I was commuting around the Beltway in the morning and without fail, I would cross the bridge and start running into a bunch of slow cars in the left lanes drifting around lazily.

Is nothing going on? Some form of long-form protest? Something to do with eating Crabs? Best radio reception? Superstition? I must know!

Whatever it is... This topic has been hilarious. For all you haters just keep thinking you are an undiscovered genius.

G.E. Nius

Posted by: G.E.Nius | September 12, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

The polling appears to be a pretty large sample.

We can say without hesitation that Maryland drivers are regarded as worse.



Posted by: G.E.Nius | September 12, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Va. drivers are the worse for causing frustration and reckless driving in others. Va. drivers think they have a God-given right to go 5-10 miles below the speed limit in the left-hand lane. It's murder trying to get around them because they are such selfish road hogs---is that why Va. is a "red state."

Posted by: mikey | September 12, 2008 3:45 PM


Mikey, its our crazy Virginia state highway planners who are at fault because they create so many interstate exits that use the left lane! So you get these slow drivers in the left lane because thjey know their exit is coming up and don't want to miss it. Lame, I know, but the drivers didn't build it that way.

Drivers from all 3 jurisdictions are bad, but the Virginia drivers (for the most part, since we are all generalizing here) have 1 endearing quality that makes them better: They are nice enough to let you in when the lane you are in runs out and you're stuck. MD and DC drivers will kill you before letting you change lanes.

MD and DC drivers won't let you change lanes and, when they want to do it, they won't use a turn signal because they want to cut in front of you and don't want to tip off their intentions.

Its so funny -- when I am driving, I let the DC and MD drivers cut in when they use their turn signals but the evil ones who won't use a turn signal (and try to steal it) -- I refuse to let them cut in (except to save their life!). They get so steamed because their evil scheme to cut in front of me when I have the right of way didn't work! If they had only signaled, I would have given them the lane. They don't get it!

And if you're a poor rube from Virginia driving in DC or MD, and you put your turn signal on to change lanes, forget it because no one will let you in. In DC and MD you have to be ruthless and not use turn signals, just cut in like they do before they divine your real intentions!

Posted by: rb | September 12, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

The problem with drivers in this area is the fact that no one who learned how to drive south of the mason-dixon line can drive worth a damn. There are a select few of us (myself being one of them) that live in this area that know how to drive in bad weather because we learned how to drive in areas that are prone to snow, ice storms, and the occasional tornado. It's a wonder kids in DC/MD/VA area schools have a summer break at all because schools cancel classes at the mere chance of ice or a few snowflakes. I swear to god that DC area drivers (the worst of them being from VA) treat a few drops of rain like the coming of the four horsemen of the apocalypse....

Sorry for the rant, I will now get of my high horse....

Posted by: Thinksdifferent | September 12, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I altered my own aggressive driving tendencies (blame it on learning to drive in Boston and 20+ years as a DC resident) when I moved to Michigan Park in NE DC (South Dakota/Taylor/Michigan) five years ago. An absolutely lovely neighborhood that has to endure IDIOT drivers--mostly angry MD residents--routinely doing 50 to 70 mph on these residential corridors. In response, my 12-minute morning commute to downtown now includes driving at the speed limit, coasting to red lights (and saving gas!), and slowing down if one of these a-holes is tailgating--all without any rage-induced blood pressure!

For the past 2.5 years, we applied constant community pressure on DDOT and MPD to do something. DDOT is installing speed control measures in Michigan Park that will be fully operational within the next 2 weeks, including: changing synchronization on traffic signals; and installing video detection cameras that "trip" the downstream traffic lights red when vehicles exceed the speed limit, speed message signs, and red light cameras. Speed radar cameras are next.

Kudos to DDOT and to Councilmember Thomas for pushing these critical public safety measures! And to the aggressive, rude MD a-holes who obviously don't give a rat's ass about public safety, get used to it: SLOW DOWN!

Posted by: Tom from Michigan Park, DC | September 12, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

To All You MD Drivers-
If someone is passing you on the right -- get over, please!! You can go 50 in a 55, just do it in the right lane.

Posted by: Karen | September 12, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

How come there's no "diplomats" or "cabbies" button?

Posted by: Laura in NWDC | September 12, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

A few questions:
1. When did drivers education no longer become mandatory in the schools?
2. Are turn signals decorative?
3. What happened to slower moving traffic staying to the right?
4. When did it become mandatory to exit from the far left lane?
5. Why must people drive in the far left lane, with the seat all the way back, going slow, with a cell phone to your ear?

Posted by: pgcountydriver | September 15, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Marylanders don't have time to screw around like the rednecks down South in VA do. And if you think MD driving is bad, just visit other states in the NE, particularly New York and definitely New Jersey. Ever heard of the Jersey salute?

Posted by: blueforlife | September 15, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I moved to this area two years ago, and it seems the bad driving is universal in the DC/MD/VA Metro area. The scariest part is that I find myself having to be constantly on guard mostly for people who can't stay in their lanes. It seems worse here than anywhere else I've ever lived, but maybe that's just because the population is so condensed and so internationally diverse.

Posted by: Jen | September 19, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

What's worse is that I try to drive safely. But I have to go 10-mph over the speed limit, in order to avoid being rear-ended. I do have the sense to stay in the right lane, or at least the middle. I never take up space in the left lane if I'm going to do that. I agree that people are unconscionably rude for doing this. But I refuse to get a ticket and thereby raise my insurance costs for these morons who think they can bully me into going faster. Hello, that's what the left lane is for. Go around me.

Posted by: Jen | September 19, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I actually almost got killed less than a month ago (seriously, not kidding). I was driving like 65 in the 55 mph lane on 295 going toward Arundel Mills Mall. I was in the right lane, giving a wide berth to drivers on my left.

A car that had to be going 100 mph or very near that came racing up out of nowhere in my lane. The driver barely moved in time. A split second more time in my lane, and he would have surely sent me slamming off the side rail. I have no doubt. I was shaking when I finally pulled off of the highway. It looked like he was drag racing.

On that day, I definitely would have voted for Maryland. But the truth is that it's a crisis in our big cities. Life is out of balance. In order to keep things afloat, people are held to tight schedules, suffering from lack of sleep, etc. Still, that's no excuse for us to drive like that jerk that day. He should have been locked up for that.

A couple of days later, my cousin, a young 22-year-old Marine, was killed instantly by a truck that ran off the side of the road in Ventura, California. Our highways are more dangerous than the battlefield in Iraq these days.

Posted by: Jen | September 19, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

What I noticed everywhere I go: People take turns, left and right, as tight as they can, as fast as they can, coming inches close to my car at the stoplight. Sometimes so close to my face I can see the pores on their nose. Driving is a lost art for everyone, everywhere I go and I'm so tired of this "people from so and so are horrible drivers". We are all horrible drivers because we don't have any common courtesy anymore. When I drove to Alaska in 2005, when I crossed into Canada from ND on I-29 they had a huge billboard ad the welcome center: "Be Nice". Two words Americans have long forgotten.

Posted by: BiffGriff | September 19, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Plus, it's all an ongoing Catch-22. You have people who are generally good drivers who, because of the way they are used to being treated by other drivers, are forced to use some of the same tactics just to survive in traffic.

For example, I'd rather let someone calmly let me in, when I'm in that construction on DC 295-N and my lane merges into another. But, from previous experience, I know better. I could sit there waiting for courtesy, and no one would ever slow even a bit to let me in. So, I have to do that move, where I throw on my turn signal and just keep moving toward the car to my right until it stops.

I want to do the right thing while driving, and I don't set out to endanger anyone.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

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