When it comes to driver quality, folks in North Carolina tend to be near the bottom of the barrel. In QuoteWizard's 2018 study of the best and worst drivers, the Tar Heel State ranked 18th for the worst-driving state in the country. What's more, Charlotte came in 7th for worst drivers in another QuoteWizard study, with Durham and Greensboro not far behind. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) figures also place North Carolina above the national average in road fatalities: 13.74 per 100,000 people.
Given the poor ratings of North Carolina, we figured it would be important to see where the worst of the worst drivers are and where the state's better drivers reside. We put together a ranking of the 50 largest cities in North Carolina by overall driver quality. We analyzed over 80,000 insurance quotes from North Carolina drivers using QuoteWizard.com and ranked cities by the highest rate of incidents. Incidents include accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, and citations.
Situated right outside of Winston-Salem, Clemmons is home to North Carolina's worst drivers. With a busy I-40 running southwest of the larger city into Clemmons, there's plenty of road traffic to rack up incidents in the city. Forsyth County accounted for 42 road fatalities, 11.16 per 100,000 residents, in 2017.
Huntersville is another city right on the outskirts of a larger one that must experience the big city traffic from drivers passing through. I-77 goes due north of Charlotte and passes through the heart of Huntersville. The northbound traffic must lead to a significant number of incidents among Huntersville drivers. Mecklenburg County had 114 road fatalities (10.59 per 100,000 people) in 2017.
Following I-77 north 30 miles, you'll hit the third-worst driving city, Statesville. Again, high traffic interstates and highways lead to a ton of road incidents. Luckily, Statesville drivers experience a lower volume of accidents than those in Huntersville. Iredell County totaled 31 fatalities (17.64 per 100,000 people) in 2017.
North Carolina's Best Driving Cities
Getting out of the Charlotte and Winston-Salem areas, you'll find the best drivers in the state sandwiched in the Research Triangle. Morrisville takes the crown as the city with the best drivers, incurring the lowest rate of incidents. Wake County is home to one of the lowest fatality rates in North Carolina at 4.94 per 100,000.
Moving even further east from the Research Triangle, you'll run into the second-best driving city, Wilson. Following a pattern of safe-driving cities, the smaller population and country roads tend to produce a lower rate of incidents. Although Wilson has a low rate of incidents, the fatality rate among its residents is fairly high compared to other counties on our list, coming in at 24.29 per 100,000 people.
Going against the grain of previous findings, Cornelius proves the I-77 corridor wrong. Just a few miles north of it's bad-driving neighbor, Huntersville, Cornelius provides a safe haven for drivers using I-77.
The QuoteWizard research team evaluated driver quality from the 50 largest cities in North Carolina by population. We analyzed 2018 data of over 80,000 insurance quotes from North Carolina drivers using QuoteWizard to find the rate of overall incidents in each city. Incidents include accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, and citations.