These Are The 10 Cities In North Carolina With The Worst Drivers


Using government data, we can tell the places in NC where you need to watch out for horrible driving residents.

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Here in North Carolina, you can say we’re an average bunch of drivers. According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Tar Heel state is the 24th ‘worst’ driving state. You can’t get any more in the middle of the road than that.

That’s surprising, considering that in a large portion of the state (especially in the Triangle area and the Outer Banks), a large percent of the population are transplants. Meaning they all have different driving habits from all over the place, especially the northeast.

This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst drivers within North Carolina. Don’t shoot the messenger, this is all using data.

After analyzing every single city in North Carolina, we came up with this list as the 10 cities with the worst drivers in North Carolina:

  1. Lumberton
  2. Hendersonville
  3. Mount Airy
  4. Lexington
  5. Statesville
  6. Monroe
  7. Asheboro
  8. Clayton
  9. Goldsboro
  10. Fayetteville

If you live in North Carolina, you’d realize that there really isn’t a region where the drivers are the ‘worst.’ We also have a list of the ‘best’ driving cities in the state. More on that later.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers, or scroll to the bottom to see how your town ranked.

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How do you decide if a place has horrible drivers or not?

In order to tell which cities have the worst drivers, we simply had to calculate how many accidents happen within a city’s border. Studies have shown that more than 90% of driving happens within 10 miles of home.

How we crunched the numbers

We turned to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which had never before crunched the numbers on a city-level basis. All of their data was at the county level, but they were nice enough to provide us a breakdown for this purpose.

We looked at cities with populations of more than 10,000 people for the study, taking into account that cities with a population of, say, 1,500 people that saw a fatal wreck in the last 5 years might skew the data.

All of the numbers below are fatal wrecks between 2010 and 2014.

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1. Lumberton

Source: Google Maps

Population: 21,707
Fatal wrecks: 32
Driving danger index: 14

Lumberton is a dangerous place in general, but when you factor in the number of fatal crashes per capita, it really lends some insight into the fact that Lumberton is dangerous all around – whether you’re talking about car break ins or car crashes in general.

The number of deaths in traffic accidents per capita in Lumberton is .14, meaning you have a 1 in 714 chance of dying in a car crash here every year. Those are some really bad drivers.

2. Hendersonville

Source: Google Maps

Population: 13,350
Driving danger index: 11

If you took Interstate 26 south from Asheville, you’d come to Hendersonville right before you got to the South Carolina state line. Here, the driving danger index is 11, meaning the number of fatal car wrecks per person is .11%.

3. Mount Airy

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,411
Driving danger index: 11

You’d better be careful driving around Mount Airy. This out of the way city near Virginia saw 12 fatal car wrecks in a five year span, which is really high for a population of only 10,000 people.

4. Lexington

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 19,029
Driving danger index: 9

20 miles south of Winston-Salem is the bedroom community of Lexington, which is growing quickly due to its proximity to Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point. Here, there were 19 fatal car wrecks in a five year span, meaning 1 in about 1,000 wrecks per member of the community.

5. Statesville

Source: Google Maps

Population: 24,029
Driving danger index: 9

You’d think that larger cities would have the worst drivers, but as this data shows, it’s the smallish cities where there are more wrecks per capita in North Carolina. This city a short drive of Charlotte lies at the intersection of I-40 and I-77, making it especially dangerous for the bad drivers who live here.

6. Monroe

Source: Google Maps

Population: 33,588
Driving danger index: 8

Former NASCAR driver ‘Speedy’ Thompson grew up in Monroe. It looks like there are a lot of other lead foots in the area to this day, as this medium-sized city south of Charlotte saw nearly 30 fatal car wrecks in a five-year span.

7. Asheboro

Source: Google Maps

Population: 22,000
Driving danger index: 7

Asheboro is home to the North Carolina Zoo. It sounds like it’s a zoo on the streets and highways in this area, judging by the number of wrecks per capita here, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Two NASCAR notable drivers are from here – Sam Ard and Chuck Bown. Are we seeing a pattern here between bad drivers and places that birthed professional race car drivers?

8. Clayton

Source: Google Maps

Population: 17,837
Driving danger index: 7

There were an extremely high number of car crashes along I-70 in Clayton, a small town southeast of Raleigh. So be on the lookout when passing through this area.

9. Goldsboro

Source: Google Maps

Population: 35,904
Driving danger index: 6

Like Lumberton, Goldsboro is a fairly dangerous city where car wrecks happen at a much higher rate than they do in most other places in the state. There were fatal wrecks at a .07% clip per person here, meaning people here crash their cars a lot more often in this area.

10. Fayetteville

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 202,401
Driving danger index: 6

We round out the list of places in North Carolina with the worst drivers in Fayetteville, by far the largest city to make this list. There were 129 fatal car crashes (and countless other accidents) here within a five-year period from 2010-2014.

Odds are if you drive to the store in Fayetteville, you’ll encounter several bad drivers en route. And if you don’t see any other bad drivers in the Fayetteville, than maybe the bad driver is you.

There You Have It

If you’re analyzing places in North Carolina where there were more fatal car wrecks per capita than any other place, this is an accurate list.

If you’re curious enough, here are the cities with the best drivers in North Carolina, according to science.

  1. Mint Hill (Pop. 24,000)
  2. Davidson (Pop. 12,000)
  3. Fuquay-Varina (Pop. 22,000)
  4. Chapel Hill (Pop. 59,000)
  5. Cornelius (Pop. 26,000)

List of Cities With Worst to Best Drivers in NC

City Population Fatal Car Wrecks in 5 Yrs Rank
Lumberton 21,707 32 1
Hendersonville 13,350 16 2
Mount Airy 10,411 12 3
Lexington 19,029 19 4
Statesville 25,132 24 5
Monroe 33,588 29 6
Asheboro 25,573 20 7
Clayton 17,274 12 8
Goldsboro 35,908 23 9
Fayetteville 202,421 129 10
Thomasville 27,042 17 11
Southern Pines 12,782 8 12
Graham 14,384 9 13
Smithfield 11,357 7 14
Lenoir 18,061 11 15
Rocky Mount 57,071 33 16
Laurinburg 15,799 9 17
Kernersville 23,522 13 18
Newton 12,998 7 19
Salisbury 33,524 18 20
Morganton 16,816 9 21
Sanford 28,798 15 22
Wilmington 110,100 54 23
Eden 15,543 7 24
Boone 17,802 8 25
Roanoke Rapids 15,653 7 26
Shelby 20,283 9 27
Archdale 11,322 5 28
Concord 82,266 36 29
Hope Mills 16,024 7 30
Reidsville 14,249 6 31
Burlington 51,740 21 32
Highpoint 107,000 43 33
Knightdale 12,692 5 34
Wilson 49,389 19 35
Summerfield 10,477 4 36
Spring Lake 13,101 5 37
Greensboro 276,225 105 38
Winston-Salem 234,469 89 39
Raleigh 423,287 158 40
Kings Mountain 10,743 4 41
Waxhaw 10,878 4 42
Gastonia 72,664 26 43
Charlotte 774,807 274 44
Tarboro 11,323 4 45
Elizabeth City 18,343 6 46
Mebane 12,509 4 47
Jacksonville 69,300 22 48
Kannapolis 43,865 13 49
Durham 240,107 71 50
Harrisburg 13,549 4 51
Carrboro 20,337 6 52
Mooresville 34,466 10 53
Havelock 20,850 6 54
Kinston 21,589 6 55
Greenville 87,546 23 56
Garner 26,723 7 57
Holly Springs 27,339 7 58
Matthews 28,677 7 59
Lewisville 13,037 3 60
Mount Holly 13,815 3 61
Huntersville 49,279 10 62
Indian Trail 34,950 7 63
Wake Forest 33,319 6 64
New Bern 30,171 5 65
Clemmons 19,101 3 66
Morrisville 20,728 3 67
Pinehurst 15,052 2 68
Leland 15,316 2 69
Cary 146,041 18 70
Apex 40,631 5 71
Cornelius 26,246 3 72
Chapel Hill 58,379 6 73
Fuquay Varina 21,277 2 74
Davidson 11,492 1 75
Mint Hill 23,934 2 76

2 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Cities In North Carolina With The Worst Drivers

  1. Lumberton has high fatality rates because of I-95. Duh. You can’t just keep publishing these lists, “roadshow,” based on stats on your computer stats in RTP. Do some real research and be scientific for a change.
    Now, regarding this article, one has to experience Asheville metro to get a true experience with horrible drivers. People who don’t know how to merge into freeway traffic properly; drivers who constantly jerk their cars into the left lane, going 50 mph to be “polite” and DANGEROUSLY allowing those people who don’t know how to merge, onto the freeway. How utterly stupid to move left into traffic that’s (trying to) moving at 80mph, driving at 50/55. But this happens all day, every day. Then, you have the hippy alternative gray haired women in their Suburus w “diversity” stickers, who try to “teach you a lesson,” by blocking the left lane at 50 mph – this is ILLEGAL in this state: no matter how fast traffic is approaching from your rear, if you are impeding the flow of traffic, the law states that you MUST move right. It would be nice to see our HYPO actually enforce this law in WNC, rather than only writing tickets for speeding. People speed here when the can, because they know that around the next curve, some dips*it is screwing up traffic flow and making everyone late!
    The issue is that for decades, Raleigh has sucked all of the tax dollars into improving every single US route and state route to every 2 horse town within 75 miles of the Triangle, into a freeway. While letting places like Asheville rot. You can see it in the bridges and roads all around Asheville. I’ve driven better roads in Mexico – and that’s no lie.

  2. well, this is an interesting survey. I used to prosecute cases in traffic court and the worst drivers I ever saw were in Wilmington. There is a thing called “the pause” in Wilmington where at a traffic light the cars will wait several seconds before moving on a green light because so many people run red lights. And rude!. Cornelius and Wilmington have the rudest, nastiest drivers I have ever seen.

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