Something magical happens as soon as we cross state lines: The drivers become horrible. It doesn’t matter where you’re going or why, but that other state always has worse drivers. When I was a kid coming up from California into Portland, it was the Oregonians. “They drive live maniacs in the rain,” relayed my white-knuckled parents from the front seat.
Moving to Nevada, it was the opposite. “They don’t know how to drive in the rain,” earnest Californians told me. (Meaning Nevadans actually slow down when Mother Nature asks them to.)
Californians themselves do not escape notice. My wife, no stranger to the gas pedal, told me with some awe that she had been mercilessly tailed by semis and school busses alike on a recent trip to the Central Valley. At one point, she only evaded being rear-ended by doing her best Steve McQueen impersonation and taking a left-hand turn at 50 MPH.
Yet, however much those of us in the western US may disparage the driving of our neighbors, the debate is ultimately unwinnable. After all, we all know which state truly has the worst drivers: Florida.