Gridlock on I-5 in North County
Gridlock on Interstate 5 in North County. Courtesy SANDAG

California drivers are the worst in the United States, thanks to gridlocked freeways, smartphone use and an increase in drunk driving, according to an annual study by an insurance marketplace.

QuoteWizard, an online marketplace for auto insurance, said Thursday an overall increase in citations, distracted driving and DUIs helped push the Golden State to the number one spot in terms of bad drivers from second place in 2016.

“The dubious honor of having the worst drivers in the country goes to California,” the study concluded. “California’s less-than-stellar drivers are somewhat notorious — especially in gridlocked Los Angeles.”

In fact, five of the top 10 cities with the worst drivers are located in California. Those cities include Sacramento — ranked the worst nationwide — Riverside, San Diego, Los Angeles and Bakersfield.

Following California in the worst-driver rankings were Minnesota, Utah, South Carolina and Washington. The state with the best drivers was Rhode Island.

“If you’ve ever been cut off by someone with an out-of-state plate and thought, ‘Oh, it figures,’ this study may be for you,” said Adam Johnson of QuoteWizard. “QuoteWizard analyzed millions of data points on drivers from throughout the U.S. and what we found provides a pretty interesting and sometimes surprising snapshot of the best and worst drivers in America.”

The company sampled data on accidents, fatalities, DUIs, speeding tickets and citations, collecting more than 2 million data points from drivers.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.