These 10 Car Brands Have the Worst Drivers

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Angry driver
F01 PHOTO / Shutterstock.com

At one point or another, you’ve probably found yourself shaking your fist in frustration at the car in front of you or debating which car drivers have been the worst to share the road with.

Thanks to the finance platform LendingTree, it doesn’t have to be a debate. LendingTree recently used data from its QuoteWizard service, which provides car insurance quotes, to review tens of millions of quotes and 30 car brands to determine which has the worst drivers. They looked at four types of driving incidents — DUIs, accidents, speeding and citations — over a one-year period.

Mercury ended up having the best drivers, with 15.82 incidents per 1,000 U.S. drivers — that’s half the rate of the worst brand.

So before making your next car purchase, take a look at which brands are associated with the most driving incidents.

10. Toyota

Toyota Corolla circa 2018
Mino Surkala / Shutterstock.com

Number of overall driving incidents: 25.13 per 1,000 drivers

Number of accidents: 17.18 per 1,000 drivers

Number of DUIs: 1.1 per 1,000 drivers

Toyota is a Japanese company that got its U.S. start in Hollywood, California, in 1957. The brand sold 287 cars from its first model, a sedan called the Toyopet, in 1958. But it was met with dissatisfaction from the public, which found it underpowered and overpriced. Toyota managed to turn things around, though, to say the least. In 2022, the company sold more than 1.8 million vehicles in the United States alone.

9. Hyundai

Hyundai Elantra GT
Zoran Karapancev / Shutterstock.com

Number of overall driving incidents: 25.47 per 1,000 drivers

Number of accidents: 16.43 per 1,000 drivers

Number of DUIs: 1.04 per 1,000 drivers

The Hyundai Motor Co. started out as the Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. in South Korea in 1947. The name comes from the Korean word “Hyun,” meaning “modern,” and “Dai,” which refers to “era.” Following South Korea’s liberation in 1945, Hyundai was awarded government construction contracts. The company played a role in expanding South Korea’s transportation infrastructure before it began car production in 1967.

8. Infiniti

Infiniti QX50
Darren Brode / Shutterstock.com

Number of overall driving incidents: 26.72 per 1,000 drivers

Number of accidents: 16.77 per 1,000 drivers

Number of DUIs: 1.02 per 1,000 drivers

In 1985, a subgroup from Nissan formed with hopes of creating performance luxury vehicles. By 1987, Infiniti was officially born, and its logo is meant to symbolize future possibilities through two central lines moving into the horizon. The logo is meant to represent the company’s value of “forward movement.”

7. Lexus

Lexus RX 450h
BoJack / Shutterstock.com

Number of overall driving incidents: 26.73 per 1,000 drivers

Number of accidents: 18.35 per 1,000 drivers

Number of DUIs: 1.05 per 1,000 drivers

In 1983, Toyota’s chairman organized a secret meeting in Japan. There he challenged a team of strategists, engineers and designers to create “the very best” luxury car. After 400 prototype vehicles were built — including 100 that were crash-tested — and more than 4.3 million test kilometers were driven, Lexus signed off on its first model.

6. BMW

2020 BMW x5
Gabriel Nica / Shutterstock.com

Number of overall driving incidents: 26.82 per 1,000 drivers

Number of accidents: 17.81 per 1,000 drivers

Number of DUIs: 3.13 per 1,000 drivers

BMW’s history doesn’t begin in the automobile sphere. It begins with Gustav Otton and Karl Rapp, who produced aircraft and their engines in Germany in the early 20th century. The men’s companies eventually joined, with production evolving into automobiles. Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) was the outgrowth of Rapp’s and Otton’s companies.

Unfortunately, BMWs have the highest DUI rate of any auto brand included in LendingTree’s study.

5. Mazda

Mazda MX-30 EV electric vehicle
Grzegorz Czapski / Shutterstock.com

Number of overall driving incidents: 27.74 per 1,000 drivers

Number of accidents: 18.55 per 1,000 drivers

Number of DUIs: 1.19 per 1,000 drivers

Mazda is a Japanese company that was introduced to the public in 1931 after starting out as a cork manufacturer in 1920. Its first vehicle to hit the market was the “Mazda-go,” a tricycle truck. The company and its first model were named for Ahura Mazda, a god of harmony, intelligence and wisdom.

4. Volkswagen

1996 Volkswagen Beetle Harlequin
Milos Ruzicka / Shutterstock.com

Number of overall driving incidents: 27.92 per 1,000 drivers

Number of accidents: 18.17 per 1,000 drivers

Number of DUIs: 1.21 per 1,000 drivers

Volkswagen was founded by Germany’s Nazi government in 1937. The company, whose name means “people’s car,” originally set out to democratize mobility with mass production of the Kafer, the German word for “beetle.” However, the project was postponed upon the outbreak of World War II, when the company’s factories turned to military vehicle production. Volkswagen is transparent about its history with the Nazis and forced labor practices during the war.

3. Subaru

Subaru BRZ circa 2018
Kridsada Krataipet / Shutterstock.com

Number of overall driving incidents: 30.09 per 1,000 drivers

Number of accidents: 20.9 per 1,000 drivers

Number of DUIs: 1.45 per 1,000 drivers

Subaru wasn’t always in the automobile business. It started off as an aircraft research company, Fuji Heavy Industries, in 1915. The company moved beyond research and became an aircraft manufacturer for Japan during World War II. It wasn’t until after the war that Subaru changed its name and shifted its focus to car manufacturing.

2. Tesla

Tesla factory
Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

Number of overall driving incidents: 31.13 per 1,000 drivers

Number of accidents: 23.54 per 1,000 drivers

Number of DUIs: 1.02 per 1,000 drivers

The Tesla brand is much younger than others on this list, having been founded in 2003 by two American entrepreneurs, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. South African billionaire Elon Musk stepped in as chairman in 2004 and became CEO in 2008 after Eberhard and Tarpenning stepped down from their roles.

According to LendingTree’s analysis, Teslas have the highest accident rate of all car brands it studied.

1. Ram

Ram 1500 Classic
Mike Mareen / Shutterstock.com

Number of overall driving incidents: 32.90 per 1,000 drivers

Number of accidents: 22.76 per 1,000 drivers

Number of DUIs: 1.72 per 1,000 drivers

Ram trucks’ history starts with Detroit’s Dodge Brothers, John Francis and Horace, who went from building bicycles to cars in 1914. The brand established itself as a leader in the truck market by the 1930s, after its purchase by Walter P. Chrysler. The Ram pickup truck line was released in the 1980s and experienced a major overhaul in the ’90s, with updated engines, designs and interiors. In 2009, Ram Trucks became a standalone brand under the Chrysler Group.

LendingTree makes note of Ram’s powerful engines and their ability to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds — and of the brands analyzed, Ram had the highest rate of speeding incidents (4.42 per 1,000 drivers).

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