Everyone hates being stuck in traffic. It makes you late, and causes many people’s tempers to flare up. It’s also quite bad for your wallet – in fact, congestion cost the average driver $869 in 2022, thanks to an average of 51 hours spent sitting in traffic. The U.S. also has eight out of the world’s 25 worst cities for traffic, and 19 of the worst 25 in North America.
Congestion isn’t the only concern on the road, though. People want to know that they will be driving on safe, well-maintained roads before heading out, and while the U.S. has a fairly good track record, it certainly doesn’t top the list. For example, the World Economic Forum ranks the U.S. 17 out of 141 countries when it comes to road quality.
Road conditions naturally aren’t consistent across the entire country. To identify the states with the best driving conditions, WalletHub compared all 50 states across 31 key indicators of a positive commute. Our data set ranges from average gas prices to rush-hour traffic congestion to road quality.
Best & Worst Driving States
Note: With the exception of “Total Score,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of each state, where a rank of 1 represents the best conditions for each category.
In-Depth Look at the Best States for Drivers
Iowa is the best state to drive in, due in part to the fact that it’s a rural state and has one of the lowest rush-hour traffic congestion rates in the country. Less than a quarter of urban interstates in Iowa experience congestion during peak hours. In addition, Iowa drivers tend to have short commutes, at less than 20 minutes on average.
Iowa residents also can save a lot of money on their vehicle expenses, given that Iowa is in the top 10 states when it comes to low gas prices and car insurance rates. Plus, the Hawkeye state has one of the lowest rates of vehicle theft and larceny, so residents can feel safe and secure.
The second-best state to drive in is Georgia. Everyone knows the nightmare scenario of not being able to find a gas station when you’re on empty – but Georgia has the most gas stations and the ninth-most alternative fuel stations in the country per capita.
Georgia also takes the problem of driving while intoxicated very seriously, with the second-strictest DUI laws in the country, although Georgians still have a lot of work to do when it comes to speeding and distracted driving.
To top things off, owning a car can be pretty cheap in Georgia. Georgians have the third-lowest auto maintenance costs and gas prices in the country.
Kansas is the third-best state for drivers, and one of the contributing factors is improving road safety. Kansas had one of the biggest year-over-year decreases in the traffic fatality rate, at over 12%, according to the most recent data. This may be partially due to the fact that Kansas drivers speed less frequently than people in most states.
Kansas has some of the most roadway miles per capita in the country, but keeps those roads well-maintained, with the 10th best road quality. Keeping roads paved well probably isn’t too hard, though, given that Kansas is “flatter than a pancake.”
Since Kansas has a low population and lots of farmland, it makes sense that it has a low traffic congestion rate, too. Clear roadways definitely contribute to the state’s third-place ranking.
Copyright 2024 Evolution Finance, Inc. All rights reserved. From https://wallethub.com.