PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Traffic, road conditions, and the cost of vehicle maintenance are all things that can make drivers grip the wheel a little tighter. These conditions vary from state to state for a variety of reasons, including population, weather, and government investment.
Personal finance website WalletHub looked at all 50 states to determine which are the best — and worst — for driving.
To rank the states, WalletHub compared them based on four key dimensions: operational costs and maintenance; transport and infrastructure; Security; and vehicle access and maintenance.
The researchers then decomposed these dimensions into 31 relevant metrics, including things like average gasoline prices, percentage of rush-hour traffic congestion, number of days with precipitation, road quality, traffic fatality rate, car theft rate, and car repair shops per capita.
Kansas placed 9th overall. The state ranked 13th among all states in the cost of vehicle ownership and maintenance, 5th in transportation and infrastructure, 40th in safety, and 33rd in vehicle access and maintenance.
According to WalletHub, these are the 10 best states to drive:
- North Carolina
And these are the 10 worst states to drive in:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
Hawaii, one of the most desirable vacation destinations, came last in the study thanks to the high cost of owning a car, the state of infrastructure, and limited access to vehicles and maintenance.
While Hawaii may have unique challenges when it comes to transportation and infrastructure, the country as a whole is in dire need of modernization, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. ASCE gave America’s roads a D grade in the society’s annual report, saying underfunding has left 40% of the country’s roads in “poor or fair” condition.
WalletHub asked experts how states can reduce road deaths. dr Arman Sargolzaei, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Southern Florida, said the vast majority of traffic accidents in the US are caused in whole or in part by human error.
“Shifting responsibility from human drivers to self-driving cars can potentially reduce accidents,” he said.
dr Shannon Roberts, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, also said the biggest risk for drivers remains not wearing a seat belt or being under the influence of alcohol while driving.
“Whatever states can do to encourage seat belt use and discourage driving after drinking/drug use would help prevent road fatalities,” she said.