Recent Survey Shows the Worst States For Driving. Can You Guess Which Ones Top the List?

If your first instinct is to say California, you would not be far off the mark. While everyone complains about the disrepair of their state’s roads, ours in particular seem a special kind of terrible. Unless you’re a sucker for potholes, poor drainage, and an hour of nightly stop-and-go, Southern California roads are far from a driver’s playground.

The results of studies like the one WalletHub performed, which “compared all 50 states across 30 key indicators of a positive commute,” should hardly come as a surprise. Just this past year the automotive analytics company INRIX released its annual Global Traffic Scorecard, which ranks the impact of congestion in more than a thousand cities across 38 countries. Numero Uno on the list of the world’s most gridlocked cities, “with drivers spending 102 hours in congestion in 2017 during peak time periods,” was Los Angeles. San Francisco came in at #5.

These are not numbers to be proud of. If you’re going to be the best at something, you certainly don’t want to be the best at being the worst. But INRIX’s scorecard only ranked based on traffic, and on a global scale. How does California stack up against the rest of the U.S., according to WalletHub’s 30 key indicators?

We’re the fourth worst in the nation.

One of the few metrics we came first in: fewest days of precipitation.

To get the rankings, the indicators, each given a weight of its own, were divided up into four categories:  cost of ownership and maintenance, traffic and infrastructure, safety, and access to vehicles and maintenance. A handful of the indicators looked at included:  Average Gas Prices, Increase in Vehicle Travel on Highways (2016 vs 2000), Road Quality, Average Commute Time, Traffic Indiscipline (that is, poor driver behaviour), and Auto-Repair Shops per Capita.

By category, here’s how California fared:

  • Cost of ownership and maintenance: 49th
  • Traffic and infrastructure: 44th
  • Safety: 5th
  • Access to vehicles and maintenance: 1st

While we performed highly in two of the categories, the way the various indicators were weighted, and our low scores for them, is what dragged us down in the national ranking.

  • We have the highest percentage share of rush-hour traffic
  • We have the 2nd highest gas prices (behind Hawaii)
  • We have the 4th highest car theft rate
  • We have the 4th worst road quality (no surprise there)
  • We have the 11th highest auto-maintenance costs

But on the positive side of things, we also have…

  • The fewest days of precipitation (although lately it’s not felt like it)
  • The most auto-repair shops per capita (tied with NY and PA)
  • The most car washes per capita

So, that’s something to celebrate, right?

This isn’t the first time California has come in at the bottom of driving-related surveys — we recently earned the mantle of most aggressive drivers in the nation (by far), according to a recent report released by YourMechanic — but we don’t always. In fact, California is considered the 4th safest state for teenage drivers!

Parents, take your much-needed sigh of relief.

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Check Out These References for Further Reading:

“Best & Worst States to Drive in.” WalletHub.  Retrieved 8 February 2019. https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-states-to-drive-in/43012/

“2018’s Best & Worst States for Teen Drivers.” WalletHub.  Retrieved 8 February 2019. https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-states-for-teen-drivers/4598/

“What is the Most Dangerous State to Drive In?” YourMechanic.  Retrieved 8 February 2019. https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/what-is-the-most-dangerous-state-to-drive-in

“Driving In CA Among Worst In America.” Patch Media.  Retrieved 8 February 2019. https://patch.com/california/temecula/driving-ca-among-worst-america

“INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard.” INRIX.  Retrieved 8 February 2019. http://inrix.com/scorecard/

“Report: California isn’t home to the worst drivers, but the most aggressive.” KSBY.  Retrieved 8 February 2019. https://ksby.com/news/local-news/2019/01/16/report-california-isnt-home-to-the-worst-drivers-but-the-most-aggressive

“California, once again, ranks near the bottom for best states to drive in.” The Mercury News.  Retrieved 8 February 2019. https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/01/22/california-once-again-ranks-near-the-bottom-for-best-states-to-drive-in/