Across America, people rely on their cars for their work commute. Time on the road is sometimes an opportunity to relax, listen to music and get in touch with how they’re feeling. Other times, it can be a moment in the day for a phone call to family or friends. Or maybe it’s just 20 mandatory minutes to get to the office, with no strings attached.
Whatever the case, a person’s driving experience is likely defined by where they live. Factors such as rush-hour traffic congestion, precipitation, car theft, average gas prices and road quality influence how positive or negative time spent in the car can be, and those measures vary depending on the region.
WalletHub used 30 data points to compare all 50 states and find out where the best — and worst — places are for drivers. Keep reading to see if your home made the list.
The 10 best states
- North Carolina
The 10 worst states
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- New Jersey
Trends and takeaways
Beyond the highest and lowest scores overall, WalletHub identified the states that rank best and worst in some of the components that together make a drive bliss or hell.
Some states take the good with the bad. For example, in California, there’s terrible rush-hour traffic, but there are also very few days with precipitation. New York has some of the highest car maintenance costs, but it also has low car theft rates and lots of car auto shops per capita.
Check out how your state excels, and where it flounders:
Keeping costs down
Regardless of where you live, owning a car can be expensive. Thankfully, experts have some advice to keep costs down.
“I recommend buying a good, one or two-year-old used car, then plan on selling it when it is four to five years old to minimize your capital cost,” said Reginald Souleyrette, a professor at the University of Kentucky.
“Follow prescribed maintenance procedures to the letter,” said Mark Burton, a research associate professor at the University of Tennessee.
Buy a used car and follow maintenance procedures — that doesn’t sound so hard!