PORTLAND, Oregon (KOIN) — Traffic, road conditions and the cost of vehicle maintenance can all make drivers grip the wheel a little tighter. These conditions vary between states 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 to drive in.
To rank the states, WalletHub compared them on four key dimensions: cost of ownership and maintenance; traffic and infrastructure; safety; and access to vehicles and maintenance.
The researchers then broke these dimensions down into 31 relevant metrics, including things like average gas prices, share of traffic congestion during peak hours, number of days with rainfall, road quality, road fatality rate , the car theft rate and garages per capita. .
Kansas finished 9th overall. The state ranked 13th among all states in cost of vehicle ownership and maintenance, 5th in traffic and infrastructure, 40th in safety, and 33rd in vehicle access and maintenance.
According to WalletHub, these are the 10 best states to drive to:
- North Carolina
And these are the 10 worst states to drive in:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
Hawaii, one of the most coveted vacation destinations, finished last due to the high cost of car ownership, the state of infrastructure, and limited access to vehicles and maintenance, the study found.
While Hawaii may have unique challenges when it comes to traffic and infrastructure, the country as a whole is in desperate need of an upgrade, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. The ASCE gave America’s roads a D grade in the company’s annual report card, saying that underfunding has resulted in 40 percent of the country’s roads falling into “poor or mediocre” condition.
WalletHub asked experts how states can reduce the number of road accidents. Dr. Arman Sargolzaei, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of South Florida, said the vast majority of traffic accidents in the United States are wholly or partially due to human error.
“A shift of responsibilities from the human driver to self-driving cars has the potential to reduce accidents,” he said.
Dr. Shannon Roberts, an assistant professor in the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s department of mechanical and industrial engineering, also said that the greatest risk for drivers is still not wearing a seat belt or being under the influence while driving. .
“Anything states can do to encourage the use of seat belts and discourage driving after alcohol or drug use would help prevent traffic accidents,” he said.