The Best and Worst States to Drive In

Depending on where you live, you may spend a good deal of your time sitting in traffic, and a good deal of your money paying for gas and insurance.

On the other hand, your commute might involve rocketing over a smooth, well-maintained open highway, waving at the occasional fellow driver, keeping one eye peeled for deer, and wondering if you'll make it to the next gas station 100 miles away.

Positive driving experiences may be somewhat subjective, but to identify the states with the best and worst driving experiences, personal finance site WalletHub compared all 50 states across 30 key indicators of a positive commute. The data set ranges from average gas prices to share of rush-hour traffic congestion to road quality.

Some of the main factors that were ranked include:

Cost of ownership and maintenance: Cost of gas, insurance, maintenance and other costs.

Traffic and infrastructure includes number of days with precipitation or ice and other weather factors, road and bridge quality, average commute time and roadway miles per 1,000 persons.

Safety includes incidents of poor behavior, fatalities, car thefts, strictness of DUI punishment and other laws, and... the likelihood of hitting a deer.

Access to vehicles and maintenance evaluates the availability of car dealerships, car washes, repair shops, gas stations and parking.

Based on WalletHub's study, these are the best and worst states to drive in 2019.

Best States to Drive: 1. Oregon
Best States to Drive: 1. Oregon

Best States to Drive

1. Oregon

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 22

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 11

Safety Rank: 15

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 23

Despite its reputation for precipitation, Oregon scored the highest overall. The state ranks No. 1 of all 50 states for low maintenance costs, although gas prices are among the highest. Pictured is the Oregon Coast Highway near Cannon Beach, Ore.

Photo: Shutterstock

2. Illinois
2. Illinois

2. Illinois

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 26

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 35

Safety Rank: 6

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 5

Illinois was fourth among all 50 states for having the most car washes and auto repair shops per capita.

Photo: Shutterstock

3. Indiana
3. Indiana

3. Indiana

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 2

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 15

Safety Rank: 35

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 21

The home of the Indy 500 raceway, above, ranks as the third best state to drive in.

Photo: Shutterstock

4. Iowa
4. Iowa

4. Iowa

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 1

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 10

Safety Rank: 44

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 22

Iowa has among the lowest percentages of rush-hour traffic congestion. It beats out all other states for ownership and maintenance costs. Above, the Great River Bridge over the Mississippi River in Burlington, Iowa.

Photo: Shutterstock

5. Texas
5. Texas

5. Texas

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 19

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 43

Safety Rank: 14

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 2

Texas ranks among the top five for lowest gas prices, most car washes per capita and fewest days of precipitation.

Photo: Shutterstock

6. North Carolina
6. North Carolina

6. North Carolina

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 15

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 27

Safety Rank: 16

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 10

Photo: Shutterstock

7. Georgia
7. Georgia

7. Georgia

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 4

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 30

Safety Rank: 32

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 7

Pictured is the Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick, Ga.

Photo: Shutterstock

8. Arkansas
8. Arkansas

8. Arkansas

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 8

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 5

Safety Rank: 39

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 33

Photo: Shutterstock

9. Nebraska
9. Nebraska

9. Nebraska

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 16

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 7

Safety Rank: 34

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 32

Photo: Shutterstock

10. Ohio
10. Ohio

10. Ohio

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 7

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 29

Safety Rank: 36

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 8

Photo: Shutterstock

11. Kansas
11. Kansas

11. Kansas

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 12

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 6

Safety Rank: 41

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 30

Photo: StockPhotoAstur / Shutterstock

12. Tennessee
12. Tennessee

12. Tennessee

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 5

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 22

Safety Rank: 37

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 19

Photo: f11photo/Shutterstock

13. Kentucky
13. Kentucky

13. Kentucky

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 11

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 23

Safety Rank: 20

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 31

Photo: Shutterstock

14. Alabama
14. Alabama

14. Alabama

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 3

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 13

Safety Rank: 46

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 26

Photo: Shutterstock

15. Virginia
15. Virginia

15. Virginia

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 9

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 40

Safety Rank: 29

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 15

Photo: Shutterstock

Worst States to Drive In
Worst States to Drive In

These are the rankings for the worst states to drive, from better to worse.

36. Montana

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 18

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 1

Safety Rank: 50

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 43

Montana has some of the most scenic roads in the country, and speed limits in some places up to 80 mph. It ranks last for safety, which may be why it ended up in the bottom 15. But Montana is also No. 1 for traffic and infrastructure, and 36 overall. Pictured is the Beartooth scenic highway.

Photo: Shutterstock

37. Vermont
37. Vermont

37. Vermont

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 40

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 26

Safety Rank: 11

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 35

Photo: Shutterstock

38. Connecticut
38. Connecticut

38. Connecticut

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 46

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 37

Safety Rank: 3

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 24

Photo: 4kclips / Shutterstock

39. Maine
39. Maine

39. Maine

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 39

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 36

Safety Rank: 13

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 36

Photo: E.J.Johnson Photography / Shutterstock

40. West Virginia
40. West Virginia

40. West Virginia

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 21

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 39

Safety Rank: 33

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 41

Photo: Shutterstock

41. Maryland
41. Maryland

41. Maryland

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 29

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 49

Safety Rank: 12

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 18

Photo: melissamn / Shutterstock

42. New Jersey
42. New Jersey

42. New Jersey

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 41

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 48

Safety Rank: 7

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 14

Photo: Shutterstock

43. Wyoming
43. Wyoming

43. Wyoming

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 27

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 4

Safety Rank: 48

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 48

Photo: Shutterstock

44. Massachusetts
44. Massachusetts

44. Massachusetts

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 44

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 50

Safety Rank: 4

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 9

Photo: Shutterstock

45. Rhode Island
45. Rhode Island

45. Rhode Island

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 45

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 47

Safety Rank: 1

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 46

Rhode Island tops the charts for safety, but falls short in the other categories.

Photo: Shutterstock

46. New Hampshire
46. New Hampshire

46. New Hampshire

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 31

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 42

Safety Rank: 27

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 38

Photo: Shutterstock

47. California
47. California

47. California

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 49

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 44

Safety Rank: 5

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 1

Costs of ownership and traffic offset California's high ranking for access and safety. California was also the state with the fewest days of precipitation.

Photo: Shutterstock

48. Washington
48. Washington

48. Washington

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 48

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 33

Safety Rank: 19

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 13

Above, cars are loaded onto a ferry to Seattle.

Photo: Frank Fell / Shutterstock

49. Alaska
49. Alaska

49. Alaska

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 43

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 19

Safety Rank: 23

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 50

Alaska also ranked No. 49 for number of repair shops per capita.

Photo: Shutterstock

50. Hawaii
50. Hawaii

50. Hawaii

Ownership & Maintenance Rank: 50

Traffic & Infrastructure Rank: 45

Safety Rank: 10

Access to Vehicles and Maintenance Rank: 40

Hawaii also had the highest auto repair costs, with only New York being higher, and ranked dead last for number of repair shops per capita.

Photo: Shutterstock

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