The 10 Best and Worst States for Drivers in 2023

Michele Debczak
Kalanianaole Highway hugs the coast near Honolulu, Hawaii.
Kalanianaole Highway hugs the coast near Honolulu, Hawaii. / Naomi Rahim/Moment/Getty Images
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If you drive to work, the road conditions you encounter during your commute might often seem out of your control. Traffic, potholes, and careless drivers can turn an otherwise pleasant trip into a headache-inducing nightmare. These factors may seem random, but they’re not the same throughout the country. To see if your state ranks among the best (or worst) places to drive in the U.S., check out the lists below.

WalletHub looked at 31 key metrics across all 50 states to determine the results. Some factors come into play before you put your keys into the ignition, including access to cars and the cost of ownership and maintenance. Rush-hour traffic congestion, road conditions, and average gas prices were also taken into account.

Based on this analysis, Iowa is the best state to own and drive a car. Though it ranks in the bottom half of the list for safety, its high marks in traffic and cost of vehicle ownership and maintenance bump it to the No.1 slot. It’s followed by Georgia, which performs better in terms of average car costs and overall vehicle access than it does in traffic and safety. Ohio, Oklahoma, and North Carolina round out the top five.

On the other side of the spectrum, Hawaii is considered the worst U.S. state for drivers, according to the findings. It comes in sixth in safety, but that score doesn’t make up for its poor showings in traffic and infrastructure, car access, and cost of ownership and overall upkeep. Washington, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Maryland also appear near the bottom.

Driving is the most convenient way to get around in many parts of the U.S., but it’s not the only way. After checking out the best and worst states for driving, learn more about the best American cities for public transit here.

10 Best States for Drivers

  1. Iowa
  2. Georgia
  3. Ohio
  4. Oklahoma
  5. North Carolina
  6. Idaho
  7. Texas
  8. Tennessee
  9. Kansas
  10. Indiana

10 Worst States for Drivers

  1. Hawaii
  2. Washington
  3. Delaware
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Maryland
  6. Missouri
  7. Nevada
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Michigan
  10. California
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