The 20 Best and Worst U.S. States For Drivers

A driver's stress level may vary depending on where in the country they find themselves. Iowa ranks as the best state for American motorists, while Hawaii lands at the opposite end of the spectrum.
Roberto Moiola/Sysaworld/Getty Images

Anyone who has completed a cross-country road trip knows how much the driving experience can vary by state. Just as you leave a state with high gas prices and bumper-to-bumper traffic, you may find yourself in a part of America with bad weather and poorly maintained roads. To see how driving conditions rank across the country, check out the lists at the bottom of the article.

WalletHub looked at a diverse range of data to determine the best and worst states for drivers in the U.S. Local vehicle maintenance costs, weather, traffic, and safety were some of the factors considered in the analysis.

According to the report, Iowa is the best state in the nation if you prefer to get around by car. Thanks to its small population and lack of major cities, rush hour congestion is rarely a problem for commuters in the Hawkeye State. In addition to saving time, personal vehicles owners also save money, as Iowa has some of the lowest gas prices and car insurance rates in the nation. 

Number two on the list of best U.S. states to drive in is Georgia. While the southern state is more densely populated than Iowa, it makes up for it by offering the most gas stations per capita in the country. Kansas comes in third place, and a major reason for that is its high ranking for traffic safety. Drivers there are some of the least likely to speed, and the state recently saw a dramatic drop in its vehicle fatality rate. Alabama and Oklahoma round out the top five.

At the other end of the spectrum, Hawaii was named the worst state for American motorists. Like many living expenses on the archipelago, the cost of car ownership there far exceeds the national average. The state also has some of the country’s worst congestion. Fortunately, the stunning views surrounding its famous highways make the stand-still traffic more tolerable. In Washington state, vehicle maintenance costs are also higher than they are almost anywhere else in the United States. Delaware, West Virginia, and California ranked as some of the most challenging states for motorists as well. You can read the full lists of the 20 best and the 20 worst states for drivers in America below.

Whether or not you choose to live in one of the low-ranking states, having to drive through them may be unavoidable in the future. Luckily there are some steps you can take to improve the safety of your driving even when you find yourself in less-than-ideal conditions. Packing an emergency kit, keeping your eyes on the road, and learning basic vehicle maintenance skills are some of the most important safety tips recommended by experts. You can read more potentially life-saving road trip advice here.

The 20 Best States for Drivers in the Country

  1. Iowa
  2. Georgia
  3. Kansas
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Alabama
  6. North Carolina
  7. Ohio
  8. Tennessee
  9. Texas
  10. North Dakota
  11. Indiana
  12. Nebraska
  13. Wyoming
  14. Idaho
  15. Wisconsin
  16. Florida
  17. Utah
  18. New Mexico
  19. Arkansas
  20. Arizona

The 20 Worst States for Drivers in the Country

  1. Hawaii
  2. Washington
  3. Delaware
  4. West Virginia
  5. California
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Nevada
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Vermont
  10. Montana
  11. Maryland
  12. New Hampshire
  13. New Jersey
  14. Missouri
  15. Colorado
  16. Oregon
  17. Alaska
  18. Connecticut
  19. Maine
  20. Michigan