Driving and owning a vehicle in America has long been considered a rite of passage and part of the American experience. And with more than 48,191 miles of interstate highway laid out across the country, your driving experience can vary widely across all 50 states.
In a recent study by WalletHub, an online financial advisory site, their expertsexamined the driving experiences of residents in all 50 states by looking at 31 factors, including time spent in rush hour traffic, car theft rates, and average gas prices as well as the quality of the roads and the average cost of car maintenance.
If you find yourself commuting in Iowa, Tennessee or North Carolina, congratulations - WalletHub's survey found those three states were the top three to drive around in. Iowa residents had an easier time in rush hour traffic than many of their other fellow citizens around the country, while
Texas and Nebraska rounded out the top five states to drive in.
The top ten states to drive in include:
- North Carolina
On the other hand, despite being an island paradise, Hawaii was ranked dead last in WalletHub's survey, thanks to the state's high gas prices and fewest auto-repair shops (per Capita). Hawaii also had some of the highest car theft rates in the nation and ranked as having some of the most days with precipitation. Rhode Island, Washington state, and California all saw similar issues, helping them to rank toward the bottom of the list.
The ten worst states to drive in include:
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
- New Jersey
Experts say people who want to try and keep their cost of car ownership low should check The Department of Energy Alternative Fuel Data Center, which offers a tool that can give car owners an idea of how much owning a car will really cost them.
According to Eleftheria Kontou, the Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, car owners can reduce fuel costs by driving in an "eco-friendly manner" and avoid aggressively accelerating and decelerating and to stay on top of scheduled maintenance, which can reduce the need for unexpected repairs.
Safety is another concern for many car owners, with Kontou saying that cities that invest in infrastructure improvement and policy measures, "are found associated with the reduction in traffic fatalities including speed reduction and traffic calming measures (like raised intersections and middle islands), dedicated and protected bicycle lanes and safer pedestrian crossings."
"Indirect interventions like alcohol taxes and mode alternatives (night transit, taxis, ride-hailing) are related to drunk driving reduction. A combination of such measures along with educational campaigns for safe driving can assist States with reaching Vision Zero goals," said Kontou.
Photos: Getty Images & WalletHub