The Best And Worst U.S. States For Drivers, According To Statistics

Throughout the past few years, road conditions in America have gotten worse. The National Safety Council says that the country has seen more and more roadway fatalities. Depending on the state, drivers can have an easier or harder time getting around.

Studies have ranked U.S. states based on several factors. Some states see more traffic accidents than others. While certain states have short commutes, others are notorious for their terrible traffic and infrastructure. Whether or not residents agree, these are the best and worst driving states in America.

Few Car Accidents Happen In North Dakota

Cars drive by a snowy hill in North Dakota.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

North Dakota has fewer accidents than most other U.S. states. In 2018, the state only had 95 fatal accidents; that had decreased by 10% since 2017. Compare that to the 3,305 accidents from Texas alone. In 2019, North Dakota’s crash rate lowered from 15,264 the year prior to 11,742.

North Dakota may be safe because its statewide commute time is shorter than average. According to the North Dakota Census Office, the average commute spans 17 minutes, far less than the 27-minute national average.

No Surprise–Drivers Struggle In California

A map highlights the worst U.S. states to drive in.
@onlmaps/Twitter
@onlmaps/Twitter

Believe it or not, California is not the worst state to drive in. But it’s not the best, either. The 2020 WalletHub consensus ranks California as the fourth worst state. Out of every U.S. state, California has the worst traffic congestion, the second-highest gas prices, and the fifth-highest rate of car theft.

Southern California has far worse roads than Northern California, according to a 2018 Allstate survey. As of April 2020, 67% of California’s roads are in poor condition. A Haven Life study adds that the state has the longest commutes in all of America.

Safe Travels To Iowa

Trucks are parked at the world's largest truck stop in Iowa.
Andrew Woodley/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Andrew Woodley/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In January 2020, a study ranked Iowa as the best state for drivers. The Wallethub report based its ranking on safety, car maintenance, infrastructure, and traffic. Reportedly, Iowa offered excellent car maintenance, up-to-date road conditions, and little road congestion.

On top of that, an earlier study by Car Insurance Comparison stated that Iowa has the safest drivers. With only 300 fatal crashes per year, the state had lower rates of speeding than other states. Fatality rates and driving under the influence were also lower than the rest of the country.

New York Has The Worst Traffic And Infrastructure

A traffic jam occurs in Manhattan, New York.
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images
LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images

Believe it or not, New York isn’t the worst state to drive through. But it still ranks low on WalletHub’s list. Its worst areas are traffic and infrastructure, where it ranked dead last. Residents also have a hard time paying for and gaining access to car maintenance shops.

Despite its low ranking, New York has safe roads. It was the third-highest in safety and the fourth-highest access to vehicles. Compared to other states, New York has few fatal accidents–only 4.8 per 100,000 people.

Hawaii, The Worst Driving State Of All

A man crosses the street while looking at his phone in Honolulu.
EUGENE TANNER/AFP via Getty Images
EUGENE TANNER/AFP via Getty Images

WalletHub’s 2020 study ranked Hawaii as the worst state to drive in. The Aloha state had terrible everything: road quality, commute traffic, frequent car theft, high gas prices, and a low number of repair shops per capita. In short, drivers in Hawaii don’t have a fun time.

To make things worse, Hawaii also has some of the country’s worst drivers. SmartAsset’s 2019 survey reported that Hawaii has the highest number of uninsured drivers at 89.4%. It also has the highest rate of DUI arrests of any state.

Mississippi Has Smooth Commutes

Two highways cross over each other in Mississippi.
Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images
Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images

Mississippi offers some of the smoothest drives for commuters, according to a 2020 survey. The state’s rush hour traffic is five times lower than California, and it had the least expensive gas prices. In 2019, the insurance marketplace QuoteWizard declared that Mississippi has the safest roads.

But a conflicting study confuses Mississippi residents. Another survey by Safe Smart Living ranked Mississippi as the most dangerous driving state and New York as the safest. The U.S. Department of Transportation concludes that Mississippi has a higher fatality rate than most other states.

Stellar Drives Through Oregon

Cars drive through Portland, OR.
Alex Milan Tracy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Alex Milan Tracy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Oregon offers the best driving experience of any state, according to WalletHub. Oddly enough, the state was average in terms of road maintenance, cost, and traffic. But its drivers were the best in America.

In a similar vein, Oregon was the fourth safest driving state in a 2019 YourMechanic study. Residents showed low levels of aggression and speeding, and they displayed better driving skills than most other states. Oddly, Oregon had the fifth-highest number of car thefts in the United States.

Pennsylvania Is The Second Most Dangerous Driving State

Cars drive down a highway in Philadelphia.
Reinhard Kaufhold/picture alliance via Getty Images
Reinhard Kaufhold/picture alliance via Getty Images

Drivers may have a hard time traveling through Pennsylvania, especially during the winter. In 2019, a study by MoneyGeek rated Pennsylvania as the second most dangerous state to drive through. The state only worsened since 2015, when Car Insurance Comparison ranked it the fifth-worst state.

But WalletHub’s 2020 study disagrees with many of these rankings. According to them, Pennsylvania has some of the lowest traffic congestion of any state. Residents also have easier access to repair shops than other Americans. If you drive carefully during the winter, you should be fine in Pennsylvania.

A Lot Of Distracted Drivers In Connecticut

Cars drive through a snowstorm in Connecticut.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In 2018, a Safe Driving Report concluded that the Northeast U.S. has the least safe drivers. And the worst of the Northeast: Connecticut. Thirty-four percent of Connecticut drivers use their phones at the wheel, and 56% of them speed. Despite the laws against distracted driving, recklessness prevails.

WalletHub also rated Connecticut as the third worst driving state in America. Its drivers were ranked second-worst in the nation. Still, Connecticut has far fewer deaths from fatal accidents than most other states, says the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Minnesota Is One Of The Best Driving States

An aerial shows the Mississippi River Bridge in Minnesota.
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

In 2016, a Car Insurance Comparison study voted Minnesota as the best driving state–for the third year in a row. That state has the lowest amount of careless driving crashes and fatalities. The state also saw fewer bicyclists and pedestrians hurt from accidents.

That said, Minnesota drivers still go fast. Charles Zelle, a state Transportation Commissioner, said that the state’s roads and bridges are “in pretty good shape now.” Gas prices range wildly throughout the state, from $0.99 to $2.29 per gallon as of June 2020.

Rhode Islanders Should Clean Their Cars More

Cars drive through a neighborhood in Rhode Island.
Tim Graham/Getty Images
Tim Graham/Getty Images

The GMAC Insurance Group claims that Rhode Island hosts the country’s worst drivers. WalletHub backed this up, ranking Rhode Island low in traffic, infrastructure, vehicle access, and car washes. Yes, Rhode Islanders need to clean their cars more.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the state has more drunk driving incidents than most of America. It’s also the third-worst in drivers disobeying traffic laws by speeding, ignoring stop signs, etc. That said, Car Insurance Comparison argues that Rhode Island isn’t the worst in the country, but not the best, either.

Pay Attention To The Road In Kansas

A man digs through his car on the side of a snowy highway in Kansas.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Throughout driving studies, Kansas has consistently ranked low. Quote Wizard labeled Kansas as the 13th worst state, and Lets Talk declared that Kansas has the second-worst drivers. Specifically, the state sees more distracted driving accidents than most of America.

The state observes more deaths from fatal car crashes than most other states. If you’re planning a trip to Kansas, be careful while driving. Confusingly, other studies praise Kansas. WalletHub and Car Insurance Comparison both ranked Kansas fairly high. It has better traffic and infrastructure than most U.S. states.

Indiana Roads Are Great, But Residents Don’t Agree

A truck drives down a road in Indiana.
David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Indiana may not have the best drivers in the country, but it has its perks. WalletHub rated it as one of the best driving states overall. It has the fourth-best maintenance cost in America and the eighth-best road care.

Indiana residents may not agree with this rating. In 2019, people complained about potholes more in Indiana than in any other state. In 2019, a study found that Indiana has the third-worst roads in America. Despite the potholes, Indiana has few fatal accidents, with only 12.8 crashes per 100,000 people.

Good Luck Driving Through Texas

A traffic jam is seen in Houston, Texas.
MARK FELIX/AFP /AFP via Getty Images
MARK FELIX/AFP /AFP via Getty Images

Texas is number one–in lousy driving conditions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not list many positives of Texas driving. The state sees frequent cases of speeding, distracted driving, and DUIs. It has the third-highest amount of drunk driving accidents in the U.S.

On the bright side, Texas drivers get more car washes than every state except for California. Residents also have easy access to car maintenance most of the time. But when it comes to safety, Texans have some catching up to do.

Georgia Has Great Roads, But Not Drivers

Cars drive down a highway in Savannah, Georgia.
Paul Harris/Getty Images
Scott Cunninghaml/Getty Images

Drivers from Atlanta may be surprised by how high Georgia ranks. WalletHub placed Georgia as the seventh-best driving state in the U.S. The state’s best feature is its low auto maintenance costs, in which it ranked fifth. In 2019, Georgia hosted the country’s best roads, but this didn’t last through 2020.

Although Georgia offers great roads and driver support, its drivers don’t do so well. In 2019, a QuoteWizard study claimed that Georgia has some of the country’s worst drivers. During a WSB-TV news report, Georgia drivers blamed speeding, distracted driving, and heavy traffic for the ranking.

Missouri Is Safe And Cheap For Drivers

An aerial shows a highway in Missouri after rain.
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Missouri sees fewer accidents than many other states. “Missouri drivers have a lower rate of incidents,” says QuoteWizard research analyst Adam Johnson. Safety precautions have increased over the past three years. But when it comes to urban Missouri, Johnson explains that drivers are “in the middle.”

Missouri is also cheap to drive through. According to WalletHub, the state has the second-lowest gas prices in the nation. But not every study praises Missouri. SmartAsset claimed that Missouri has the third-worst drivers in America–tied with California. That’s not good!

Wyoming Has The Worst Driving Weather

A car drives through a storm.
Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

While Wyoming’s drivers do a great job, the state’s road conditions are disastrous, especially in the winter. According to a 2017 survey from SafeWise, Wyoming’s weather causes more fatal accidents than any other state. Most are snow-related.

247 Wall St has consistently voted Wyoming to be in the top five most dangerous driving states. The U.S. Department of Transportation states that Wyoming has 19.2 deaths per 100,000 drivers–which is exceptionally high. On the flip-side, WalletHub claims that Wyoming has the best traffic rates in the U.S.

Colorado Drives Have Gotten Worse

A jeep drives down a wet road in Colorado.
Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In recent years, Colorado has become worse and worse for drivers. In 2019, Car Insurance Comparison ranked Colorado as the sixth-worst state, a far drop from its number 15 rank the previous year. “Colorado dropped, [gotten] worse, in every category since last year’s study,” said Nelson Garcia, the study’s spokesperson.

WalletHub’s ranking agreed with Car Insurance Comparison. According to that survey, Colorado has high gas prices, few car shops, and average road conditions. On the bright side, the state has few car thefts compared to other areas of America.

Vermont Is Great Except For The Speeders

Cars drive down a street in Brattleboro, Vermont.
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Vermont ranked within the top ten states for driving in WalletHub. Overall, they were the ninth-best state for drivers in 2020, tied with South Dakota. They have the lowest rate of car theft in the U.S. and a lower crash rate than many states.

The downside? Vermont is filled with speeders. In 2019, QuoteWizard reported that Vermont has the highest speeders of any state and in Hawaii and Delaware. Despite the prevalence of fast drivers, Vermont had one of the lowest rates of speeding tickets in 2019.

Tennessee Has Great Deals But Terrible Drivers

Cars drive through the mountainsides in Tennessee.
Patrick Gorski/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Patrick Gorski/NurPhoto via Getty Images

When it comes to driving costs, Tennessee offers the best deals. WalletHub’s study showed that Tennessee has cheaper fuel and maintenance costs than most of the country. According to the Tennessee House Transportation Committee, the state consistently ranks high in road maintenance.

Despite its great costs and roads, Tennessee hosts some of the worst drivers in the U.S. During a 2019 study by SmartAsset, Tennessee tied with Alaska in having the worst drivers. The state had the highest rates of traffic tickets, speeding tickets, distracted driving, and driving under the influence. You can view the full SmartAsset report here.