PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Washington state is one of the worst states in the U.S. to drive in, according to a new report.
Traffic, road conditions and the cost of vehicle maintenance are all things that can make drivers grip the steering wheel a bit tighter. These conditions vary across states for a variety of reasons including population, weather and government investments.
Personal finance website WalletHub took a look at all 50 states to determine which are the best – and the worst – to drive in. Washington state landed second from last on the list.
To rank the states, WalletHub compared them across four key dimensions: 1. Cost of ownership and maintenance, 2. Traffic and infrastructure, 3. Safety and 4. Access to vehicles and maintenance.
Researchers then broke those dimensions down into 31 relevant metrics, including things like average gas prices, the share of rush-hour traffic congestion, number of days with precipitation, road quality, traffic fatality rate, car theft rate and auto-repair shops per capita.
Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the best for drivers. WalletHub determined each state’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score.
When the scores were determined, WalletHub’s report shows that Washington ranked 49th overall among 50 states, making it the second-worst state to drive in. The state ranked 47th among all states for its cost of vehicle ownership and maintenance and 39th among states for traffic and infrastructure.
Both scores contributed greatly to the state finishing so low on the list.
The only state worse to drive in than Washington, according to the report, is Hawaii.
Oregon was ranked in the middle at 24th.
According to WalletHub, these are the best states to drive in:
- North Carolina
WalletHub asked experts how states can reduce the number of traffic fatalities. Dr. Arman Sargolzaei, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Southern Florida said the vast majority of U.S. traffic accidents are entirely or partially due to human error.
“A shift in responsibilities from the human driver to self-driving cars can potentially reduce accidents,” he said.
Dr. Shannon Roberts, an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst also said the biggest risk for drivers continues to be not wearing a seat belt or being under the influence while driving.
“Whatever states can do to encourage seat belt usage and discourage driving after drinking/drug usage would help prevent traffic fatalities,” she said.