Auto insurance

Washington among worst states to drive in

Wednesday, February 7, 2018by  Jon Osterberg

Car keys laid atop a road map of Washington and OregonThink of a state with bad traffic, and the East Coast region might come to mind, or California. But would you believe Washington ranks 2nd worst nationally?

It's true, according to WalletHub in a Jan. 24 article titled "2018's Best & Worst States to Drive In."

WalletHub compared all 50 states using four measurements: cost of ownership and maintenance, traffic and infrastructure, safety, and available services like gas stations, repair shops, and parking.

I was surprised by the worst state: Hawaii. But then I recalled my only visit to Oahu, when I found Honolulu to be as clogged as Los Angeles during rush hour. WalletHub's list, starting with the worst:

  1. Hawaii

  2. Washington

  3. Maryland

  4. California

  5. Connecticut

  6. Alaska

  7. Massachusetts

  8. Rhode Island

  9. New Jersey

  10. New York

In contrast, Oregon ranked near the opposite end of the chart, just six spots away from the best state to drive in – Texas.

Washington earned particularly bad scores for car thefts and (along with Oregon) high gas prices. On the good side, Oregon was the best state for low auto-maintenance costs.

And although California ranked poorly overall thanks to congestion, car theft, and gas prices, it earned the best scores nationally for most car washes, auto-repair shops, and fewest days with precipitation.

Traffic is relevant to insurance. Heavy congestion breeds frustration, aggressive driving, and crashes. Stop-and-go traffic cuts into a car's longevity, and clogged roadways hasten the deterioration of pavement, risking safety.

A straight, empty road stretches ahead through New MexicoDo you seek to drive on the least-congested rush-hour roads? Plan your move to Mississippi. If that's just too far, New Mexico is next on the empty-roads list.

Oh, and Washington and Oregon did not rank among the worst states for rainfall. We were swamped by New Hampshire, Hawaii, West Virginia, New York, and Alaska in that order.

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