The Golden State came in as the worst state for drivers for the fourth time in Bankrate’s 2021 analysis. In addition to being the eighth most expensive state for car insurance and the most expensive state for gas and repairs, California also has the most DUI arrests of any state per year, at 120,262.
Louisiana took second place as worst state for drivers due to multiple factors including the country’s highest car insurance rates and a high fatality rate on state roadways, with 772 deaths in 2019 alone.
Other states that ranked among the top five worst for driving include Maryland, which ranked third, primarily due to high car insurance costs and poor road and bridge quality. It was followed by Rhode Island, which has the highest number of roads and bridges in disrepair, and residents spend more time in urbanized congestion than residents of 45 other states. Colorado took fifth place due to high gas prices and auto insurance costs, as well as poor road quality and a higher level of urbanized congestion than the national average.
The annual Bankrate Best State for Drivers Study is compiled using 16 measures related to driving quality, weather, safety, and cost. When assessing a state’s driving “safety,” Bankrate evaluates DUI arrests, traffic fatalities, seat belt non-use, chances of colliding with wildlife, and motor vehicle theft. The safety category counts as 25% of a states’ overall score.
In terms of overall driving experience, the study indicates that the Midwest is the best region for motorists.
For example, Ohio ranked as the best state for drivers, with an average percentage of traffic fatalities and a high level of seatbelt compliance. Add to this the fact that the Buckeye state is one of the most affordable places for drivers with the second-cheapest car insurance premiums in the U.S. and low cost for repairs.
Iowa came in second as best places to drive due to low costs and good driving quality, followed by Utah, which touts a strong safety record including relatively few traffic fatalities per year, and the state has the fewest bridges in poor condition.
Taking the fourth spot for best places to drive, Indiana ranks among the top best states for safety and cost. Finally, Idaho earned fifth place for best state to drive thanks to inexpensive auto insurance premiums. In addition, Idaho has the lowest percentage of roads in unacceptable condition, and residents spend the fewest hours in urbanized congestion than in any other state.