Washington State Ranked Second-Worst State to Drive in Nation
According to a list published by financial website WalletHub.com on Wednesday, January 24, 2018; Washington ranked second-worst state to drive in the nation. Hawaii came is as the worst and Texas the best. Now, before we start blaming Canadians or people who don’t know how to use roundabouts or who camp in the left lane, this ranking is about a “positive commute.”
Breaking down the worst place to drive ranking
WalletHub data collectors ranked states from best to worst commute conditions. Each state was rated across four key dimensions: 1) Cost of Ownership & Maintenance, 2) Traffic & Infrastructure, 3) Safety and 4) Access to Vehicles & Maintenance. Within each key dimension, states were evaluated on 23 relevant metrics including road quality, rush-hour traffic congestion, car theft rate and the cost of vehicle ownership, maintenance and gas. Weather conditions were also tracked for their relevance to driving conditions.
With our second to last ranking, Washington State had an overall score of 44.08 on a 100 point scale. This compared to Texas at 63.68 which ranked as the best place to drive and Hawaii at 31.83 which ranked dead last.
Washington ranked well for access to vehicles and maintenance at 17 but we were rated 36th in safety and 39th in traffic and infrastructure. The high cost of gas, high car theft rates and the cost of ownership were the other culprits in the negative ranking. Washingtonians may be surprised to hear that we were not in the top 5 for most days of precipitation.
What could Washington State do to improve its driving rating?
Two of the metrics used to measure the safety dimension were traffic indiscipline (a multi-pronged metric that measured motor vehicle accidents caused by poor driver behavior: phone use, speeding, aggressive acceleration, harsh braking, and poor turning) and the state’s traffic fatality rate. With a safety ranking of 36 out of 50 states Washington State’s drivers could clearly stand to reduce distracted driving and aggressive driving habits. Washington State’s new distracted driving laws were put into place last year to incentive drivers to reduce distractions; it is too early to tell what effect the law is having. The state’s traffic fatality rate is tied to distracted driver behavior.
Traffic and infrastructure:
Four of the metrics used to measure the traffic and infrastructure dimension were share of rush-hour traffic congestion (the share of urban interstates experiencing congestion during peak hours), the average commute time by car, road quality and bridge quality. State investments to improve roads and bridges to meet modern safety standards and traffic loads could increase the traffic and infrastructure rating above 39 out of 50.
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