America’s Worst Cities to Drive In

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The vast majority of American households own a car, and over 85% of American workers use a car to commute to work. While it is a practical necessity for millions of Americans, driving can also be a financial burden and a major cause of stress — as well as a dangerous activity.

On every road in the country, driving comes with a set of inherent risks and costs. Congested roads, high gas prices, and fatal collisions are but a few. In major cities, some of the risks are lessened, as slower speeds mean fewer fatalities, but the tradeoff may be more traffic congestion and higher vehicle theft rates. These are the cities where your car is most likely to be stolen.

While drivers accept these conditions, potential hazards, and costs when they get behind the wheel, not all cities are equally safe or congested, and some are certainly more expensive for drivers than others.

24/7 Wall St. created an index composed of several driving-related measures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Texas A&M’s Transportation Institute, and more, to identify the worst metropolitan statistical areas for drivers. The components of the index — which include average commute time, regional gas prices, drunk driving death rates, overall fatality rates, time and money lost due to congestion, and auto theft rates — were selected to capture an area’s safety, convenience, and cost of driving.

Many of the worst metropolitan areas to drive can be found in just a few states, notably California, where high gas prices and congestion make driving worse in many cities. In some other states, the metropolitan area that ranks the worst in our index compares favorably to the majority of cities in California. These are the worst cities to drive in every state.

Click here to see the 40 worst cities to drive
Click here to see our methodology