Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 85% of American workers drove to work on a daily basis. This commute, which for some takes the better part of an hour each way, can be stressful. The typical American commuter spends about 54 hours a year waiting in traffic, spending over $1,000 in wasted fuel and lost time, according to a recent report. And with tens of thousands of traffic fatalities in America each year, daily commutes can be dangerous.
While traffic problems can occur anywhere, there are certain major American cities where gridlock, accidents, long commutes, and high gas prices make driving especially frustrating.
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 driving 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.
The 50 worst cities to drive in are spread out among 16 states, with 31 located in the South, 18 in the West, and just one in the Midwest. California has by far the most cities on this list, at 11, followed by Texas with seven. Alabama and Florida are tied with five cities apiece.
In addition to paying for gas and insurance, drivers also have to handle repairs and routine maintenance. The roads these cars drive on also need routine maintenance, yet many major roads, highways, and bridges have fallen into disrepair across the country. This declining infrastructure can damage cars and even pose a threat to the safety of drivers and their passengers. These are the states that are falling apart.