Since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of Americans working from home has fallen sharply. Still, according to a recent report from Forbes, over 40% of full-time employees in the United States work from home at least some of the time. While not all occupations can accommodate remote work arrangements, the same report found that 98% of U.S. workforce wants to the option to work from home, at least part of the time.
Remote work offers several benefits, not the least of which is the elimination of a daily commute. Driving to and from work each day costs both time and money, and also exposes workers to the inherent risks associated with driving.
The typical commuter in the U.S. spends over four hours getting to and from work each week, and in some parts of the country, daily commuters lose over 40 hours due to traffic congestion every year. Additionally, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death in the United States, resulting in 42,795 fatalities in 2022, or about 117 each day, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The risks and drawbacks of the daily commute, specifically for drivers, vary across the country. Variables such as weather, unsafe driving habits, road conditions, and population density can make driving in some cities more dangerous and time consuming than in others. (These are the 32 U.S. cities with the worst traffic.)
24/7 Wall St. created an index of four key measures to identify the worst city to drive in each state. The four measures include the number of deadly auto accidents adjusted for population, average hours lost to traffic congestion per commuter, average overall commute time, and the motor vehicle theft rate. Each measure is for the latest year of available data. We ranked metro areas in each state by their combined index score.
The cities on this list only rank poorly relative to other cities in the state. As a result, some cities on this list still have relatively safe and uncongested roads. For example, of the four metro areas in Idaho, Boise ranks as the worst place to drive. However, the city’s average commute time of 22.7 minutes is about three minutes less than the average across the country, and the local fatal crash rate of 6.4 deadly accidents per 100,000 people is lower than in nearly 85% of all other U.S. metro areas. (Here is a look at the worst multi-vehicle collisions in the United States.)
It is important to note that most metro areas on this list have lower roadway fatality rates than the state as a whole. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the rate of traffic deaths per vehicle miles traveled is nearly twice as high in rural areas, and metropolitan areas are largely urban and suburban. Drivers in urban areas also tend to have better access to emergency medical services, are generally less likely to speed or be distracted, and are more likely to wear a seatbelt than rural drivers.
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