Thursday, October 14, 2010

California: The Worst Place To Drive ... Or Be A Driver?

The Good - California has some of the best drives available in the world. Image Credit:

California: The Worst Place To Drive ... Or Be A Driver?

Conclusions in a article from Forbes Magazine suggest that cheap gas and insurance make South Carolina the best and that California, with high costs and bad infrastructure, is the worst.

The Bad - City traffic and the politics ... California State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner is proposing legislation that would allow insurance companies to lower rates for drivers that cut back on drive time, which could come in effect as early as next year. Image Credit: Examiner/Getty Images

This excerpted and edited from Forbes Magazine -

The Best And Worst States For Drivers
No Surprise California sucks the most, (all you have to do to know that is to drive here).
Forbes Magazine - William P. Barrett, 10.08.10, 01:00 PM EDT

With its politicians hiking the Appalachian Trail or facing sex charges, South Carolina draws more than its share of bad publicity nationally. So here's some good news about South Carolina: By our reckoning, the heart of the Old South is the best state to drive in, by far. The country's lowest average gas price, plus cheap insurance, good legal protections and the sixth-best rating for infrastructure/safety, make the Palmetto State a dreamland for motorists.
Using the same measures, California is the worst state to be a driver--also by far. The Golden State has the third-lowest rating for infrastructure/safety, the third-highest gas prices and the fifth-highest insurance. Legal rights for drivers aren't so hot either. (Not to mention all drivers in CA think they all must drive in the left lane. (Jerry Brown is part of the reason for all this mess. Meg Whitman are you listening?)

Forbes put together its ratings of the best and worst states to drive using a number of published studies evaluating different elements of the driving experience. All the studies touched in major ways on pocketbook issues. Giving the studies equal weight, we used their 1-to-50 rankings to figure out which states were friendly to motorists, and which were not.
Here are the criteria Forbes used, and the sources:

Gas Prices

For many motorists, this is the single most important factor in the driving environment. Numerous sources provide regular updates on average fuel costs, which can vary among states by as much as 36%. We used data from South Carolina and New Jersey have the lowest average prices, and Hawaii and Alaska the highest.

Insurance Rates

According to, the average cost of coverage moves around even more than gas prices, with rates in some states nearly three times those of others. The cheapest are found in Maine and Vermont; the highest are in Louisiana and Michigan.


For 19 years the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank, has cranked out a lengthy study--the latest is 109 pages--assessing each state on road and bridge infrastructure and safety-related indicators. Obviously better roadways reduce a motorist's costs in all kinds of ways, such as fewer gas-wasting delays and costly accidents. The latest study puts North Dakota and Montana at the top, and Rhode Island and Alaska at the bottom.

Legal Protections

The National Motorists Association periodically rates the states on 17 criteria it says look at whether police and courts are "exploiting" motorists. Areas include enforcement practices, speed traps per capita, treatment of traffic ticket defendants and whether radar detectors are banned. The study concludes Wyoming and Idaho afford the most legal protections to motorists, and New Jersey and Ohio the least.

Eating South Carolina's dust on the best list are Nebraska and Missouri. Inhaling California's fumes on the worst list are Illinois and New York.
Generally the more populous states fare worse than those with low populations, but there are exceptions. Giant Texas ranks No. 6 on the best list, while tiny Rhode Island comes in No. 7 on the worst list.

Our compilations produced some surprising results. New Jersey misses being in the 10 worst list---it ranks 13th--only because the state's many oil refineries help give it the nation's second-lowest average gas prices. North Carolina, home of NASCAR, misses being in the 10 best list--it ranks 13th--because of a low score on legal protections.
Generally thought to be a good place for motorists, Montana lands right in the middle of the 50 states. High ratings for infrastructure/safety and legal protections are offset by low rankings for gas and insurance prices.
Worst 5 States For Drivers

No. 1 California Despite its reputation as a car-culture haven, the Golden State is by far the worst of the 50, with low rankings in each of the four categories. From highway congestion and poor legal protections to the high cost of gasoline and insurance, the nation's most populous state has it all. No. 2 Illinois The Land of Lincoln is also a Disaster for Drivers, garnering low marks, like California's, in all four categories. The lowest grade is in legal rights for motorists. No. 3 New York The Empire State fares a lot better than California and Illinois in insurance rates, which were pretty close to the national average. But that is more than canceled out by rock-bottom expenditures on road maintenance and sketchy legal motorist protections.
Reference Here>>

Editor's Note:

I don't live or Vote in California, but I do drive, and work in California. Also, I read the paper, and I pay attention to the Traffic laws (I didn't say I obeyed them all). I have also watched what was going on in California for the last 30 years while living in various States around the Country. I can say that while I don't know which politician can fix California, I can say for sure that Boxer and Brown cannot, will not, and do not have a clue how to fix it. These two politicians represent a couple of the main reasons California is so screwed up.

My position on the California Election is anybody "BUT" Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer. These two could be the reason California dies an awful death, and they for sure would add the last nails in the coffin before the state of California is buried once and for all.

Dicken Wear, "Keep Right Except To Pass".

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