The Best (and Worst) Road Conditions in the U.S.
We will rank the top 5 best and worst states with excellent (and dangerous) road conditions.
We’ll discuss staying safe on poor road conditions, how potholes and other common road hazards can affect your car, and what kinds of auto insurance provide the best coverage for roadway-related damages.
Best Auto Insurance for Roadway-Related Damage
Allstate has a unique roadside assistance program called Good Hands Rescue. This app provides pay-per-use roadside assistance. Anyone can use their service — not just people who have a contract with them.
Geico usually has the cheapest insurance nationwide and an option to purchase a policy at any point — day or night. They are a good option for the military or retired military for both cost benefits and discounts. Their online quoting tool is very comprehensive and extensive as well, which is a plus when you are shopping around and trying to choose roadside assistance.
State Farm has free accident forgiveness for members. They offer you up to 40 percent off on your coverage if your vehicle was made after 1994 and has the right safety features on it. They also include insurance policies for motorcycles, off-road vehicles, and snowmobiles.
Progressive is known for providing cheap car insurance and affordable quotes. Their online tool is very comprehensive. It offers you various ways to get quotes, like naming your price or entering your current coverage level, and it can notify you if the coverage plan you are looking at online doesn’t make sense for your older car.
Liberty Mutual offers numerous coverage options that give them a leg up over other insurance companies. They are also willing to write policies for drivers considered high risk. Their policies last 12 months instead of six, which reduces the chances of rate increases.
Farmers has offices all over the country, which makes signing up for coverage a more personal experience for some. They are able to provide specialty auto insurance for unique and antique cars as well. They offer several services outside of auto insurance, including a rewards Visa card and a car shopping service.
Worst Road Conditions to Drive In
Heavy rain minimizes your visibility drastically while on the road, and it makes the roads slick and your brakes less likely to respond when you go to use them. Should water be on the ground and you go over it too fast, you may end up hydroplaning. As such, it’s a dangerous condition to drive in for long periods, and you should avoid it if possible.
Blizzards can come on very suddenly, and the road and sky are usually hard to discern when driving in the middle of a blizzard. Add that the roads are slick, and it makes this an accident waiting to happen.
Getting stuck in a blizzard is also very dangerous because you don’t know when help can find you. Running your car may leave you without gas, but you need to run it a bit so you don't freeze. Either way, the situation is dangerous if you are not prepared.
Ice in any situation is very dangerous. It’s even worse, though, when it’s on black pavement and you can’t see it. Chances are if temperatures are below freezing, you should assume you may run into a patch of ice. And nothing is much worse than your wheels suddenly losing traction on the road and your car spinning out of control.
Heavy hail doesn’t only reduce visibility, but when the hail is large enough, it can do some serious damage to your car. You should drive in hail with the same caution that you would with snow and heavy rain. If at all possible, seek shelter quickly.
When there is a lot of traffic on the road, you are likely to run into more impatient people and accidents. Be cautious of road-rage drivers. Also, be sure to keep an eye all around you for people swerving in and out of traffic.
Potholes and Wheel Ruts
When roads are not very well maintained, you will run into potholes and wheel ruts. You then run the risk of accidentally running your car off the road or getting a flat tire.
When roads are especially bad, be sure to drive slowly and move around potholes when possible. You can report bad road conditions to the state, and if any damage is done to your car due to bad road conditions, you may be covered by your insurance. Just be sure to provide proof by taking photos.
How to Stay Safe on the Road
Always drive slowly when you are unsure of road conditions. Use your hazards if you have to warn cars behind you that you are going below the speed limit. Make sure to check the weather before you go on a trip or even when you head off to work in the morning, and be sure that you pack your car full of things you may need in an emergency, like chains and extra food and water.
States with the Best and Worst Roads
On average, these are the states with the worst and best roads to drive. We collected this data by looking at how well the states maintain the road, how often drivers run into severe road conditions, and how good or bad the traffic ranks in every state.
- South Carolina
- Rhode Island
Honorable mentions go to California, where their Central Valley has some of the worst roads in the United States.
- South Dakota
Be sure to check out the Million Dollar Highway, one of the most beautiful roads in America, if you’re looking to go on a road trip in the future.
To learn more about road conditions across the U.S., check out the study conducted by the ConsumerAffairs research team, here.
|Breanne Lingo writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, AutoInsuranceEZ.com. .