While driving down the New Jersey Turnpike, frustration on the road may lead you to exclaim, “New Jersey is the worst state to drive in!” According to a study by Wallethub, your statement would be wrong, but not by much. Based on the parameters considered in the study, New Jersey is the ninth worst state to drive in. Major factors examined include safety, cost of car ownership and maintenance, traffic and infrastructure, and access to vehicles and maintenance.
Traffic and Infrastructure
Unsurprisingly, the worst category for the Garden State was traffic and infrastructure. New Jersey ranked third to last in “percentage of rush hour traffic congestion.” Being the country’s most densely populated state certainly makes for some painful rush hour traffic. The potholes and never-ending highway construction accurately represent the condition of the state’s roads. Consequently, New Jersey ranked forty-eighth in the US for overall quality of traffic and infrastructure.
Safety and Access to Vehicles
What kept New Jersey from being at the very bottom of this list is its relatively high ranking in safety. New Jersey was ranked as the eighth safest state to drive in. Some of the things considered by Wallethub for safety were the number of people who wear a seatbelt, driving-laws, car theft, larceny rate and strictness of DUI punishment. Again, density certainly comes into play here. Since cars are driving closer together in Jersey, legislators have put safer traffic laws in place. Also, new drivers aren’t able to apply for a drivers license until age 17 compared to 16, and even 15 in other states. According to statistics from NHTSA, the younger a driver is, the more likely they are to be involved in a crash.
Access to Vehicles
For access to vehicles, they looked at the per capita numbers of car dealerships, auto-repair shops, gas stations and parking lots/garages. These businesses can be found in abundance in New Jersey, to account for its nearly nine million people. In a place where it feels like every block has a gas station and a car wash, this is a positive facet of everything being so close together. New Jersey was ranked twelfth in access to vehicles and maintenance.
Cost of Ownership and Maintenance
Due to New Jersey’s vibrant economy and its proximity to New York City, cars and car insurance are relatively expensive in NJ. These high prices land New Jersey at forty-fourth in the category. Other components examined as well included auto-maintenance costs and gas prices. While the overall cost of owning a car can start to add up, New Jersey also has strong public transportation. Through NJ transit, taking a train or bus around New Jersey, or into another state, is easily accessible almost anywhere which can eliminate the need to own a car.
Everyone thinks that their state is the worst to drive in. While WalletHub considered additional factors in their report, the characteristics presented in this article are simply the most direct and rankable traits comparable between states. With a multitude of factors considered, it’s clear that New Jersey isn’t one of the most desirable places to drive; but at least we’re one of the happiest states to live in!