What state has the best roads?

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Jeffrey Johnson graduated summa cum laude from the University of Baltimore School of Law and has worked in legal offices and nonprofits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman University and worked in film, education, and publishing. His professional writing has appeared on sites like The Manifest and Vice, and he is the author of a novel ...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: May 20, 2022

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Key Takeaways

  • A 2021 Consumer Affairs study reveals that Kansas and Alabama contain the best roads, whereas Rhode Island has the worst
  • North Dakota residents assessed their roads with the highest rating
  • Road conditions likely do not factor into your auto insurance rates

Which state in the United States has the best roads, and which state contains the worst roads?

It can be hard to determine which state has the best roads in the United States because various sources use different metrics. Some lists compare state road conditions based on public opinion and commute times. Other lists will use aggregate data regarding road conditions.

When weighing this topic, we should consider all those factors and more. Also, we should inquire about how road conditions can affect car insurance rates. Can you obtain cheap car insurance in a state with poor road conditions?

Read on to learn more about which state has the best roads in the United States and the data you can use to compare state roads and infrastructure. And if you want to see rates from top car insurance companies in your area, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool above.

Which state has the best roads in the United States?

How can you determine if a state’s roads are in good condition?

Previously, we mentioned the top 10 states with the best roads in the U.S., and Kansas topped the list. Here’s the list again:

  1. Kansas
  2. Alabama
  3. North Dakota
  4. Kentucky
  5. Florida
  6. Idaho
  7. New Hampshire
  8. Georgia
  9. Nevada
  10. Vermont

The rankings derive from a 2021 Consumer Affairs study. In the past five to six years, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming have garnered high rankings as well.

How do many studies create their rankings? In most cases, classifications rely on professional analyses of roads and bridges. The Consumer Affairs piece examined the following:

  • Resident ratings
  • The roughness of rural and urban turnpikes
  • State spending per capita

But is that all we should use to compare state road conditions? Let’s delve deeper into the areas we should measure to determine which states have the best and worst roads in America.

Roughness of Roads

In our review of states with the best roads, we shared data from Consumer Affairs.

Worst Road Condition Ranks by State
RankWorst roadsAverage resident rating*Poor pavement roughness (rural)**Poor pavement roughness (urban)**
1Rhode Island6.526%42%
2Hawaii7.3324%32%
3Wisconsin5.676%29%
4California6.664%39%
5Massachusetts5.178%31%
6South Dakota24%15%
7New Jersey4.8310%31%
8Louisiana5.67%24%
9Michigan3.893%25%
10New York5.855%30%
11Washington5.735%23%
12Nebraska6.54%34%
13Illinois6.36%21%
14South Carolina44%12%
15Pennsylvania5.614%21%
16Oklahoma4.256%12%
17Texas5.662%19%
18Colorado6.655%18%
19Maine4.759%16%
20Montana4.673%16%
21Connecticut76%15%
22Iowa85%19%
23Virginia5.911%13%
24Mississippi5.293%16%
25Ohio5.062%17%
26Wyoming42%13%
27New Mexico4.53%14%
28West Virginia6.58%12%
29Maryland5.583%20%
30Arkansas7.374%13%
31Oregon72%14%
32Indiana6.53%8%
33Minnesota5.54%8%
34North Carolina5.692%9%
35Delaware6.881%11%
36Missouri5.161%10%
37Alaska8.6115%8%
38Arizona7.814%12%
39Tennessee52%9%
40Utah6.672%6%
41Vermont4.52%7%
42Nevada5.670%8%
43Georgia5.811%5%
44New Hampshire64%10%
45Idaho7.442%11%
46Florida5.731%5%
47Kentucky7.452%8%
48North Dakota102%16%
49Alabama6.282%7%
50Kansas8.31%9%
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As you can see, Rhode Island has the worst overall road conditions since it leads all states in the roughness index on two fronts. New York rounds out the list of the top 10 states with the worst roads, and Montana is one of the 20 states with the worst roads.

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Fatal Accidents and Injuries Due to Road Conditions

Most car accidents may happen as a result of driving behaviors, but a road’s condition is still a factor. According to the National Institutes of Health, at least 1.3% of fatal crashes occur due to poor road conditions.

Also, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more fatal accidents occur on rural roads:

“While one-fifth of Americans live in rural areas, rural America’s traffic fatalities are disproportionately high, totaling   46% of fatalities in 2018. Further, of the nation’s bridges that are posted for weight limits, 90% are in rural areas.”

Over 70% of the “road miles” in the United States derive from rural areas. And more one-car accidents tend to occur in rural areas, thus presenting a challenge for anyone who wants to increase road safety.

Roads Per Square Mile/Per Capita

What state has the most roads per square mile? Texas has the most roads per capita and, therefore, the most road miles in the United States. And according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, approximately 78% of Texas’ road miles are acceptable for drivers to use.

State Expenditures

Of course, we should examine how much states spend on their roads per capita and compare that to the amount that states spend on roads. And we can match that against the number of turnpikes and road miles that states contain.

How much is your state spending on highways?

State and Local Expenditures on Highways Per Capita (2004-2019)

StateSpending Per Capita
Alabama$581
Alaska$1,785
Arizona$384
Arkansas$558
California$490
Colorado$568
Connecticut$588
Delaware$836
District of Columbia$863
Florida$565
Georgia$420
Hawaii$586
Idaho$642
Illinois$591
Indiana$488
Iowa$931
Kansas$586
Kentucky$503
Louisiana$478
Maine$682
Maryland$617
Massachusetts$470
Michigan$528
Minnesota$894
Mississippi$585
Missouri$422
Montana$900
Nebraska$901
Nevada$631
New Hampshire$569
New Jersey$574
New Mexico$481
New York$727
North Carolina$629
North Dakota$1,624
Ohio$518
Oklahoma$714
Oregon$549
Pennsylvania$879
Rhode Island$619
South Carolina$442
South Dakota$1,110
Tennessee$398
Texas$836
Utah$679
Vermont$1,038
Virginia$636
Washington$614
West Virginia$857
Wisconsin$814
Wyoming$1,152
National Average$617
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This data originates from the Tax Policy Center.

Driver Costs

Additionally, we should determine how road conditions cost drivers. Here is some information that we shared previously:

Driver's Road Repair Cost by State
RankStateCost per motorist
1Oklahoma$900
2California$862
3Rhode Island$823
4Mississippi$820
5New Mexico$768
6Hawaii$764
7Wisconsin$736
8West Virginia$723
9New Jersey$703
10Missouri$699
11Utah$694
12Texas$682
13Connecticut$676
14Michigan$645
15Washington$643
16Colorado$637
17Massachusetts$627
18Louisiana$624
19Pennsylvania$610
20Kansas$591
21Illinois$586
22Arizona$576
23South Dakota$563
24South Carolina$557
25Ohio$544
26Arkansas$543
27Minnesota$542
28Nevada$536
29Maine$529
30New Hampshire$525
31New York$509
32Alabama$506
33Delaware$486
34Indiana$480
35North Dakota$479
36Montana$472
37Nebraska$466
38Alaska$450
39Kentucky$434
40Virginia$430
41Idaho$427
42Vermont$418
43Iowa$362
44Maryland$356
45Wyoming$356
46Florida$351
47North Carolina$336
48Georgia$275
49Oregon$268
50Tennessee$194
-National U.S. Average$556
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Motorists help supply state revenue, thus adding to state budgets.

How can road conditions affect your car insurance rates?

While your location can impact your car insurance rates, car insurance companies will not factor in road conditions. The companies weigh risk on driver behaviors and trends, and people living in highly populated areas are more likely to become involved in car accidents.

However, if you have comprehensive car insurance coverage on your policy, you might have road condition coverage if your car takes on damage due to a pothole. But keep in mind that filing a claim might affect your future rates.

Beyond that, if you maintain a clean driving record, your rates will remain low. Also, you may earn car insurance discounts for good driving if your insurance company offers them.

Hopefully, this information about which state has the best roads is enlightening. And if you are ready to view rates from top companies in your area, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool below.

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