— If you've ever commuted during a snowstorm, you may have imagined being transported to a warm, dry state Wizard-of-Oz-style. Well, get your ruby slippers ready because a new study by WalletHub has revealed the best cities for drivers — and they're not in Kansas. In fact, they're all south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Researchers at the personal finance website ranked the 100 largest U.S. cities based on what it's like to drive in them, focusing on 25 factors across four categories: cost of vehicle ownership and maintenance, traffic and infrastructure quality, safety, and access to vehicles and maintenance.
Below are the top 10 best and worst cities for drivers:
10. Raleigh, N.C.
9. Scottsdale, Ariz.
8. Plano, Texas
7. Winston-Salem, N.C.
6. Laredo, Texas
5. El Paso, Texas
4. Mesa, Ariz.
3. Greensboro, N.C.
2. Gilbert, Ariz.
1. Corpus Christi, Texas
10. Los Angeles
4. Washington, D.C.
2. Oakland, Calif.
1. San Francisco
Known for nightmarish traffic and high gas prices, cities in California represented three of the 10 worst to drive in. The Midwest and Northeast also ranked poorly due to weather that causes headaches on the road, among other factors.
"Drivers annually spend an average of 200 hours on the road, plus another 41 hours in gridlock. For a full-time worker, that's the equivalent of a six-week vacation," WalletHub said in a statement. "Add the costs of wasted time and fuel due to traffic congestions, and our collective tab comes to about $124 billion annually, or $1,700 per household."
In addition to financial and traffic-related factors, researchers also considered safety factors like accident likelihood and car thefts per capita. Madison, Wis., had the lowest accident likelihood compared with the national average, and three cities — Boston, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore — tied for the greatest likelihood. Gilbert, Ariz., had the lowest car-theft rate while Milwaukee, San Bernardino, Calif., and Oakland, Calif., tied for the highest.
For more information on how your state stacks up, see the full study here.