“No one here knows how to drive.” How many times have you said this, or something like it? It’s pretty common to think that the people around you are especially bad at driving, or that the roads around your home are especially treacherous. But is your area really that bad? And more importantly, what can you do to improve matters?

The Latest Rankings

A recent study from WalletHub ranked states from best to worst in terms of driving.

According to the study, the five worst states are as follows:

  • New Hampshire
  • California
  • Washington
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii

To arrive at this ranking, WalletHub looked at a few key factors, including safety, traffic, costs and access to vehicles and maintenance.

Regardless of where you live, you can take steps to make your personal driving experience as good as possible.

Avoid Traffic

Traffic is one of the biggest frustrations we face. If you find yourself wasting a good chunk of your life stuck in congestion, see if there’s any way to reduce your commute time.

  • Ask your employer about work-from-home options or flexible hours that can help you avoid rush hour.
  • Head to work before rush hour. Look for a way to enjoy the extra time, such as going to a coffee shop or gym near your workplace. Similarly, you can drive back home after rush hour.
  • Look for alternate routes with less congestion. This may save you time and irritation even if the total distance is a little greater.
  • Consider public transportation. You might not save time, but you can use your commute to read a book or do something else you couldn’t do while driving.

Keep Auto Repairs Under Control

Avoid expensive repairs by avoiding crashes:

  • Always drive sober.
  • Don’t drive distracted.
  • Follow the speed limit and other traffic laws.

If you need car maintenance or repairs, take steps to make sure you’re not overpaying.

  • Contact your insurer to see whether you have coverage for the repairs and, if so, how to get them done.
  • Check reviews and ask friends for recommendations.
  • Establish a good relationship with an auto shop you trust. Start with less expensive, routine maintenance before getting more expensive work done.

Avoid Tickets

Tickets aren’t just a one-time problem. They can lead to higher insurance costs. Save yourself some money by avoiding them.

  • Obey all traffic laws. You might think you’re saving a couple of seconds by trying to beat a red light, not coming to a complete stop at stop signs, or speeding, but you’re really setting yourself up for a ticket.
  • Keep up with changes in state laws. For example, many states have been passing anti-distracted driving laws. See the GHSA site for a breakdown of state laws.

Protect Your Car and Commute from the Elements

You can’t control the weather. Instead, you need to prepare for it.

  • Check the weather and avoid driving in dangerous conditions.
  • When road conditions are bad, slow down and leave plenty of space between your car and the next car.
  • Make sure your windshield wipers work and your tires are in good condition.
  • Try to park your car inside to protect it from the elements. Alternatively, use a cover.
  • Wash and wax your car regularly to protect the paint.

Prevent Car Theft

What’s worse than a bad commute? Having no commute – because your car was stolen. Take precautions to keep your car safe.

  • Try to park in areas with good lighting and security. If your home includes a garage, park your car inside.
  • Never leave your car unlocked or your windows open. Avoid leaving valuables or keys in plain sight.
  • Don’t leave your car running unattended, even if you’ll only be gone for a minute.
  • Use anti-theft devices such as car alarms, steering wheel locks and tracking systems.

Last but not least, always carry good auto insurance. Is it time to update your policy? Get an auto insurance quote from Jupiter here.