Driving in Washington Still Terrible, According to Internet

Driving in Washington Still Terrible, According to Internet
Photograph by Flickr user Daniel Lobo.

Operating a motor vehicle in DC remains a truly awful experience, according to the latest internet ranking of cities by one of those websites that ranks cities along seemingly random metrics. Washington is the second-worst city for drivers, per WalletHub (which also determined recently that Washington is also a terrible place to raise your family).

Of the 100 largest US cities, WalletHub ranked the District in the bottom ten according to traffic and road conditions, safety, and “driver and car wellness.” The first two are mostly straightforward—the American Society of Civil Engineer’s 2013 Infrastructure Report Card found that 95 percent of DC’s major roads are in “poor” condition—but the last metric is a bit wonky, taking into account things like auto-repair shops, car washes, dealerships, and the frequency of car shows. In fact, Washington has the third-fewest number of repair shops per capita, ahead of just Boston and Laredo, Texas.

The District was also found to have the second-highest accident likelihood compared to the national average, a finding that largely matches up with data culled by Allstate. Washington was dead last when it comes to the average number of hours lost to traffic jams. WalletHub cites a report by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute that found the average DC driver loses 67 hours per year to road congestion.

This ranking is at least the second one this year to declare the District the second-worst big city for motorists, but it suggests that the internet is in disagreement with itself. Although WalletHub’s ranking cited many of the same data as one published in May by NerdWallet—another personal-finance website that sorts cities and states according to random qualities—it ranked New York as dead last. NerdWallet put only Boston behind Washington. The only thing that is clear is that even if Washington sucks for driving, it doesn’t suck the most.

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.