Charlie & Debbie

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When I was a teenager, we eagerly awaited getting that driver’s license.  My son marked the days with excitement.  And, believe me I praised the day it happened for him because it made my life easier.  He was his own taxi finally.  I do remember that North Carolina seemed to have some of the lengthiest, most involved processes in the nation for gaining the fully licensed status.  But, that changed with COVID.  During the pandemic a law passed shortening the wait time from permit to provisional license.  According to WSOC TV, the law that cut the time a new driver had to hold a permit before getting a limited provisional from 12 months to 6, expired in January.  And, this week the state Senate modified and extended that COVID law.   New North Carolina legislation allows teen drivers to get those provisional licenses quicker.

So, the proposal now goes to the House.  According to the WSOC report, the six month minimum agreed upon during the pandemic would be back in place for the rest of 2023.  Then, it would finally be set at nine months permanently.  Of course, drivers still have to go through the other steps, including the minimum 16 year age requirement, logging those driving hours and the dreaded road test.  It’s not that bad by the way.  Senators pointed out that these waiting times are similar to neighboring states Virginia and South Carolina.  Another change comes with the bill concerning additional passengers in the car.  I seem to remember there was a restriction on carrying an additional unrelated passenger under 21 who was not the accompanying ride along “supervisor.”  The new North Carolina legislation allows teen drivers one additional under 21 passenger for school travel.

North Carolina Isn't The Best State To Drive In, But It Is Ranked Pretty High

Everyone hates being stuck in traffic. It can make you late and is just downright annoying. And traffic seems to be getting worse on a daily basis. That and the fact that no one in Charlotte seems to be able to drive or abide by traffic laws. The sheer ignorance of not stopping for red lights or four-way stops, not going remotely close to the speed limit, and swerving in and out of traffic constantly is the norm it seems. If you’re offended by that statement, well you’re the problem. In my opinion, it’s a sign of pure entitlement. You and where you are headed are the only ones that are important. So as bad as it has gotten in North Carolina I was shocked to see this list of the best states to drive in.

It was compiled by our friends at WalletHub. They say that not only is traffic bad for your time and stress, but it can also be costly as well.  In fact, according to WalletHub, congestion cost the average U.S. driver $869 in wasted time during 2022. And the average person spent 51 hours spent sitting in traffic. But the conditions in which you are stuck in traffic can vary greatly by state. So, to identify the states with the most positive driving experiences, WalletHub compared all 50 states across 31 key indicators of a positive commute. The data set ranges from average gas prices to rush-hour traffic congestion to road quality.

According to their metrics, North Carolina was in the top 5 of the best states to drive in. I’d hate to drive in the worst ones! Keep reading to see the top 10 states and where North Carolina ranks. You can read the full WalletHub study here.

  • Top 10 Best States To Drive In

  • 10. Indiana


    Total Score: 59.04

    Cost of Ownership & Maintenance: 12

    Traffic & Infrastructure: 20

    Safety: 33

    Access to Vehicles & Maintenance: 17

  • 9. Kansas


    Total Score: 59.60

    Cost of Ownership & Maintenance: 13

    Traffic & Infrastructure: 5

    Safety: 40

    Access to Vehicles & Maintenance: 33

  • 8. Tennessee


    Total Score: 59.68

    Cost of Ownership & Maintenance: 1

    Traffic & Infrastructure: 27

    Safety: 42

    Access to Vehicles & Maintenance: 21

  • 7. Texas


    Total Score: 59.94

    Cost of Ownership & Maintenance: 20

    Traffic & Infrastructure: 40

    Safety: 14

    Access to Vehicles & Maintenance: 4

  • 6. Idaho


    Total Score: 60.51

    Cost of Ownership & Maintenance: 24

    Traffic & Infrastructure: 2

    Safety: 13

    Access to Vehicles & Maintenance: 42

  • 5. North Carolina

    Diverse Cities North Carolina

    Total Score: 60.65

    Cost of Ownership & Maintenance: 8

    Traffic & Infrastructure: 30

    Safety: 27

    Access to Vehicles & Maintenance: 10

  • 4. Oklahoma


    Total Score: 60.81

    Cost of Ownership & Maintenance: 15

    Traffic & Infrastructure: 8

    Safety: 30

    Access to Vehicles & Maintenance: 28

  • 3. Ohio


    Total Score: 61.38

    Cost of Ownership & Maintenance: 3

    Traffic & Infrastructure: 28

    Safety: 36

    Access to Vehicles & Maintenance: 7

  • 2. Georgia


    Total Score: 61.41

    Cost of Ownership & Maintenance: 2

    Traffic & Infrastructure: 32

    Safety: 29

    Access to Vehicles & Maintenance: 9

  • 1. Iowa


    Total Score: 62.61

    Cost of Ownership & Maintenance: 7

    Traffic & Infrastructure: 9

    Safety: 35

    Access to Vehicles & Maintenance: 19