The 10 Worst U.S. Cities for Drivers

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Frustrated female driver stuck in traffic screaming and honking horn
metamorworks /

It seems unlikely anybody enjoys sitting in traffic, but some of us suffer much longer and more often than others.

Drivers in Chicago lost 104 hours sitting in 2021’s traffic jams, according to a recent report from delivery service Circuit.

But it’s not even the worst overall city for drivers, based on a combination of metrics including driving speeds, distracted driving deaths and frequency of traffic jams. Circuit used data from GPS maker TomTom, auto data service Inrix, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make its rankings.

Following is a quick look at the worst cities for drivers.

1. New York City

Luciano Mortula LGM /

Despite being a city where people famously avoid driving as much as possible, New York ranked as the worst for the number of traffic jams and level of congestion and the second-worst for both distracted-driving deaths and hours lost sitting in traffic. Residents there clearly have better reasons than parking to avoid the hassle.

2. Chicago

Chicago, Illinois
Page Light Studios /

As mentioned earlier, drivers in Chicago lose the most time per year to sitting in traffic. They also suffer from the highest number of distracted-driving deaths in the country.

Small comfort, perhaps, but its traffic jams are only the fifth-worst.

3. Miami

Miami Beach Ocean Drive at dusk
Tono Balaguer /

There’s a significant drop in awfulness between Chicago (with an overall score of 71.56) and Miami (57.32), but the Magic City has more traffic jams than the Windy City, taking the No. 3 spot for that ranking and overall.

Adding insult to injury, Miami drivers also pay more than most to sit in traffic. It’s near the top of “10 Places Where People Spend the Most on Transportation.”

Other cities

Traffic in Austin, Texas
Philip Lange /

Here are the rest of the worst cities for driving, according to Circuit:

  • Austin, Texas
  • Los Angeles
  • Boston
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Houston
  • Philadelphia
  • Atlanta

If you live in any of these cities, make sure your auto insurance is up to snuff — and not overpriced. Compare rates from more than 80 insurance providers at QuoteWizard.

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