Highways To Avoid – These Are the States With the Worst Roadways in the US

Driving into a pothole

Anyone who has driven down a local road with one too many potholes probably laments that their area or state has the worst roads in the country. It’s a common enough remark for many drivers, but it’s often little more than hyperbole.

However, for those interested in knowing which states have the worst roads, consumeraffairs.com went ahead and compiled a list. Their rankings are based on each state’s safety budget, pavement roughness, and highway maintenance.

The Worst Roadways in the United States

While it may be known as “America’s Dairyland,” Wisconsin’s roads are not on par with its cheese – over 33 percent of their roadways that were surveyed by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) were rated as “fair or below.”

It’s estimated that Wisconsin drivers spend over $700 a year on maintenance related to vehicle wear and tear from poorly maintained roadways.

One citizen of the Badger State even remarked that “roads are constantly patched, and the patches last about a week at best.” According to the ASCE, the state’s pavement roughness is “hard on vehicles,” with almost 30 percent of urban roadways being in “poor condition.”

Next up, this state’s moniker may be golden – but its roadways most certainly are not; in fact – California’s roads more closely resemble the “fool’s gold” that so many came across during the state’s famed gold rush.

The ASCE says over half of California's most used roadways are in “poor or mediocre condition.” Not helping this situation is how old the majority of the Golden State’s infrastructure is, with almost 60 percent of the state’s bridges eclipsing the half-century mark. In short, A LOT of replacements and repairs need to happen soon.

Its urban roadways don’t fare much better, with 44 percent ranking as “poor” condition for overall pavement roughness. Californians spend over $800 annually to remedy vehicle wear and tear from poor road conditions. (As someone who used to drive for Uber in the Bay Area, I can attest to the accuracy of those numbers.)

The Pelican State, while known for lively things like jazz music and Mardi Gras, also has the unfortunate distinction of having significantly higher rates of road fatalities than the rest of the country.

Roughly 25 percent of Louisiana's roadways are deemed in “poor condition,” with some of the state’s residents even describing them as “horrific.” With over 61,000 miles of public roads – Louisiana has a lot of rough pavement. On the bright side, Baton Rouge was deemed the “fifth safest driving city in America,” according to insurance statistics, so it’s not all bad news for the crawdad capital of the world.

Now, the state with the worst roads in the nation, according to consumeraffairs.com, is none other than Hawaii.

Almost 70 percent of their major roadways are deemed in “poor or mediocre” condition, causing Hawaiians to cumulatively spend a whopping $722 million a year on additional vehicle wear and tear costs.

One Hawaiian driver painted a particularly unpleasant picture of the situation when they described a street they frequently drive on as a place where “the asphalt forms mounds around the manhole covers that jar the vehicle terribly.” Talk about rough pavement.

Author: Jarret Hendrickson

Title: Writer

Expertise: Automotive Industry News, Film, Drama, and Creative Writing.


Jarret Hendrickson is a writer. He got his start when he was accepted into San Francisco State University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program in 2018. While earning his degree, his short plays, The Captain (2019) & Fight Night (2020), were performed at San Francisco State University's annual Fringe Festival. His feature-length play Bill & Jenna (2021) was selected for the 2020 Greenhouse Professional Play Development Workshop at Z Space in San Francisco. While studying dramatic writing and screenwriting, he concluded that Se7en is the perfect modern screenplay. He received his MFA in the fall of 2021. In addition to his interest in writing and movies, Jarret also has a long-standing interest in automotive news, which dates back to his picking up a copy of MotorTrend when he was ten. His interest in all things automotive really blossomed at age 15 when he test-drove the 1994 Volvo SE that would accompany him for the next decade. His ongoing interest in cars helped him secure his first freelance writing job when he was hired to cover automotive news for axeladdict.com, where over 1,000 of his articles were published. You can find him on X (the social media platform formally known as Twitter) @jarrethsfpa and on Linkedin. Jarret currently covers the daily ebb and flow of the automotive industry for Wealth of Geeks.