Avoid driving in these cities if you can

  • Some cities are better for driving than others — and that largely has to do with traffic and even gas prices, according to a recent study by Waze.
  • The navigation software company determined which cities are the best and worst for driver's satisfaction.
  • Greensboro, North Carolina, took the top spot, while Honolulu and cities in California's Bay Area came in last.
Steering wheel, driving
Katja Kircher | Getty Images

Some cities are better for driving than others — and traffic isn't the only metric that matters.

Potholes, gas prices and other factors play a role in driver satisfaction, according to a recent study from Waze. The navigation software company used data based on its millions of users, known as "Wazers," in more than 60 metros across the United States. Cities were scored on criteria including density and severity of traffic, road quality and infrastructure and access to gas stations and easy parking.

Waze's top-ranked locations were:

1. Greensboro, North Carolina
2. Lexington, Kentucky
3. Dayton, Ohio
4. Macon, Georgia
5. Albany, New York

"Wazer" Dave Fortney, 53, commutes to and from work daily in Greensboro. He said the medium-sized metro's large variety of roads and freeways (which contributed to the city's highest "road quality" score) often mean there are multiple ways to get to a destination.

"You can almost always avoid the very worst of [traffic]," he said.

Waze found that drivers are most unsatisfied in Honolulu. The Hawaiian city ranked lowest for access to gas stations and parking, in addition to having relatively poor road quality and infrastructure.

San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco are also among the worst-rated metros.

Some snowy cities appeared among Waze's top-rated cities, while the bottom of the list contained mostly warmer areas. But Sheethal Shobowale, global head of business analytics at Waze, doesn't think weather plays much of a role in driver satisfaction.

"Regardless of weather, I think traffic is really the thing that affects them," she said, noting that California's Bay Area is notorious for heavy traffic.

Gas prices are another factor. Three of the top five states on Waze's list — Ohio, Georgia and North Carolina — also rank among those with the cheapest per-gallon prices for gas, according to Gasbuddy.com data. At $2.17 per gallon, Dayton, Ohio, has the sixth-lowest gas price of any U.S. city.

The Aloha State, home to lowest-ranking Honolulu, has the highest gas prices — a gallon in its capital will run you $3.11, GasBuddy.com found. California's Bay Area has not only horrific traffic, but also the third-highest gas prices.

Meanwhile, car insurance prices don't seem to be something consumers think about when it comes to driving satisfaction. Although two of Waze's top-ranked states (North Carolina and Ohio) have insurance prices more than $100 below the national average, prices in Georgia are over $100 above the mean, according to Insure.com.