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Getting Away This Summer? Check Out the Best (and Worst) Cities for Driving

Ahh … summer. Time to soak in the seasonal riches of ice cream, blockbusters and trips to faraway vacation spots.

For those who won’t be jetting off to a faraway land or climbing aboard Amtrak, a road trip may be just the thing for a much-needed change of scenery.

Before you load up the minivan with coolers and beach umbrellas, you may want to check out the best places to get behind the wheel. Nothing puts a damper on a summer vacay like gridlock traffic.

Happy Driving

The research gurus at WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities with ample criteria for driver-friendliness. The takeaway? When it comes to the best cities for driving, don’t mess with Texas.

The Lone Star state racked up four of the top 10 spots, including the number one spot, which went to Corpus Christi. It nabbed high marks for safety, traffic, infrastructure and cost to own and maintain a car. The coastal city in South Texas is followed by Gilbert, AZ (#2), Greensboro, NC (#3), Mesa, AZ (#4) and El Paso, TX (#5).

Rounding out the top ten are Laredo, TX; Winston-Salem, NC; Plano, TX; Scottsdale, AZ; and Raleigh, NC.

Proceed With Caution

For those hoping to make the trek across the Golden Gate Bridge this summer, you better get prepared to drive defensively. San Francisco came in last place on WalletHub’s list. It got particularly low marks for cost of vehicle ownership, maintenance and safety.

The Northern California city isn’t alone. San Francisco is closely followed by its neighbor across the bay, Oakland, which came in 99th place. Detroit, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Boston, Honolulu, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Los Angeles round out the 10 worst cities for driving.

Costly Time

WalletHub also included staggering statistics about the amount of time we spend behind the wheel. Drivers annually spend an average of 200 hours on the road, plus another 41 hours in gridlock. For someone who works full-time, that’s the equivalent of a 6-week vacation. Add the costs of wasted time and fuel due to traffic snarls, and that totals about $124 billion annually, or $1,700 per household.

So when you head out this summer, maybe ditch the big cities and indulge in a trip to the southwest, and hit up the drive-through for your Tex-Mex fix.

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