When it comes to the daily reality of driving on the nation’s roadways, statistics are one thing, but actually putting up with the sheer amount of cracks, delaminations, and potholes is something you can only truly measure by feedback from your fellow drivers. A recent summary report from national transportation research nonprofit TRIP found that 40% of U.S. roadways—encompassing highways, arterials, and local roads—are in poor or mediocre condition, and the result of this is an average cost to the single driver of $621 per year for vehicle repair and maintenance. When you consider the total number of drivers in the United States, that few hundred dollars per driver tallies up to $141 billion overall.
While this is a staggering figure, it doesn’t really punch its weight in terms of how degraded roadways affect the average person. Funnily enough, you’d have better luck going to social media for such a glimpse at the raw frustration and inconvenience the common pothole can cause. As such, Stacker took a look at data from The Clunker Junker to rank every state according to how many pothole complaints are registered on Twitter per 1000 km, or 621 miles, of road.
Keep reading to see how your state stacks up according to the complaints of their own drivers or read the national story here.
Rhode Island by the numbers
– Pothole complaints: 23.4 for every 1,000 km of road
Rhode Island has a lot to recommend it, but when it comes to potholes, the smallest geographic state takes the bituminous taco. One state senator likened driving around potholes to “playing MarioKart with an actual risk of crashing.” And residents feel the same way, with one referring to Rhode Island by the moniker “the Pothole State.” The Providence Journal recently tallied 13,000 potholes on just 17 roads since 2021.
Potholes are not just the curse of states that lay down a lot of salt in winter—which causes breaks or delaminations in the road surface—nor are they merely the bane of the drier regions, where the sun hits the asphalt with relentless, year-round force. They are a ubiquitous occurrence nationwide. Potholes are actually caused, for the most part, by the conflation of water absorption, freeze-thaw cycles, heat, and good old wear and tear, which makes every city, county, and state in America ripe for their development.
Check out which states had the most and least pothole complaints below.
States with the most pothole complaints
#1. Rhode Island: 23.4 complaints for every 1,000 km of road
#2. Hawaii: 20.6 complaints for every 1,000 km of road
#3. New York: 20.5 complaints for every 1,000 km of road
#4. Massachusetts: 18.7 complaints for every 1,000 km of road
#5. California: 18.4 complaints for every 1,000 km of road
States with the least pothole complaints
#1. Idaho: 0.4 complaints for every 1,000 km of road
#2. Wyoming: 0.6 complaints for every 1,000 km of road
#3. Montana (tie): 0.8 complaints for every 1,000 km of road
#3. New Mexico (tie): 0.8 complaints for every 1,000 km of road
#4. South Dakota: 1 complaint for every 1,000 km of road
#5. Iowa: 1.1 complaints for every 1,000 km of road