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A sampling of driver ratings

Special to the Union Leader

March 24. 2013 1:46AM

Drivers have a natural interest in local and state roads, but they also like to know what to expect when they head to other states. Insurance companies, news organizations and research groups have compiled lists of the best and worst U.S. roads and drivers, and New Hampshire is at the top, middle and bottom of those lists.

Men's Health magazine ranked drivers in 100 U.S. cities using information from the Governors Highway Safety Association, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Allstate Insurance. Traffic fatalities and fatal accidents caused by speeding were among the key factors that determined each city's rank. Des Moines, Iowa, was seen as having the best drivers; Columbia, S.C., scored the worst. Manchester ranked 45th in the worst-to-best lineup and received a C+ from the magazine.

Editors at The Daily Beast website announced in 2010 that they had figured out where the best and worst drivers lived. The Beast's survey looked at fatal crashes for 2009 and whether they were caused by alcohol, distracted driving or traffic law violators. It found that Connecticut was home to the country's best drivers, but New Hampshire wasn't far behind and was ranked fifth-safest place to drive in the country. The Beast's survey looked at fatal crashes for 2009 and whether they were caused by alcohol, distracted driving or traffic law violators. ranked Manchester among the 10 worst cities for drivers. The online marketplace took a statistical shotgun approach and added up everything it could find, from highway fatalities to auto thefts to vehicle vandalism in its ratings.

GMAC Insurance skips statistics and ranked states according to driver scores on a multiple-choice quiz on the basic rules of the road. In 2010, New Hampshire came in 43rd for its scores on a test that included a question on whether you should decrease speed and stop, or accelerate when you approach an intersection with a yellow light. However, in 2011, it came in 38th place.

As for New Hampshire's 17,000 miles of local and state roadways, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave them a grade of C.

And according to the Road Information Project, TRIP, a national transportation research group, 37 percent of New Hampshire's state roads, or 4,559 miles of highway, have pavement in poor condition. At the current level of funding, pavement will be a problem on 43 percent of state roads by 2016.

TRIP also surveyed rural roads throughout the country in 2008 and found 21 percent of the state's major rural roads were in poor condition what another 39 percent were rated fair or mediocre.

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