Having a car inspires feelings of freedom and conjures images of the open road. But the reality of being an auto owner can be an entirely different experience. High gas prices, long commutes, and sometimes deadly accidents are daily concerns for drivers.

The drawbacks to car ownership and driving are far more pronounced in some parts of the country than in others. Just as gas prices vary by region, so does the likelihood of congestion, stolen vehicles, and accidents.

2. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
> Traffic fatalities: 6.1 deaths per 100,000 residents
> Avg. commute: 31.8 minutes
> Avg. vehicles per household: 1.0
> Avg. gas price: $2.85 per gallon

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin is one of the most populous metro areas in the country, which means many drivers are crowding the streets and highways each day. Drivers take an average of 31.8 minutes to get to work, the 10th longest commute among metro areas.

Those lengthy commutes, combined with the Windy City’s high gas prices, can really be a drain on drivers’ wallets. Gas costs an average of $2.85 per gallon in the Chicago metro area, the fifth most expensive price in the country.

24/7 Wall St. created an index from half a dozen driving-related measures to identify the worst cities to drive in. The index components were selected to capture an area’s safety, convenience, and cost of driving. While the metro areas on this list span the United States, a disproportionate share of the worst cities for drivers are in western states — California in particular.

Click here to see the worst cities to drive in.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.