• Jun 16, 2009

Listen up, all you people in New York, Dallas, Detroit and Atlanta. Settle down. You, too, Minneapolis. There's no excuse for the kinds of things you're doing out there on the road. That's right, we saw you. Well, not us, but your fellow drivers who tattled on a new AutoVantage survey about road rage. Those were the five worst cities for road rage incidents this year, with respondents citing hot-tempered drivers and aggressive speeding and horn honking.

But wait – there are two sides to the road named rage. Something must have set off those finger-waving commuters. And that would have been all the other drivers out there who are talking on their phones, tailgating, eating, emailing and checking Autoblog on their netbooks and iPhones. Those people, the survey says, are the ones getting on the nerves of the short-fused.

So where can a mild-mannered driver go and cruise the roads in peace? AutoVantage's survey lists Portland, Oregon as the most courteous city with Cleveland, Baltimore, Sacramento and Pittsburgh following. While we're at it, we'd like to spotlight Baltimore as a shining example of how a city can make a road-rage u-turn. That city moved up from No. 4 on last year's least courteous list. Now why can't the rest of you behave as well?

Here's a few more interesting numbers the survey offers. St. Louis drivers, 92% of them, reported seeing someone talking on a mobile phone every day. It's also a city where you're more likely to see drivers eating in their cars. A majority of Minneapolis drivers surveyed said they witness tailgating every day, and that city's drivers also reported more incidences of red light running. In Miami, you're less likely to see drivers signaling lane changes but much more likely to get a text message from a fellow driver. Maybe they're just texting their intent to come into your lane. "Can U belev I jst got cutof??? Had 2 run light 2 catch up 2 him at 90mph!!!"

Ironically, 7% of the drivers surveyed said they reacted to displays of bad driving by calling the cops... on their mobile phones, we assume.

Check out the press release after the jump. But you might want to wait until you finish your drive home. It's kinda long.

AutoVantage Road Rage Survey Reveals Best, Worst Cities

NORWALK, Conn. - For the first time in four years, a new city claims the title as the worst in the U.S. for road rage.

New York has unseated Miami as the least courteous city, according to the fourth annual In the Driver's Seat Road Rage Survey, commissioned by AutoVantage, a leading national auto club. The Big Apple moved up from its No. 3 ranking last year to claim the distinction. Rounding out the five worst cities for road rage are Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Atlanta and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

The survey also named a new city as the most courteous. Portland, Ore., took the top spot, moving up from No. 2 last year. It was followed by Cleveland, Baltimore, Sacramento and Pittsburgh.

The In the Driver's Seat 2009 AutoVantage Road Rage Survey, released today, was conducted to determine the driving habits and attitudes of commuters across the country and to learn more about consumer views on the topic of road rage.

"At AutoVantage, we've made the drive easier every day by completing more than 1 million service calls for our customers, offering everything from 24-hour roadside assistance to towing to lockout service and more. This survey is another way we assist drivers by revealing the latest driving trends and attitudes to educate and influence safer - and perhaps more courteous - driving habits," said Brad Eggleston, vice president of AutoVantage.

The survey's best and worst cities are:

Least Courteous Cities (Worst Road Rage):

2009
  1. New York
  2. Dallas/Fort Worth
  3. Detroit
  4. Atlanta
  5. Minneapolis/St. Paul
2008
  1. Miami
  2. Boston
  3. New York
  4. Baltimore
  5. Washington, D.C.

Most Courteous Cities (Least Road Rage):

2009
  1. Portland, Ore.
  2. Cleveland
  3. Baltimore
  4. Sacramento
  5. Pittsburgh
2008
  1. Pittsburgh
  2. Portland, Ore.
  3. Seattle
  4. Minneapolis/St. Paul
  5. Cleveland


Other cities surveyed include Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, and Washington, D.C.

To boost safety awareness, this year's survey sought to define road rage in America. Responses overwhelmingly pointed to two important attributes:
  • Angry drivers, including drivers who overreact and lose their tempers
  • Aggressive driving, including cutting into lanes, tailgating, speeding and honking

When asked the major causes of road rage, the most frequent responses were:
  • Bad/careless driving, such as cutting others off, speeding, tailgating, talking on cell phones, making obscene gestures and not using proper signals
  • People who are angry, stressed, frustrated, tired or had a bad day
  • People being in a hurry, impatient or running late
  • Traffic problems, accidents, poor road conditions or construction
  • Inconsiderate, disrespectful, selfish drivers who think they own the road
Behaviors by other drivers that cause stress for commuters and can lead to road rage include:
  • Drivers who talk on their cell phones (84 percent see this every day)
  • Driving too fast (58 percent)
  • Tailgating (53 percent)
  • Drivers eating or drinking while driving (48 percent)
  • Texting or e-mailing while driving (37 percent)


Commuters also reported other drivers frequently:
  • Cutting over without notice (43 percent see this every day)
  • Doing other things - putting on makeup, shaving or reading behind the wheel (27 percent)
  • Slamming on the brakes (25 percent)
  • Running red lights (22 percent)


As a reaction to rude or bad driving by others, people surveyed admitted that they:
  • Honk their horn at the offending driver (43 percent admit doing this every month)
  • Curse at the other driver (36 percent)
  • Wave their fist or arms (13 percent)
  • Make an obscene gesture (10 percent)
  • Call the police to report the driver (7 percent)
  • Slam into the car in front of them (1 percent)


Other key findings of the study:
  • Younger drivers and those who have the longest commutes say they are most likely to talk on their cell phones and drive too fast on a daily basis.
  • Talking on cell phone. Eighty-four percent see this every day. St. Louis drivers led this category (92 percent), and Portland motorists see it the least (76 percent).
  • Driving too fast. Across the country, 58 percent see this aggressive behavior daily. San Diego and Houston drivers were most likely to observe speeding motorists (64 percent), while Cleveland, Denver and Portland drivers were least likely to see this every day (51 percent).
  • Tailgating. Fifty-three percent of motorists see this every day. Minneapolis drivers (65 percent) see this most often, and Pittsburgh drivers (43 percent) see this the least.
  • Eating and/or drinking. This common road rage trigger is observed by 48 percent of drivers daily. Motorists in St. Louis (61 percent) see this most every day, while only 34 percent of drivers in Pittsburgh observe it.
  • Cutting over without notice. Nationally, 43 percent of drivers see this every day, and motorists in Miami (54 percent) were the most likely to observe this behavior. Cleveland, Philadelphia and Portland drivers (29 percent) are least likely to see this daily.
  • Texting and/or e-mailing. These road rage inducers scored high with 37 percent of commuters observing this behavior every day. Drivers in Detroit and San Francisco see the most text-happy drivers (47 percent), while Baltimore and Sacramento see the least (28 percent).
  • Slamming on the brakes. Some 25 percent of drivers witness this daily, and those in Atlanta and San Diego (31 percent) are most likely to see this behavior every day. That's compared to only 19 percent in Boston.
  • Running red lights. Twenty-two percent said they see drivers every day who run red lights. Drivers in Minneapolis are the most likely to witness this behavior daily (34 percent), while Portland motorists (11 percent) were least likely to see this offense.
  • Multi-tasking. Overall, 27 percent said they see other drivers multi-tasking, like putting on makeup, shaving or reading, while driving. Miami (38 percent) emerged as the city where this is most likely to be seen, while Phoenix and Sacramento (19 percent) drivers were least likely to see it.


Survey Methodology
Prince Market Research, an independent marketing research company, was commissioned to conduct a nationally representative telephone study with consumers in 25 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. to learn more about consumer views on road rage. All telephone calls were conducted between Jan. 8 and March 24, 2009, during which period, a total of 2,518 interviews, lasting an average of six to eight minutes each, were completed. No incentive was offered and the sponsor of the research was not revealed. The margin of error is +/- 2 percent.


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  • 38 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Seriously road rage? hahahahah so stupid. If you live in New York then drive like New Yorker same like when you in Rome do what the Roman do. If not then you gonna be just a nuisance on the road.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Adam you make a great point. In the Edina area they've recently installed a group of round-abouts to ease traffic loads in a very busy mall area, and you'd think a naked Playboy model was standing in the middle. NO PROGRESS. Lights worked better!
      And the part about stopping in the on-ramp was priceless. Put a cloverleaf in front of a Minnesotan and watch the brake lights come on right when acceleration is needed. WORST. DRIVERS. EVER.
      I no longer fret about the left-lane-bandits because they'll never go away. I swear every one of 'em is laughing at me while they fatten up on donuts in the left-lane.
      • 5 Years Ago
      MD/metro DC drivers are crappy in general. It's a pretty well-known thing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Pittsburgh on the list of most courteous cities? Yeah right. You can't drive anywhere without being yelled at, cutoff, honked, etc. Tons of people on cell phones, eating, yelling at children, etc. Believe me, I see it everyday. Definitely a better place to drive than NYC or Chicago, but by no means a good place to drive.
      Arun s
      • 9 Months Ago
      Bad traffic systems foster bad drivers as well. Phoenix is a prime example of moron drivers. Hapless, clueless, rude and uncouth,idiotic people behind the wheel. Who put these humanoids in a vehicle anyway? Common courtesy is absent. Disconnected drivers or those pretending to be are a dime a dozen out there. The roadways are one place where total strangers cross paths regularly and extra caution needs to be exercised in interacting with each other. On the contrary they display behaviour that is imbecilic, pathetic and slovenly as they probably do at home with their so called families. Accidents, rubbernecking and construction/obstruction, speeding and road rage are part of the local driving vocabulary. If you enjoy driving this is not a place for you. You'll soon hate it and do it sparingly.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Drive on the craptacular roads in Michigan and you'll understand why people want to get OFF of them as fast as humanly possible regardless of who gets in the way.

      BTW, who cares if people get "cut off" or any other subjective point of view people see as trying to gauge the "Least Courteous Cities". How do those at the top of that list do in accidents? And people killed per xxx miles? And how long does it take on average to go 10 miles in any of them?

      Personally, wave your finger at me all you want, as long as I get there safe and fast.


      LOL.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This survey is BS. Seattle drivers blow. Everyone is sipping on their grande mochachino latte from Starbucks while talking/texting (yes texting I've seen it!!) on their cell phone and doing 55 in the left lane when the speed limit is 60. GET OFF THE PHONE you and your call are not that important; the call can wait until you're not driving.

      If you're going to drive slow because you think it's safer, even though you're causing a huge traffic jam and accidents behind you, then get the F out of the left lane d@ck. It's legal to turn right on red here but no one does it. Throw in a roundabout, there are a ton of them here, and people lose their F'ing minds. It rains every freaking day here but add in a litlle percipitation and I-5 turns into a parking lot. Really, really, you idiots can't handle a little rain, wtf. Don't even get me started on snow or ice- go slow and steer into the skid morons. No your awd suv will not make you superman on icy roads-- enjoy that guard rail.

      It's no surprise though because there are no drivers education programs. School districts are broke and don't offer the classes anymore. People are to cheap to pay for private classes and the drivers license testing here is a joke, so basically any jack@ss is allowed onto public roads with little to no training. I absolutely F'ing hate these people. Of course, according to this survey, in reality I'm probably the real @hole because I grew up and learned to drive in St. Louis. Go figure.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Pretty much sums it up. Driving in Seattle can be a very trying experience between the drivers and under-developed road network.

        I firmly believe that you could solve a majority of the "road rage" issues by strictly enforcing two rules - slower traffic keep left, and mandatory use of a hands-free mobile phone device while driving. Will it ever happen? Not holding my breath...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have lived in the NYC area, and for the last two years I have lived in Pittsburgh. To say Pittsburgh drivers are kinder than NY drivers is ludicrious. New York drivers would never do what Pittsburgh drivers do! I think they would be afraid to get killed for what Pittsburgh drivers do. Pittsburgh drivers think that the road is only for them. I never felt unsafe driving even in NYC. I feel unsafe regularly here.

      Maybe the problem is that this is done by survey and not by police statistics? Maybe the folks in NY dont lie like the Pittsburghers (and from what was said above, Baltimore folks)?

      (I don't know anything about Baltimore, but maybe lying would explain the above posts about Baltimore)
      • 5 Years Ago
      What??? Sacramento??? One of the Most Courteous Cities? No way! Definitely not Sacramento, CA that I know.
        • 5 Years Ago
        We ALL know that Amish country is CLEARLY the spot with the lowest amount of road rage! So this is totally skewed!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Baltimore? are they serious?

        wow, i guess we should just throw D.C. in the top 5 of the "safest cities to live" list, while we are at it.

        Considering Baltimore is in this spot, that totally voids the credibility of this.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well when compared to Socal its much better i drive through when i go to Davis and i am amazed how nice people are on the hwy, letting you merge, not following closely its simply amazing!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      i like the fact that 1% of drivers slam into the car in front of them...great
      • 5 Years Ago
      What a pointless survey.... I hope they didn't waste taxpayer money on this garbage.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You'll be fine in Detroit as long as you don't drive an import.
        • 5 Years Ago
        true, very true

        my friend drives a Mercedes CLK and every time it breaks down in the middle of the road (which is often) we get a long lecture from a random person about buying American.
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