Trucks at Work

Road rage, the study

Most motorists are quite familiar with road rage – a term that apparently came into being back in 1987 in Los Angeles to describe a series of highway shootings. (Hey, isn’t California supposed to be the land of peace and love? But I digress …)

Truckers, sadly, are more familiar than most with road rage and its potentially deadly consequences – such as this incident two years ago that left a tractor-trailer operator with a bullet wound.

That’s what makes the 2015 Road Rage Report worth a read – a yearly analysis of driving etiquette commissioned by the travel booking site Expedia and conducted by market research firm GfK that polled 1,000 American drivers to rank “aggravating behaviors” by fellow motorists that could trigger road rage incidents.

For the second year running, Expedia’s poll found that "The Texter" generated the most fury, earning the scorn of 26% of Americans. "The Tailgater" (13%) ranked second, narrowly edging out "The Left Lane Hog" (12%), "The Crawler" (10%) and "The Multitasker" (7%).

In addition to evaluating the most deplorable driver behaviors, Expedia’s Sarah Waffle Gavin also noted that the survey determined that the least popular in-car behavior is “back-seat driving” – cited as the biggest pet peeve by 52% those polled.

The “Reluctant Co-Pilot”—the passenger who won’t help navigate—ranked second (12%), followed by the “Radio Hog” (10%), “The Snoozer” (8%), and “The Shoe Remover” (7% – blech!!!).

Other interesting findings Gavin highlighted include:

  • Some 51% of those polled reported that they loathe sharing the road with bad drivers – more than cyclists, buses, taxis, joggers, and walkers combined.
  • Nearly all respondents (97%) rate themselves as “careful” drivers, but feel that only 29% of drivers merit that same description.
  • Some 61% of respondents admitted to speeding, while 29% admitted to following other vehicles too closely.
  • About 26% of respondents said they have yelled or used profanity at another driver.
  • Another 17% of respondents said they have made a rude gesture, while 53% said they have been on the receiving end of one.
  • Here’s a scary statistic: some 4% of those surveyed said they have exited their vehicle to engage angrily with another motorist.
  • Another 13% of respondents have felt physically threatened by another driver.

Perhaps most alarmingly, according to Gavin – at least when considering current research on operating cell phones while driving – some 25% of all those polled admitted to “regularly or occasionally” talking on their mobile phone while driving.

She added that respondents offered multiple reasons for driving misbehaviors including running late and being provoked by other drivers.

Among major cities, New York City was cited as having the rudest drivers according to 42% of Americans, with 32% choosing Los Angeles, 18% singling out Chicago, while 16% said the same of Washington, D.C.

Only 1% of Americans felt that Portland, OR, drivers were the nation's rudest, Gavin said.

A few last yet interesting tidbits from Expedia’s 2015 Road Rage Report include:

  • 64% of Americans believe gas prices will rise this summer, versus 12% who believe they will fall.
  • Nearly 40% of Americans would refuse to drive in a country, such as England, where motorists use the opposite side of the road.
  • Some 32% of respondents said they typically still rely on written and/or printed directions when driving.

Things to keep in mind as the summer driving season is almost upon us all.

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