Expedia 2015 Road Rage Report

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Digging deeper into drivers' pet peeves, habits behind the wheel

With Summer road trip season upon us, Expedia is partnering with Avis Car Rental and Budget Rent a Car to provide an exclusive discount for drivers. Now through June 30, Expedia customers can save up to 30% on Avis and 25% on Budget car rentals booked through Expedia.com, making it even easier for you to hit the road – just remember to behave!

If you spend any time behind the wheel of a car, you probably know them well—those drivers who clog up your favorite roads, staring down into their Smartphones all the while. With Memorial Day weekend just around the corner – and 15 percent of Americans traveling more than they did last year – these drivers can be super-annoying and the difference between us getting to our destination quickly and calmly.

What’s more, these moving roadblocks rank as the most hated drivers on the road—at least according to our Expedia 2015 Road Rage Report, which was released today.

The study is our yearly analysis of driving etiquette—a fun way to kick off the summer road trip season. Data from this year’s effort indicated that “The Texter” generates the most fury among pre-established categories of American drivers, earning scorn of 26 percent of 1,000 respondents.

Rounding out the top five, “The Tailgater” (13 percent) ranked second, narrowly edging out “The Left Lane Hog” (12 percent), “The Crawler” (10 percent), and one of my least favorites “The Multitasker (7 percent).

Data from the Expedia 2015 Road Rage Report is particularly relevant this year, as we celebrate the fact that drivers now can book rental cars through Expedia’s updated mobile app. This report is our way to understand road travelers a bit more and examine what sorts of road behavior make car travel more pleasurable, and what sorts of behavior should be avoided. In short, the study demonstrates that travelers, whether they’re on the road or in the air, expect and reward courtesy and respect from their fellow travelers.

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Our analysis of acceptable road behaviors was as broad as it was wide.

In addition to evaluating the most deplorable driver behaviors, the report also found that the least popular in-car behavior is “back-seat driving,” cited as the biggest pet peeve by 52 percent of survey respondents.

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

Some other interesting findings:

  • 51 percent of respondents reported that they loathe sharing the road with bad drivers, more than cyclists, buses, taxis, joggers, and walkers combined.
  • Nearly all respondents (97 percent) rate themselves as “careful” drivers, but feel that only 29 percent of drivers merit that same description.
  • 61 percent of respondents admitted to speeding, while 29 percent admitted to following other vehicles too closely (ahem, we’re looking at you, Tailgaters).

And in the spirit of true road rage, our Road Rage Report showed us that at least half of American drivers out there need to calm down:

  • 26 percent of respondents said they have yelled or used profanity at another driver.
  • 17 percent of respondents said they have made a rude gesture, while 53 percent of respondents said they have been on the receiving end of one.
  • 4 percent of respondents said they have exited their vehicle to engage angrily with another motorist.
  • 13 percent of respondents have felt physically threatened by another driver.

Perhaps most alarmingly—at least when considering current research on operating cell phones while driving—25 percent of all respondents admitted to “regularly or occasionally” talking on their mobile phone while driving.

Respondents offered multiple reasons for driving misbehaviors including running late and being provoked by other drivers. Rudeness behind the wheel also can be attributed in part to where people drive—the Expedia 2015 Road Rage Report indicated that New York City (42 percent) and Los Angeles (32 percent) topping the list. 

This year we also took a look at the use of mobile technology. No one should be using his or her mobile phone while driving, but instead should pull over or ask a passenger to help out. Still, mobile technology can be super helpful when hitting the road! One out of four survey respondents has downloaded an app to assist with driving, with the most prominent being map apps (83 percent of survey respondents use these).

Additionally, we also found that 38 percent of respondents have downloaded app to listen to music, 35 percent have downloaded an app to  find a restaurant, 28 percent have downloaded an app to find a gas station, and 16 percent have downloaded an app to find a hotel at their final destination.

Interestingly—at least to me who lives and works in a tech-heavy environment —32 percent of respondents said they typically still rely on written and/or printed directions when driving.

Finally, results from the Expedia 2015 Road Rage Report captured a number of gas price predictions and attitudes toward rental cars. Most important: 64 percent of respondents said they believe gas prices will rise this summer, versus only 12 percent who said they believe gas prices will fall.

I know, I know—I’ve just thrown a ton of numbers at you and there are even more in the survey! The bottom line: Memorial Day is the kick-off to summertime road-trips, and it’s important to be mindful of others when you hit the road. Before you reach for that cell phone in the HOV lane or make that non-ladylike gesture to the minivan that just cut you off, think about how your actions might impact others around you. And if you’re thinking going rogue in a rental, remember: the law is the law, no matter whose wheels you’ve got.

Expedia compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site, such compensation may include travel and other costs.

Sarah Waffle Gavin

Sarah Gavin is Expedia’s Vice President of Global Communications, overseeing a team around the world that focus on telling travel’s great stories. Her passion lies in bringing people together through the shared experiences and mind-broadening phenomenon of travel – while revealing all the tips and tricks to getting the best value on vacation. Part foodie, part tech geek, part mom, part traveler, Sarah loves a mini staycation with her husband, as much as a power shop through New York. Her family trips are treasured above all else, and when she's not sitting poolside in Mexico with the kids, she hangs her hat in the burbs of Seattle, Washington at the intersection of travel, technology, and motherhood.

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