As the days get longer and school winds down, I can’t help but think about road trips. Our Expedia Viewfinder team got a head-start on the season by road-tripping Glacier Country, Montana, over the past week. During Memorial Day, which comes later this month, more than 30 million Americans are expected to hit the roads as well.
All this drive time means Americans—and visitors to our great country!—are set to spend hours behind the wheel. Because we at Expedia love data, we figured we’d take a look at what people think about the behaviors they encounter on the road.
Enter our annual Road Rage Report, an annual analysis of driving etiquette. The study, now in its third year, was commissioned by Expedia and conducted by GfK, an independent global market research company. As part of the research, GfK asked more than 1,000 adult American drivers to articulate their opinions of fellow motorists, including which behaviors infuriate them the most.
The results were entertaining to say the least.
The most irritating behaviors
For starters, with 22 percent of the vote, survey respondents named “The Texter” as the most aggravating driver on the road. “The Tailgater,” that person who drives way too close to our rear bumpers, came in second at 14 percent, and “The Last-Minute Line-Cutter” finished third at 13 percent.
“The Left-Lane Hog” and “The Crawler” rounded out the bottom five of the ranking this year.
Other notables on the list: “The Swerver” (8 percent), “The Honker” (3 percent), and “The Red-Light Racer” (1 percent).
Survey results also indicated that the most common motorist misbehavior is weaving in and out of traffic, which has been witnessed by 80 percent of respondents. The second most common offense is “dangerous speeding” (77 percent), followed by “multitasking” (76 percent), being “cut off” (73 percent), and “aggressive tailgating” (68 percent).
Personally, I feel like I witness other drivers texting while driving more than anything else, but—surprisingly, IMHO—the data did not support this claim.
Rudeness by region
Our survey also looked at data by region, and findings here probably won’t surprise you too much.
A whopping 43 percent of survey respondents said drivers in New York City exhibit the “worst road rage,” making it the least courteous driving city in America. Los Angeles came in second on our “Rudeness Rankings,” cited by 30 percent of survey respondents. Holding steady at No. 3: Chicago, which 16 percent of respondents tabbed as the worst.
Of the 25 American cities listed in the study, Portland, Oregon, was deemed most courteous, cited by only 1 percent of respondents. The second most courteous city was Minneapolis/St. Paul, at 2 percent.
Also on the subject of rudeness, an overwhelming number of drivers—48 percent of respondents—still report receiving the middle finger while on the road. About 35 percent of our survey respondents said they have been the subjects of yelling or cursing, while 13 percent said they have been accosted by a driver who exited his or her vehicle to do so.
An alarming 9 percent of survey respondents said have gotten into a physical altercation with another driver. People! Calm the heck down! As one of my fellow Expedia Viewfinders likes to say: We are all Earthlings!
Viewfinder Tip: Treat others on the road as you would like them to treat you. (It isn’t rocket science!)
Because we’re awesome, our 2016 Road Rage Report even took a look at the most offensive behaviors AMONG PASSENGERS IN OUR OWN CARS. On this point, more than 61 percent of survey respondents cited backseat driving as the “most offensive” behavior their co-passengers exhibit, followed by the passengers who won’t help navigate, or “reluctant co-pilots” (11 percent) and “the radio hog” (9 percent). “The snoozer” was cited by 6 percent of survey respondents as an offensive co-passenger, and 5 percent called out “The shoeless.”
Some other interesting data points:
- 73 percent of survey respondents believe gas prices will rise this summer, versus 8 percent who believe they will fall.
- 80 percent of respondents said price is the most important feature in selecting a rental car (followed by car type, which came in at 14 percent).
- 42 percent of respondents said they have stopped to help a driver in distress.
- 13 percent of respondents said resent having to share the road with bicycles.
You can read a press release about our Expedia 2016 Road Rage Report here.
The bottom line: Whether or not we choose to admit it, we all have strong opinions about the way others behave on the road. As you’re out and about on road trips this summer, take a minute to ask yourself if you’re doing anything offensive. Being even slightly more considerate will make the highways a safer and friendlier place to be.
What do you consider to be the most irritating trait of other drivers on the road today?