Houston Lays Claim to “Road Rage” Capital of US

Portland home to most courteous drivers in the country.

by on May.14, 2014

Houston is now home to the least courteous drivers in the U.S., according to a recent survey from AutoVantage.

Road ragers and their particular behaviors aren’t limited to one part of the United States, but the cities best-known for being vehicularly irate last year have made a concerted effort to clean up their act, according to a recent survey.

Houston displaced New York City as the city with the least courteous drivers in 2014, according to AutoVantage’s annual “Driver’s Seat Road Rage Survey.” In fact, only one city – Atlanta – that was in the top five last year, showed up in the top five in 2014. Atlanta was rated fourth in 2013 and moved up to second this year.

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Drivers in “Hotlanta” got the job done by being most likely to hit another vehicle on purpose as well as being home to the most speeders and tailgaters.

Houston was not in the top five last year, and moved up seven spots from the original survey in 2009. What catapulted “Space City” to “victory” this year? When compared to drivers in other cities, survey participants in Houston are:

  • Most likely to see another driver cutting them off and most likely to admit performing this behavior
  • Most Likely to see someone else someone else slam on their brakes
  • Most likely to admit talking on their phones while driving

The winner of the most courteous driver category was Portland for the second straight year. The rest of top five included Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco and Charlotte, North Carolina. Pittsburgh was the only other repeat on that list as it placed fifth last year.

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Portland kept the top spot among the most courteous because their drivers were:

  • Least likely to honk the horn at another driver
  • Least likely to have been speeding
  • Least likely to have seen other drivers cutting between lanes without warning

Perhaps the biggest mover on the survey was Baltimore, whose drivers apparently were unhappy with being perceived as too nice. The city finished third on the “most courteous” list last year, but moved 20 spots to finish third on the “least courteous” side of the ranking this year.

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“Charm City” got the job done the old fashioned way by being most likely to use an obscene gesture while driving. Additionally, the drivers were:

  • Second-most likely both to see someone else tailgating and second most likely to acknowledge tailgating someone
  • Second-most likely to admit eating or drinking while driving
  • Tied (with Orlando) as most likely to acknowledge doing something else like putting on makeup or reading while driving

The other big movers toward the “most courteous” ranking were Minneapolis (15 spots), Dallas (11), Detroit (9) and New York City (9).

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Overall it would seem the courteousness of drivers has gotten better since the original survey in 2009, according to AutoVantage. Respondents were less likely to report observing a multitude of aggressive behaviors:

  • Observations of speeding have declined 12%
  • Observations of running red lights have declined 5%
  • Observations of tailgating have declined 6%
  • Observations of cutting over without notice have declined 6%

Furthermore, fellow drivers seem to have given up many distractions. Respondents reported a decrease in a wide range of behaviors that take one’s eyes off the road, with one notable exception:

  • Observations of other drivers talking on their cell phone have declined 15%
  • Observations of eating and drinking have declined 12%
  • Observations of other types of multitasking have declined 4%
  • Observations of texting while driving have increased 9%

Despite the aforementioned behavioral improvements, some negatives have increased, such as honking, cursing and obscene gestures at other drivers.

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3 Responses to “Houston Lays Claim to “Road Rage” Capital of US”

  1. Jorge M. says:

    The U.S. really has gone mad.

  2. SHAUN F. says:

    That’s just sad

  3. Larry Crane says:

    Houston is a bastion of Southern Baptist thinking. “I hate everyone who isn’t me and they’re all going to hell.”

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