New York is All the Rage – on the Road

June 16, 2009 ( - New York has overtaken Miami to be voted the U.S. city with the angriest and most aggressive drivers, according to a survey commissioned by marketing and consulting company Affinion Group.

Miami topped the annual poll for the last four years, but voters in 25 major metropolitan areas gave New Yorkers the prize for angriest, most aggressive drivers who tailgate, speed, honk their horns, overreact and lose their tempers, according to a press release. In fact, the survey suggests Miami drivers have improved greatly, coming in a distant seventh in the rankings, with Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Atlanta and Minneapolis/St. Paul rounding out the top five cities with the most road rage.

Portland and Cleveland were voted to have the most courteous, considerate drivers, with Baltimore, Sacramento and Pittsburgh rounding out the top five, the press release said.

Rage Reaction

While New York may have ranked highest for road rage, the nation’s capital stood out as the city where angry drivers were most likely to slam into vehicles in response to their rage. Four percent of drivers in Washington, D.C. admitted to doing so.

Overall, 43% of respondents said they reacted to bad driving by honking the horn, while 36% resorted to cursing, 13% waved their fists or arms, and 10% made an obscene gesture. Seven percent have been so angry they have called the police and 1% overall admitted they had slammed into the car in front of them.

So, what sends drivers into a rage? Talking on a cell phone was the behavior that irked motorists the most (84%), while driving too fast (58%), tailgating (53%), eating (48%) and texting (37%) behind the wheel were also reported to cause stress and incite road rage. Detroit and San Francisco had the most text-happy drivers.

Nearly 50% of the 2,518 people who took part in the AutoVantage Road Rage Survey also said other drivers frequently cut across the road without notice. A quarter said slamming on the brakes and running red lights sent their tempers flaring.

More than 25% of people in the telephone poll reported seeing drivers putting on make-up, shaving and reading while behind the wheel, with Miami (38%) winning the distinction as the city where drivers are most likely to engage in these activities.