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Road Rage Report: Americans consider texting and tailgating worst driving behaviors

May 19, 2016

BELLEVUE, WA - The results of the Expedia 2016 Road Rage Report - an annual analysis of driving etiquette, were released today. The study, now in its third year, was commissioned by Expedia and conducted by GfK, an independent global market research company.

The study comes just before Memorial Day, when well more than 30 million Americans are expected to hit the roads. Expedia found a more than 20 percent YoY increase in searches for Memorial Day weekend car rental pickup for 2016 from 2015. 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.

On the subject of least desirable behaviors, for the third year in a row, survey respondents named "The Texter" as the most aggravating driver on the road. This year 22 percent of study respondents cited the text-obsessed. It was the third consecutive year this person won for least popular. "The Tailgater" followed at 14 percent, and "The Last-Minute Line-Cutter" was a close show, garnering 13 percent of the votes. "The Inconsiderate," defined as the driver who never gives a gesture of thanks after another driver's helpful behavior, and "The Red Light Racer," the driver who inches ever closer to the line, clearly anxious to floor it when the light turns green, rounded out the bottom of the ranking this year.

Overall, here the 12 least popular American drivers are:

1. The Texter 22 percent
2. The Tailgater 14 percent
3. The Last-Minute Line-Cutter 13 percent
4. The Left-Lane Hog 11 percent
5. The Crawler 8 percent
6. The Multitasker 8 percent
7. The Swerver 8 percent
8. The Speeder 5 percent
9. The Drifter 5 percent
10. The Honker 3 percent
11. The Inconsiderate 2 percent
12. The Red Light Racer 1 percent

"Many of us have been guilty of these behaviors behind the wheel – it's easier to notice poor driving when it isn't you," said John Morrey, vice president and general manager, "But Memorial Day will put many millions of drivers in close proximity, and it's important to be particularly sensitive to one another. The same is true on a plane, in a hotel, anywhere – consideration for your fellow traveler helps everyone."

The most common motorist misbehavior is weaving in and out of traffic, which has been witnessed by 80 percent of the American driving public. 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).

Drivers in New York City exhibit the "worst road rage," according to 43 percent of survey respondents, making it the least courteous driving city in America. Los Angeles ranked second, cited by 30 percent of survey respondents, while Chicago drivers were called out by 16 percent. 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.

Birds are Flying

A surprising number of drivers still report receiving the middle finger while on the road. 48 percent of survey respondents have been on the receiving end of a "rude/hostile hand gesture," 35 percent have been yelled or cursed at, and 13 percent have been accosted by a driver who exited his or her vehicle to do so. An alarming 9 percent of survey respondents have gotten into a physical altercation with another driver, 19 percent have called the police to report a fellow driver's misbehavior, and 45 percent say they have been involved in, or nearly involved in, an accident due to an inattentive driver. About 20 percent of Americans also report that they have felt "physically threatened" by another driver.

Other interesting findings:

• 37 percent of Americans do admit to having "multitasked" while driving.
• 15 percent have sped dangerously
• 14 percent say they "occasionally" talk on the phone, text or use social media while driving
• 27 percent of Americans consider their peers to be mostly careful drivers, while 45 percent do not.

Revoking the Backseat Driver's License

Within the car itself, one etiquette violation is the standout aggravator: back-seat driving. 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."

Additional Findings

The Expedia 2016 Road Rage Survey found that:

• 73 percent of survey respondents believe gas prices will rise this summer, versus 8 percent who believe they will fall.
• 42 percent of survey respondents say they have stopped to help a driver in distress that they did not know.
• Only 2 percent of survey respondents report that they "regularly" honk at other drivers, though 14 percent say they do so "occasionally."
• 68 percent of survey respondents would be uncomfortable driving in a foreign country on the opposite side of the road.
• Price is the most important feature in a rental car, cited by 80 percent of survey respondents. Car type is the second-most important feature (14%).
• 68 percent of survey respondents "strongly agree" with the statement "I always refill the tank when returning a rental car."
• 15 percent of survey respondents "somewhat or strongly agree" with the statement "I treat my rental car worse than I treat my own car."
• 13 percent of drivers resent having to share the road with bicycles.

Road Rage Report: Americans consider texting and tailgating worst driving behaviors

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