As we come upon Memorial Day weekend, when more than 30 million Americans are likely to take to the roads, putting a premium on courteous and respectful driving behavior becomes a priority.
But, what about the opposite? What kinds of drivers drive you nuts?
Expedia.com® released the results of the 2014 Road Rage Report, conducted on Expedia’s behalf by Northstar. Northstar surveyed 1,001 adult Americans to identify the behaviors that are most likely to elicit road rage, from texting to swerving to speeding and beyond. Here is Expedia’s release with the highlights of their study, which covers far more than simply annoying drivers.
On the whole, distraction is the most infuriating feature of the American driver. People who text while driving incur the most anger. 69 percent of Americans rate “The Texter” as the most aggravating driving behavior, followed by “The Tailgater” (60 percent), “The Multi-tasker” (54 percent), “The Drifter” (43 percent) and “The Crawler” (39 percent). Nearly 7 in 10 Americans (69 percent) report having been “flipped off” by a fellow motorist, while only 17 percent have admitted to doing so themselves.
“As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day sees a huge spike in the number of drivers on the road,” said John Morrey, Vice President and General Manager, Expedia.com. “Expedia rents millions of cars to Americans, so we set out to learn what behaviors on the open road are most welcome, and what behaviors most aggravating. The rule, as with airplanes and hotels, is that shared spaces demand decorum and attentiveness.”
The full list of driving behaviors ranked as “most annoying or offensive” includes (percentage identifies behaviors ranked in the top five):
The Texter (drivers who text, email or talk on a phone while driving): 69 percent
The Tailgater (drivers who follow others far too closely): 60 percent
The Multi-tasker (applying makeup, eating, reading, etc.): 54 percent
The Drifter (either straddling two lanes or weaving between them): 43 percent
The Crawler (driving well below the speed limit): 39 percent
The Swerver (failing to signal before changing lanes or turning): 38 percent
The Left-Lane Hog (drivers who occupy the passing lane without moving): 32 percent
The Inconsiderate (those who do not let others merge): 30 percent
The Speeder (driving well past the speed limit at length): 27 percent
The Honker (drivers who slam the horn at will): 18
The Unappreciative (drivers who do not give a wave or gesture of thanks): 13%
The Red Light Racer (drivers who inch ever closer to the light when red): 12%
A full analysis of Expedia’s 2014 Road Rage Report can be found at http://viewfinder.expedia.com/.
Despite the fact that Americans identify texting as the most offensive driving violator, 55 percent of Americans do admit to using their mobile phone at least some of the time while driving. In addition, 70 percent of Americans also admit to having been guilty of aggressive driving behavior, including speeding (58 percent), tailgating (28 percent) and yelling and/or swearing at fellow drivers (28 percent). Men are only slightly more likely to admit to aggressive driving than women (74 percent to 67 percent).
The rudest drivers are found in the largest cities
33 percent of Americans name New York City as home to the least courteous/most rage-inducing drivers. 71 percent of Americans put New York among the top five rudest driving cities. Los Angeles (22 percent) ranked second, while Atlanta (9 percent) came in third. Only 5 percent of Americans believe Boston features the country’s rudest drivers, but 27 percent of Americans place Boston in the top five.
American drivers do regularly demonstrate courtesy and helpfulness.
55 percent of American drivers report that they have stopped to help a fellow motorist – one they did not know – in distress. That behavior grows likelier with age: 42 percent of Americans aged 18-34 report having done so, versus 59 percent of those aged 35-54, and 64 percent of those 55 and older.
Gas Price Pessimism vs. Open Road Optimism
Americans are generally pessimistic as it relates to gas prices. 96 percent of Americans believe gas prices will rise this summer. Even so, 56 percent of Americans define a road trip as an “ideal” way to spend a vacation. 30 percent of Americans have taken an overnight road trip in the past 12 months.
Renting vs. driving your own car?
More than a third of Americans (36 percent) have rented a car in the past 12 months, with most of them (70 percent) renting for leisure.
The Expedia 2014 Road Rage Report found that 61 percent of Americans claim to treat their rental cars better than they treat their own cars. 19 percent claim to treat rentals worse. And 92 percent of Americans say they “always” refill the gas tank before returning a rental.
Price is the most important feature in a rental car, with 62 percent ranking it as most important. Size is the second most important feature, followed by rental type (convertible, SUV, sedan or other), style (standard versus premium/luxury) and brand. 42 percent of Americans claim that they “always” rent the same type of car. When Americans invest in rental car upgrades, they are likelier to do so when they are renting a car for business (52 percent) than for leisure (42 percent).
Mobile apps vs. GPS vs. maps
Mobile apps have replaced printed maps. The Road Rage Report revealed that mobile phone maps – Google / Apple maps among them – are the most popular source of driving directions, with 40 percent of Americans using them regularly. 35 percent of Americans rely on dashboard GPS systems, while 22 percent still use printed maps.
Among the 76 percent of Americans who own and regularly use an app-enabled mobile device, more than 4 in 10 (42 percent) have downloaded an app specifically to use while in the car. Among road-trip-related apps, Americans place the most value on maps (63 percent), traffic notification (47 percent) and weather alert / driving conditions (44 percent).
Mobile devices are also popular for accommodations, with 23 percent of U.S. drivers using their mobile device to search for a hotel.
The Expedia 2014 Road Rage Report also found that:
62 percent of Americans believe 16 is too young to drive
17 percent of U.S. drivers have driven in a foreign country on the opposite side of the road
66 percent would do so, while 34 percent would not
91 percent of American men and 57 percent of American women claim to know how to change a tire
85 percent of American drivers are “always pleasantly surprised” to receive a wave of thanks from a fellow driver
Why we honk
The two most popular reasons to honk at a fellow motorist are “if a driver starts to drift into my lane or is about to cut in front of me” (78 percent) and “when another driver cuts me off” (52 percent)
Scenic route or Interstate?
62 percent of Americans prefer “the scenic route” to the fastest route when driving on vacation.
The Pacific Coast Highway is the preferred scenic route (41 percent)
Route 66 (33 percent listed in the top 3)
Overseas Highway / Florida Keys (28 percent)
Hawaii Belt (27 percent)
Blue Ridge Parkway (26 percent)
Favorite travel companion?
Spouse/partner (68 percent)
best friend (31 percent)
children (29 percent)
dog (14 percent)
Favorite road snack?
“Chips” are the top road trip snack (36 percent)
“Fast food” (31 percent)
“Nuts or dried fruit” (31 percent)
“Candy” (29 percent)
“Beef jerky / pepperoni sticks” (25 percent)
Preferred music when traveling?
Classic rock (40 percent)
Country (28 percent)
Golden Oldies (25 percent)
Top Hits (24 percent)
Pop (23 percent)
Easy Listening (22 percent)
Hip Hop (15 percent)
Heavy Metal (10 percent)
About The Study
This study was conducted on behalf of Expedia by Northstar, a globally integrated strategic insights consulting firm, among 1001 adult Americans who hold a valid U.S. driver’s license. Surveys were completed between April 29 and May 5, 2014. Sampling quotas were imposed to ensure the sample is representative of the US population in terms of age, gender and region. Assuming a probability sample, the margin of error would be +/-3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Expedia.com is the world’s largest full service travel site*, helping millions of travelers per month easily plan and book travel. Expedia.com (http://www.expedia.com/, 1-800-EXPEDIA) aims to provide the latest technology and the widest selection of top vacation destinations, cheap tickets, hotel deals, car rentals, destination weddings, cruise deals and in-destination activities, attractions, services and travel apps. With the Expedia Best Price Guarantee, Expedia.com customers can get the best rates available online for all types of travel.