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Road Rage: Where Your City Ranks

New York Tops List of Rudest Drivers
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

angiest_drivers.jpg

June 17, 2009 -- Christopher Barry hates driving in Atlanta, the fourth worst city in the nation in terms of road rage, so guess what he’s doing about it? Moving to New York, that’s what.

The freelance journalist says he’s “had it with the hassle” and is selling his car, which he figures he won’t need in New York. So he’s not bothered a bit by a new survey that shows the Big Apple has the angriest, rudest, most-likely-to-flip-you-off motorists of any metropolis in the nation.

“They won’t bother me,” he says of New York drivers. “I want to use public transportation. But I think driving in Atlanta has prepared me for whatever New York can spit my way.”

The Dallas-Ft. Worth area ranks No. 2, followed by Detroit, in the survey of the most hurried, harried, and dangerous drivers.  Atlanta comes in at No. 4, and Minneapolis-St. Paul at No. 5. Phoenix ranks as the sixth “least courteous,” followed by Miami, which held the top spot for three straight years.

The fourth annual "In the Driver's Seat Road Rage Survey," which was commissioned by AutoVantage, a national roadside assistance company, also produced a “most courteous” list. Portland, Ore., topped that list, with Cleveland coming in at No. 2.

The Most Irritating Driving Habits

The auto club’s survey firm, Prince Market Research, interviewed 2,518 people from January to March in 25 major metro areas to learn more about consumer views on road rage.

So what bothered drivers the most? According to the survey:

  • 84% were annoyed by drivers talking on cell phones
  • 58% were stressed by others driving too fast
  • 53% by tailgaters
  • 48% got upset seeing others eating or drinking
  • 37% got their dander up when they noticed others texting or emailing while driving

And how did annoyed drivers react?

  • 43% by honking their horn at another driver at least monthly
  • 36% by cursing other drivers
  • 13% by waving their fist or arms
  • 10% by making obscene gestures
  • 7% by calling the police
  • 1% by slamming into the car in front of them

 

Road Rage Harmful to Health

Barry may have found the best solution to road rage. Giving up driving may not only be safer but could also make him healthier, says psychiatrist Chuck Raison, MD, clinical director of the Mind Body Program in the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

“We know road rage is harmful to health, but it’s pervasive, especially in the biggest cities,” Raison tells WebMD. “Drivers are competitive. The stress can raise your blood pressure, foul up your immune system, and make you depressed. People don’t realize that getting all steamed up can make you blow a gasket. But it’s in our genes to take out our stress on something, and in a car, the subject of your anger is anonymous.”

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