New York drivers named most aggressive, angry in U.S.

NEW YORK Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:17am EDT

Automobiles wait in a traffic jam on a New York City highway November 20, 2007. Americans are expected to travel in record numbers for the Thanksgiving holiday. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Automobiles wait in a traffic jam on a New York City highway November 20, 2007. Americans are expected to travel in record numbers for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York has overtaken Miami to be voted the U.S. city with the angriest and most aggressive drivers, according to a survey on road rage released on Tuesday.

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.

The response of New Yorkers to bad drivers also helped push the city into the top slot for road rage.

"New Yorkers were most likely to wave their fists or arms. They were most likely to lay on the horn and they were most likely to make some sort of obscene gesture," said Michael Bush, of the marketing and consulting company Affinion Group, which commissioned the survey.

Dallas/Fort Worth came in second as the worst road rage city followed by Detroit, Atlanta and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Miami ranked a distant seventh.

Baltimore, Sacramento and Pittsburgh rounded out the top five cities with the most pleasant drivers.

Portland and Cleveland were voted to have the most courteous, considerate drivers.

"The real surprise to me is that there is no geographic way to break down road rage," Bush told Reuters. "It is very much on a city-by-city basis, as opposed to geographic area."

Talking on a cell phone was the behavior that irked motorists the most, with 84 percent of people citing it as the behavior most likely to incite road rage.

Driving too fast, tailgating, and eating and texting behind the wheel also caused stress and incited road rage.

Nearly 50 percent 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.

More than 25 percent of people in the telephone poll reported seeing drivers putting on make-up, shaving and reading while behind the wheel. A quarter said slamming on the brakes and running red lights sent their tempers flaring.

Detroit and San Francisco had the most text-happy drivers, while Miami won the distinction as the city where people were most likely to shave, read or put on make-up while driving.

Most people, 43 percent, reacted to bad driving by honking the horn. But 36 percent resorted to cursing, 13 percent waved their fists or arms and 10 percent made an obscene gesture.

Seven percent were so angry they called the police and one percent admitted they had slammed into the car in front of them.

"In Washington, D.C., four percent of drivers admitted to slamming into another driver," said Bush. "They stand out in that one particular category."

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