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Houston has the dubious honor of having the least courteous drivers in the country followed by Atlanta; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; and Boston.  In their 2014 In the Driver’s Seat Road Rage Survey, AutoVantage – a roadside assistance provider - measured behavior, observation, and attitudes related to road rage in America’s largest cities.  Houston moved up from 8th discourteous city in the 2009 AutoVantage survey to the top position in 2014.   

Who is the most courteous?  For the second time, Portland tops the list.  The friendly driver list continues with Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Charlotte.  Which cities became more courteous compared to the 2009 survey?  Minneapolis – up 15 spots, Dallas – up 11 spots, Detroit – up 9 spots, and New York City – up 9 spots. 

Survey respondents also observed safer driving habits in their fellow commuters with reductions in speeding, running red lights, tailgating, changing lanes without signaling, and slamming on the brakes.  Giving up distractions was also observed with one notable exception – observations of texting while driving increased 9% since 2009. 

While drivers are giving up distractions and being less aggressive, respondents were more likely to lose their cool in reaction to other drivers.  In comparison to the 2009 survey, horn honking increased 12%, cursing another driver increased 8%, obscene gestures are up 3%, and arm or fist waving went up 4%.

To view the AutoVantage survey click here.

Defusing Your Own Road Rage

We all have felt some irritation if not rage while on the road.  In fact, every one of us has a pet peeve about other driver’s habits.  Here are some tips to make your next drive more pleasant and calm.

Don’t do unto others.  Having a hand gesturing, pantomiming altercation at 60 miles an hour on a crowded freeway is never a good idea.  Hum a few bars of Let It Go and move on. 

Stay out of the way.  Give aggressive drivers plenty of room to get around you.  Let them do what they want at all times.  You don’t know the offending driver’s circumstances – an emergency, they’re lost, have a medical issue, or are managing depression. 

Yield.  Most drivers in Texas consider a Yield sign a suggestion.  Remember your real objective is to get to your destination safely and yield anyway – even if the right of way is yours by law, custom, or common sense. 

Be aware of your surroundings. Drivers do a whole lot more than driving.  We’ve all seen our fellow drivers texting, talking on the phone, applying lipstick, and even reading while rolling down the road.  And yes, multitasking is distracted driving.  Distracted drivers cause more accidents than drunk drivers.  Be aware and anticipate the actions of the drivers around you.  For more information on Distracted Driving,click here to see the Dean and Draper blog Distracted Driving - More Dangerous Than Drunk Driving.     

Look at your own driving behavior.  Most of us think we’re great drivers and all of the other people out there are dangerous.  Maybe it’s time for all of us to slow down, obey the traffic laws, and wear our seat belts – always.

Get your beauty sleep.  More than 56,000 crashes annually are caused by drowsy drivers according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration.  Young people ages 16 to 29, especially males, are most at risk.  So are shift workers whose sleep is disrupted face the same risks.  Stay alert, it could save your life.

Find your Zen place.  Be a supportive driver as opposed to an aggressive driver.  Facilitate what that aggressive driver wants to do instead of thwarting them.  Their need could actually be much greater than yours at that moment.

We hope that you find the information in this blog interesting and the tips useful.  As always, we want to contribute to your health, wellbeing, and safety.  If you have questions about your auto insurance, we welcome your call, 713.527.0444 or toll free 888.266.2680.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us.