The morning commute and the afternoon grind. When bumper to bumper traffic creates gridlock for miles, it can be a recipe for disaster. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, road rage comprises of following too closely, excessive speeding, and weaving through traffic among other irresponsible actions.
“The operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property,” NHTSA writes in an extensive report.
NHTSA lists a multitude of reasons for road rage, including traffic delays, running late, and the unique sense of anonymity a vehicle provides. A recent study conducted by Auto Insurance Center uncovered some interesting patterns in the phenomenon of road rage. They collected over 100,000 #RoadRage Instagram posts since 2011 to analyze how this hashtag has evolved. The study examined the circumstances, situations, and locations most likely to boil our blood.
“Even though #RoadRage may produce funny posts on the internet, you want to do everything you can to protect your vehicle and the people in it from the dangerous consequences that aggressive driving can lead to,” said Justin Loera, Senior Insurance Market Analyst, Auto Insurance Center.
Auto Insurance Center found August has historically been the peak for aggressive driving. With summer being prime for travelers it’s no wonder, but the study also showed road rage happens frequently before the hotter months. Auto Insurance Center noted, for example, that of the #RoadRage posts on Instagram between 2013 and 2017, May had the heaviest activity. Even March saw an increase in #RoadRage posts this year.
And holidays don’t always mean good cheer and glad tidings either. 2016 saw a record number of travelers posting on Instagram about experiencing rude gestures, frustration, and even dangerous driving while going over the river and through the woods. Last year, the holidays saw a significant increase, peaking in December, with a nearly 21 percent increase over 2015.
Like most Americans, we love a good weekend trek away from the office. However, those Friday vibes may not be shared by our fellow motorists. In fact, those Friday vibes might be causing aggressive driving. Auto Insurance Center found that #RoadRage posts on Fridays were the highest, while Sunday and, get this, Monday saw the least amount of Instagram posts. We figure you would be more likely to tell another motorist they are “number one” on a Monday morning versus a Friday afternoon, but the study says otherwise.
Our Automoblog contributors are very dedicated, putting in time at all hours of the day and night. Our management team is known for working well into the early morning, but such commitment comes at a price. The Auto Insurance Center study cautions against this, noting that exhaustion is a major factor in road rage. The later evening hours were a hotbed for Instagram posts about anger behind the wheel.
“We were really surprised to see that road rage isn’t the worst during rush hour when you might expect,” Loera explained. “It’s actually at its highest between the hours of 9 and 10pm.”
Location, Location, Location
Brooklyn, New York overtook Atlanta, Georgia last year as the second most common city for #RoadRage posts and retains that title in 2017 – so far. Miami, San Francisco, Orlando, and San Diego all ranked among the top 10 for the highest use of the #RoadRage hashtag since 2013. Number one was New York City, which might not surprise anyone. However, don’t go judging the big cities just yet. It’s not like Midwest hospitality is exactly on the rise. The leading state for aggravated driving this year is Nebraska.
Insert Cornhuskers joke here.
WedMD provides insight on how to avoid road rage, namely by recognizing heated motorists and driving sensibly yourself. The State of Delaware recommends not taking traffic problems personally and to never challenge an erratic driver. This study from Auto Insurance Center underscores just how unpredictable road rage is. With the implementation of autonomous cars, perhaps road rage will decline significantly? Until then, the data of this and similar studies should serve as a stern reminder.
“We know that road rage can happen anywhere at any time but by analyzing social media posts the way we did, we’re able to show where it’s at its worst and what drivers can do to avoid it,” Loera said.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.
The full #RoadRage study from Auto Insurance Center can be found here.