10 Cities Whose Citizens Have the Worst Road Rage

Road Rage
The most aggressive cities were picked by looking at which places had the highest frequency of aggressive behavior while driving like rapid acceleration, hard braking and speeding. Getty Images/Noam Galai

Every driver has experienced some form of road rage, however some cities' citizens are angrier throughout their daily commute. One might assume this is more evident in the cities with the worst traffic, but that is actually not the case. Rural cities that experience less traffic are more likely to commit rude driving practices which result in negative reactions.

A new study by Insurify, an auto and home insurance company, examines how common courtesy has become significantly less common as drivers feel less social pressure to be polite towards other drivers as true face-to-face confrontation rarely comes to pass.

"When we drive, we can often see people, give the stink eye, or worse," Lizzie Post, co-president at the Emily Post Institute and co-host of the Awesome Etiquette podcast told Newsweek.

"You're encased in plastic and metal and glass and you kind of feel a little protected or maybe like your shouting isn't really going to be heard. When in actuality your expression and your anger can be seen."

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 80 percent of drivers in the United States have expressed anger, aggression or road rage while driving in the past year.

The Insurify study examined their database of over 2.5 million insurance applications to determine the rudest drivers in America. The study discovered that the forms of rude driving behavior vary significantly by state and city-to-city.

The company's data scientists classified the following driving violations as the most extreme forms of rude driving: failure to yield violations, failure to stop violations, improper backing, passing where prohibited, tailgating, street racing and hit-and-runs.

According to the research, failure to stop for a red light and failure to stop for a stop sign are the two most common offenses committed by rude drivers nationwide. On the opposite end, street racing is the least common and occurs more than 90 percent less frequently than the other offenses.

Nationally, roughly 23 out of every 1,000 drivers in the U.S. has been cited for one or more of these rude offenses. The cities are the most extreme end of the spectrum are all more than double the national average:

  1. Pocatello, Idaho - 58.4 out of 1,000
  2. Caldwell, Idaho - 53.8 out of 1,000
  3. Alexandra, Virginia - 52.8 out of 1,000
  4. Portsmouth, Virginia - 50.9 out of 1,000
  5. Roanoke,Virginia - 48.1 out of 1,000
  6. Woodbridge, Virginia - 47.0 out of 1,000
  7. Logan, Utah - 46.5 out of 1,000
  8. Boise, Idaho - 46.3 out of 1,000
  9. Greeley, Colorado - 45.9 out of 1,000
  10. Ashburn, Virginia - 45.7 out of 1,000

In America's top three most polite cities — Wellington, Florida; McAllen, Texas and Louisville, Kentucky — the scores are 5.7, 6.5, and 7.2 drivers per 1,000 respectively.

An increased police presence does not seem to mitigate poor driver behavior on its face. Through analysis of police officer density data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Insurify found that a higher proportion of police officers to drivers does not correspond with a higher proportion of drivers receiving citations for any of these rude driving behaviors.

"We're often driving because we're trying to get somewhere many times that has a time stamp on it," Post said. "Even though the people on the other end are undoubtedly wanting us to be safe rather than punctual...When you're driving, there's the whole idea of getting somewhere which automatically puts on this pressure that can lead to stress, which leads to rudeness, which really leads to more stress which leads to rudeness — an endless cycle."

According to the American Psychological Association (APA) understanding what fuels this aggressive and sometimes dangerous behavior may help psychologists curb it. In studies of anger and aggressive driving, short-fused drivers experience more anger, anxiety and impulsiveness.

The APA study concluded that the best way to fight road rage is to practice a combination of cognitive and relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation, to reduce road rage among high-anger drivers.

"I think just practicing good etiquette and awareness, consideration, honesty, respect, patience, compassion, with the world around us, will help us to do that one more behind the wheel," Post said.