Boorish Behavior All the Rage for Drivers in District

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 16, 2007 | Go to article overview

Boorish Behavior All the Rage for Drivers in District


Byline: Jennifer Harper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Honk if you've got road rage. Washington ranks fifth in the country for aggressive drivers who speed, scream and gesticulate their way through the daily commute, according to a survey released yesterday.

But drivers in the D.C. metro area are not alone in their four-wheeled sins. The Sunshine State is anything but: Miami is home to the rudest, most dangerous drivers of all, followed by New York, Boston and Los Angeles.

"I'm surprised that the D.C. area is only at number five. Road rage is absolutely pervasive here," said John Townsend of the American Automobile Association in the District. "It's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. People get behind the wheel, and the local driving experience turns them into wildebeests."

Indeed.

The survey of 2,451 drivers in 25 cities revealed that six out of 10 said they had driven either over the speed limit or while gabbing on a cell phone. Thirty- five percent admitted to vigorous horn-honking, 29 percent had cursed at other drivers and 10 percent had waved their arms - or their fist. Another 8 percent had added an obscene gesture. The survey found that men and women were equally at fault.

The respondents were quick to tattle on one another. Nearly everyone - 98 percent - said they had seen other drivers distracted by cell phones, while 63 percent saw people who read while driving, ran red lights or slammed on brakes. The worst behavior among fellow drivers? Speeding, followed by tailgating and changing lanes with no notice.

The research was conducted Jan. 16 to March 23 by Connecticut-based AutoVantage and has a margin of error of two percentage points.

For all its theatrics, road rage can be both deadly and tragic.

Maryland investigators are still searching for the driver who they say intentionally veered his pickup truck into the path of Christian Luciano and Lindsay Bender, a Pennsylvania couple who were driving their sedan southbound on Interstate 270 near Frederick on April 11. Authorities say the drivers exchanged obscene gestures, then the truck driver slammed on his breaks and forced the couple off the road. …

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