Whatever you do, do not press “send.” Texting while driving has been rated the top offense in this year’s Road Rage Report of what grinds the gears of Americans behind the wheel, compiled annually by Expedia and released last week.
Using data gathered from more than 1,000 participants, the violator rankings start with The Red Light Racer, which got 1 percent of all votes, and peaked with The Texter, which claimed a whopping 26 percent. Other top provocateurs include The Tailgater (13 percent) and The Left Lane Hog (12 percent), while The Honker earned a mere 2 percent, proving that these days, actions speak louder than beeps.
This is the second straight year texting ranked most annoying. Expedia also ranked the least popular passenger behavior. At the top of the list is back-seat driving, a habit loathed by 52 percent of those polled. It puts to shame other top annoyances, including reluctant co-piloting, hogging the radio, and taking a snooze, which combined claimed 30 percent of the votes.
“We’ve set out to examine what sorts of behavior make travel more pleasurable, and what sorts of behavior should be avoided,” says John Morrey, vice president and general manager of Expedia. “The study demonstrates that travelers expect courtesy and respect.”
Asked to look within, 97 percent of those polled rated themselves as “careful” drivers, yet 61 percent also admitted to speeding, 29 percent said they follow other vehicles too closely, and 26 percent confessed to cursing other drivers. Perhaps most extreme are the 4-percent of drivers who reported having left their cars to angrily engage with another driver, and the 13 percent who have felt physically threatened by other motorists.
However, it’s not all tire squeals and angry words. Forty percent of poll respondents also reported having pulled over to help a driver in distress.Emeralde Jensen-Roberts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.