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Survey: Washingtonians Raging Less on Roads

National surveys of driver behavior have severe limits, but they're always fun to look at. The latest is the fourth annual survey of road rageousness by the AutoVantage auto club. The findings: Washington drives are the sixth most courteous in the nation. Is there anything else you need to know about how accurate these surveys are?

That's compared to 24 other cities. In last year's survey, we ranked as the fifth least courteous. Talk about mood swings. Now we're tied with San Francisco on the laid-back scale. Here's the most-courteous list.

The telephone study of 2,518 people in 25 urban areas was conducted between Jan. 8 and March 24, 2009 by Prince Market Research, which gives it a margin of error of 2 percentage points. (What do you give it?)

Now, you do want to know who bumped us out of the top five for least courteous, right?
The top five this year were: New York (Okay, that I can believe.), Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Atlanta and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Last year, Baltimore ranked number 4 on the least-courteous side and this year ranks number 3 most courteous. Here's the least-courteous list.

The mean people must be staying home.

Now here's an interesting thing: How did the drivers surveyed react to bad driving by other drivers?
-- Honk the horn.
-- Curse at the other driver.
-- Shake a fist.
-- Make an obscene gesture.
-- Call the police to report the driver.
-- Slam into the offending car. (That'll show 'em.)

Some specifics about us: Washington drivers did better in the survey this year in part because respondents scored them as the second least likely to be seen talking on cell phones and the second least likely to be seen eating or drinking. On the down side, we tied with those cretins in New York as the second most likely to admit honking horns in reaction to rude or aggressive driving.

Knowing that our survey isn't scientific, I'd still like to hear from you about the behavior you've seen on Washington's roads lately. And you transit riders, bikers and walkers can kick in, too. Just don't rage over the results.

User Poll

By Robert Thomson  |  June 17, 2009; 9:47 AM ET
Categories:  Driving  | Tags: national survey, rankings, road rage  
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I lived in Portland, Oregon, they are some of the most infuriating drivers on the road. Not only does the right lane come to a stop for anything on the side of the road (bucket, car, leaf, doesn't matter), but everyone else has to slow as well. I've never seen a city where the speed limit was not followed by the majority of drivers and that's because they were going SLOWER.

Plus, they're not as bright. I get to the left to pass someone going below the speed limit. That person then gets to the left and blocks me, then scolds me as I pass them on the right!!! I'm doing 55 in a 55 while they're doing 35.

I will give Oregonians one thing though, they understand how to accelerate and merge. Not, cruise, pull into the travel lanes doing 20, then accelerate like the people here do.

Yeah, no way are we in the top 10 of courteous. Maryland itself would eliminate us from that list. They don't use signals or headlights in the rain, and need to slow down to an almost stop to read an electronic sign that says "DRIVE SAFELY".

Posted by: dj1123 | June 17, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

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