Bad Driving Behavior: Cities with the Rudest Drivers

Despite reductions in driving early on in the pandemic, driving levels have returned to normal across the country and rude drivers are back on the roads in full force.

For many, common courtesy seems to go out the (car) window the moment they get behind the wheel. Drivers may feel less social pressure to behave courteously towards other drivers since any real face-to-face interaction is nonexistent; on the roads, a driver’s identity is reduced to the car they drive and a license plate number.

Perhaps it comes as no surprise to find that rude and aggressive drivers can be found from coast to coast. In fact, nearly 80 percent of drivers in the United States have expressed anger, aggression, or road rage while driving in the past year, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Yelling at another driver, honking to show annoyance or anger, or making angry gestures at other drivers are among the most common behaviors.  

It’s unpleasant and sometimes downright unsettling to hear another driver sitting on the horn or to see them gesticulating angrily. Many drivers could benefit from the reminder that they aren’t using the horn for its intended purposes (that’s right,  the horn should be used only to avoid collisions or to warn other drivers of danger on the roads). Yet, this behavior can seem almost benign when compared to the most extreme — and illegal — forms of rude driving. It’s one thing to honk at another driver or give them the middle finger, but it’s quite another to blow through a stop sign in utter disregard for pedestrians and other cars or to angrily tailgate a slow driver. 

The data scientists at Insurify, an insurance quotes comparison website, have already found that egregious and illegal forms of rude driving behavior varies significantly by state, but they were also interested to see whether this behavior varies from city to city. They turned to their database to investigate this further and identify the cities with the rudest drivers.

heat map of twenty cities in the United States with the rudest drivers

Insights

  • National average. 23.1 out of every 1,000 drivers in the United States have been cited for one or more infractions categorized as “rude.”
  • America’s three politest cities. The cities with the politest drivers are Wellington, Florida; McAllen, Texas, and Louisville, Kentucky. Each of these cities has just 5.7, 6.5, and 7.2 drivers per 1,000 cited for one or more rude driving behaviors.
  • Regional differences. A whopping 9 out of the 20 cities on this list are located in Virginia. Idaho and New York have the second- and third-highest representation on this list, with 4 and 3 cities respectively.   
  • The most common rude driving offense. Failure to stop for a red light and failure to stop for a stop sign are the two most common offenses in rude drivers across the United States. Street racing, on the other hand, is the least common and occurs more than 90  percent less frequently.
  • More police officers, more citations? Not according to the data. Using police officer density data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Insurify’s data scientists calculated the correlation between the density of police officers and the citation rates for these rude driving behaviors in each city in the United States. They 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, Pearson’s r = 0.12.

Methodology

The data science team at Insurify referred to its database of over 2.5 million insurance applications to determine the cities with the rudest drivers. 

In order to apply for car insurance, drivers disclose information such as where they live and their driving history, including past accidents and moving violations. Insurify’s data scientists classified the following driving violations as the most extreme forms of rude driving: failure to yield violations (failure to yield the right of way, failure to yield to a pedestrian), failure to stop violations (failure to stop for a red light, school bus, or stop sign), improper backing, passing where prohibited, tailgating, street racing, and hit-and-runs.

For each city, Insurify’s data scientists calculated the proportion of drivers with one or more of these violations on their record. Cities with the highest share of these drivers were ranked as the cities with the rudest drivers. In this study, cities were defined based on the United States Census Bureau’s classification of an “urbanized area,” an urban area with a population over 50,000. 

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The 20 U.S. Cities with the Rudest Drivers

20. Dayton, Ohio

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 40.6 out of 1,000

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19. Virginia Beach, Virginia

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 40.9 out of 1,000

18. Manchester, New Hampshire

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 43.5 out of 1,000

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17. Newport News, Virginia

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 43.7 out of 1,000

16. Richmond, Virginia

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 44.8 out of 1,000

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15. Athens, Georgia

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 45.0 out of 1,000

14. Jamaica, New York

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 45.1 out of 1,000

13. Racine, Wisconsin

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 45.1 out of 1,000

12. Hampton, Virginia

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 45.5 out of 1,000

11. Idaho Falls, Idaho

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 45.5 out of 1,000

10. Ashburn, Virginia

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 45.7 out of 1,000

9. Greeley, Colorado

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 45.9 out of 1,000

8. Boise, Idaho

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 46.3 out of 1,000

7. Logan, Utah

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 46.5 out of 1,000

6. Woodbridge, Virginia

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 47.0 out of 1,000

5. Roanoke, Virginia

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 48.1 out of 1,000

4. Portsmouth, Virginia

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 50.9 out of 1,000

3. Alexandria, Virginia

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 52.8 out of 1,000

2. Caldwell, Idaho

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 53.8 out of 1,000

1. Pocatello, Idaho

  • Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 58.4 out of 1,000

 

If you have questions or comments about this article, please contact insights@insurify.com.

 

Updated September 24, 2020

Insurify’s team of data scientists and content specialists presents Insurify Insights, a series of automotive, home, and health studies focusing on the topics that impact us all. Through expert analysis of over 2.5 million car insurance applications and an array of top data sources, the Insurify Insights team produces new data-driven articles, trend analyses, regional superlatives, and national rankings every week. See Insurify Insights as featured in Forbes, Fox News, USA Today, NPR, and more.