A recent examination of U.S. road rage postings on Instagram offers a look at when people are perhaps most likely to vent their anger while driving. The postings also show New York ranking at the top in per-capita RoadRage ranting for three years in a row.
The Auto Insurance Center sifted through more than 100,000 Instagram postings since 2011 that mention RoadRage and plotted them for several factors, such as frequency, location, time of the day and day of the week.
The analysis appears to show that people were more likely to share images with the hashtag #RoadRage during highly traveled vacation times than during a daily commute. August is a leading month for venting on the social media platform about road rage — which, as a peek at Instagram can confirm, is something you’ll find just about anywhere in the world where you find people and vehicles.
A lot of postings also went up as people hit the road around popular holidays, such as Memorial Day. Peak times were between 5 and 7 p.m., and Los Angeles joined New York atop the list of cities with the most road rage. Both also rank high when it comes to average commute times. The Twin Cities didn’t make the roster of the top 24 cities for driver fury.
“Traffic,” not surprisingly, was the top word in #RoadRage posts, followed by “stuck” and “work.” Numerous profanities made the list, and adjectives included “terrible,” “crazy,” “worst” and “angry.”
The website’s hashtag-sifting is an innovative way to look at an issue that has always been with us on the road — and probably always will be.
“Aggressive driving, dubbed ‘road rage,’ has been around about as long as cars. It’s just that we seem to pay attention to it in cycles, rediscovering it as a highway safety issue every decade or two,” the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said in a status report.
The IIHS, in surveying literature on the topic, quoted from a 1937 textbook that counseled against blowing one’s top: “A good driver never permits himself to become angry.”
The IIHS also cited a 1978 Los Angeles Times article that blamed TV commercials and “programs that stress macho themes.” Other causes cited over the years have been the 55 mph national speed limit, increasingly crowded streets and lengthening commutes.
While the IIHS report expressed some skepticism about seeing upward trends in road rage — suggesting it has more to do with high-profile events that capture attention — there’s plenty of evidence that it’s a persistent problem.
A 2016 survey by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage at least once in the previous year. AAA said that about 8 million people acted out, with some going so far as to ram another vehicle or exit the car to confront another driver.
Psychologists who have studied the characteristics of road ragers have found that the drivers most likely to engage in such behavior are more likely to suffer from anxiety and anger issues, are prone to boredom and are more impulsive.