Who’s Naughty and Who’s Nice on the Road?

Who’s Naughty and Who’s Nice on the Road?

You better watch out if you’re on the road this holiday season, because stressed out and road-raging drivers could be a problem. 

Grinch in a car
Keeping that road rage in check during the holidays is important … and tougher for some parts of the country.

A new survey from GasBuddy, an app company devoted to tracking fuel prices, reveals drivers in certain cities across the United States are up to 54% more aggressive than the average driver.

To find out if we’ve been bad or good, GasBuddy examined 2,613,857 drives in the top 50 metropolitan areas by population as defined by the United States Census Bureau during the 2022 Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Grandma got run over by a reindeer

GasBuddy defines aggressive driving habits as quick acceleration, hard braking, and speeding. Those are not necessarily road-raging habits but spread over a city-sized population they’re an indicator that people are probably not filled with the Christmas spirit. 

“The holidays can bring out both the best and worst of us, trying to run around to get everything done and prepared before the holidays, coupled with high prices and increased traffic, we see shorter fuses on the road and more stress contribute to wasting money,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. 

road rage
A study from Volvo Cars and Harris show that drivers are searching for a calmer daily commute.

“In addition to the safety element, driving aggressively and rushing around bites into consumer wallets by reducing fuel efficiency. As 2022 has brought some of the highest gas prices ever seen, taking a deep breath and slowing down while driving can improve drivers’ gas mileage up to 25%, meaning safe drivers will have extra savings on hand to spend during the holiday season.”

Be good for goodness’ sake

The Grinch was much more interesting before he went woke, so let’s skip right to the juicy gossip. The naughty List covers the top 10 cities with the most aggressive holiday drivers, and Tucson, Arizona held onto its number one spot for the second consecutive year. 

Here’s the entire list:

  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Memphis, Tennessee

Three Florida cities made the “naughty list” this year, making Florida the most aggressive driving state overall. Detroit, Michigan; Raleigh, North Carolina and St. Louis, Missouri fell off the top 10 worst cities this year, replaced by Memphis, Tennessee, Birmingham, Alabama and Tampa-St. Petersburg.

GasBuddy- Aggressive Driving Study

It’s worth noting that the kind of heavy-footed driving that GasBuddy uses as an indicator of aggression just doesn’t work when there’s snow and ice on the road, so the naughty list is naturally biased towards the Sun Belt states. We’re not sure why Salt Lake City made the list, but it probably has to do with egg nog. 

Baby it’s cold outside

OK, let’s take a look at the cities packed like Santa’s sleigh with goody-two-shoes drivers. But before we dive into the list, I just want to say that I live in Portland, Oregon. Let me assure you that if our drivers are supposed to be the nicest in the country, the rest of y’all need church — and you need it bad.

Here’s the list of potential pew-sitters: 

  • Portland, Oregon
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Rochester, New York
  • Providence, Rhode Island
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Buffalo, New York

Note that apart from Las Vegas, where you simply cannot accelerate or speed because of the life-choking 24×7 traffic jams, all the cities on this list are known for torrential rains, snow and ice during the winter months. That explains a lot. It’s hard to drive aggressively when you’re focused on not sliding into the jersey barriers or parked cars. 

Wherever you may live, keeping the Feliz in your Navidad is always a good plan when driving, especially when outside conditions are somewhat less than ideal. Whether you’re headed over the river and through the woods in a one-horse open sleigh or just walking in a winter wonderland, we hope to see you in the new year. 

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