Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I am disappointed. In a survey to determine which cities have the worst road rage, San Francisco was only ranked Number 10. I know we can do better than that. I have seen every possible kind of creative bad driving here and heard so much blue language that it no longer surprises me. Unless our rating means that we are a Perfect 10. We are perfectly terrible drivers in every measurable way, and also most angry. Perfect.
I grew up in New York, Number 2 on the list after Miami. Now that I can believe. Also Miami. Boston ranked 3rd, and Los Angeles 4th. I have lived in the first three, as well as Minneapolis, Number 14, and San Diego, Number 17. Do we sense a trend here? I'm surprised that Nashville did not make the list. They have more accidents per square mile than any other place I have lived. Of course, they didn't used to have any open container laws, which was certainly a factor. The rudeness quotient is not high there as Southerners are capable of doing horrible things more politely than anyone else, bless their hearts.
It seems that bad driving and road rage are on the increase everywhere, and I contemplate the reasons for this every day while trying to stay alive behind the wheel. I was pretty sure that the problem was not exclusive to San Francisco, although it is a small, hilly city with far more cars than the roads were intended for. I wonder if I am more aware of bad drivers because as I get older, there are more who are younger than I. Statistically, the youngest drivers are most likely to have accidents because of inexperience, juiced-up hormones, and the belief that they can't die, plus of course, their propensity to do other things while driving like talking on their phones, texting, putting on makeup, fiddling with CD players, eating, drinking, and copping a feel. Simultaneously.
I have witnessed a carload of eight kids jump out at a red light clutching beer cans, run around the car and change seats, in full view of a police officer. Did they get ticketed? Nah. Bad cop, no donut.
I do my share of swearing at other drivers, although I do so furtively so as not to rattle any cages. I have no desire to be shot. I am not given to flipping birds, but I learned to drive in New York and I know what my horn is for.
The list, ranked from those reporting the most incidents of road rage to the fewest:
2. New York
4. Los Angeles
5. Washington, D.C.
8. Sacramento, Calif.
10. San Francisco
14. Minneapolis-St. Paul
16. Tampa, Fla.
17. San Diego
21. Dallas-Ft. Worth
22. St. Louis
25. Portland, Ore.
Where does your city rank? If it's after Number 25, please send airline ticket.