Texting and tailgating are the top two behaviors behind the wheel that drive fellow motorists bonkers, according to a new survey.

The Expedia 2015 Road Rage Report, conducted by market research company GfK, asked 1,000 drivers to rank the behavior of other motorists in order of aggravation. The dirty dozen:

1.    The Texter (26%)
2.    The Tailgater (13%)
3.    The Left-Lane Hog (12%)
4.    The Crawler (10%)
5.    The Multitasker (7%)
6.    The Drifter (7%)
7.    The Inconsiderate (6%)
8.    The Swerver (5%)
9.    The Speeder (4%)
10.    The Unappreciative (3%)
11.    The Honker (2%)
12.    The Red Light Racer (1%)

Back-seat drivers ranked No. 1 on the pesky passenger list, with 52 percent flagging it as a top peeve. The “Reluctant Co-Pilot” – the passenger who won’t help navigate – ranked second, with 12 percent citing it as irksome, followed by the “Radio Hog” (10 percent), the “Snoozer” (8 percent), the “Shoe Remover” (7 percent) and the “Snacker” (6 percent).

‘I’m the best driver and you’re not’

Nearly all drivers surveyed (97 percent) rate themselves as “careful” drivers, but said only 29 percent of fellow drivers fall into that category. Fifty-one percent of drivers also report that they hate sharing the road with bad drivers – more than with cyclists, buses, taxis, joggers and pedestrians combined.

Despite the majority of drivers describing themselves as careful, here’s what people confessed to doing, according to the survey:

Speeding – 61%
Tailgating – 29%
Yelling or using profanity at another driver – 26%
Making a rude gesture – 17% (but 53% have been on the receiving end of one)
Exiting their vehicle to angrily engage with another driver – 4%

Not surprisingly, drivers offered reasons for their bad driving behavior: 21 percent reported that they were running late. Fourteen percent felt provoked by other drivers, and 13 percent said their behavior was triggered by another driver who wasn’t paying attention.

Road rage and car insurance

Are road rage damages covered? In general, your liability car insurance covers accidents, not intentional acts, says Insure.com consumer analyst Penny Gusner. “If you feel the need to catch another driver’s attention with a love tap or a thrown-open door, you could have to pay for any damage yourself. And if you get ticketed for aggressive driving or reckless driving, expect that to show up on your insurance bill.”

Texting, driving and license points

Forty-five states now ban texting and driving. Even so, less than half consider texting behind the wheel a moving violation. Visit our state car insurance rates page for more information on state laws and average rates by city and town.
You car insurance company may raise your premiums upon review of your driving record if you’re ticketed in a state where texting violations add points to your driving record or are considered moving violations. States with texting laws specifying that violations add points or are considered moving violations include:

  • Alabama: 2 points
  • Colorado: 1 point
  • District of Columbia: 1 point and is a moving violation; 3 points if it is judged to have caused an accident.
  • Florida: 3 points and moving violation for second ticket within five years; 2 points if texting ticket received in school safety zone; 6 points if found that unlawful use of wireless communications device results in a car crash
  • Georgia: 1 point
  • Kentucky: 3 points
  • Maryland: 1 point and a moving violation; 3 points if the texting contributed to an accident
  • Missouri: 2 points
  • Nebraska: 3 points  
  • New York: 5 points
  • New Jersey: 3 points for third offense
  • North Dakota:  moving violation
  • Nevada: first offense not considered a moving violation; repeat offenses add 4 points
  • Vermont: 2 points for first offense and 5 points for a subsequent offense
  • Virginia: 3 points
  • West Virginia: 3 points for third offense
  • Wisconsin: 4 points

Survey methodology

The study was conducted online using the GfK “KnowledgePanel,” an online probability-based panel designed to be representative of the US general population, not just the online population. The study consisted of approximately 1,065 interviews conducted between April 3 – 5, 2015 among adults aged 18+ with a valid US driver’s license. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points.

author image
Michelle Megna
Contributing Researcher

Michelle is a writer, editor and expert on car insurance and personal finance. She's a former CarInsurance.com editorial director. Prior to joining CarInsurance.com, she reported and edited articles on technology, lifestyle, education and government for magazines, websites and major newspapers, including the New York Daily News.