New York drivers are more courteous, but there's still a way to go: report
City drivers are likely to flip you off, honk their horns and even try to ram into your car on purpose -- and that's still an improvement in behavior over the past few years, according to a survey released yesterday.
In a survey commissioned by Autovantage, a roadside assistance provider, NYC had the 10th least courteous drivers in the nation, an upgrade from 2009 when it sat atop of the list at No. 1. This year's least courteous city of all: Houston.
City drivers ditching bad habits such as changing lanes without signaling and tailgating accounted for the rankings change. They are also less distracted than they used to be, thanks to strong educational campaigns and laws against texting and cellphone use while behind the wheel, according to AutoVantage's Robert DiPietro.
"The big thing that we saw specifically in New York drivers is they've seemed to have stepped away from their phones," DiPietro said. "When they're driving they're a little less distracted."
Still, there is more progress to be made in drivers' behavior before the city can compete with Portland, Oregon, the most courteous city in the nation.
The city is still ranked near the top when it comes to drivers that run red lights and slam the brakes. New Yorkers ranked second in drivers who admitted to purposefully running into another vehicle. They were three times more likely to admit doing so this year than in the 2009 survey.
Between March 27 and April 4, the survey polled 2,500 people older than 21 who drove to work during rush hour at least three days a week.
Bob Erickson, a 61-year-old Blue Point, Long Island, resident who drives frequently in the city, said others behind the wheel show their impatience while on the road.
"It's not road rage, but it's very aggressive driving. There's a lot of honking," Erickson said. "New York is still number one" in aggressive driving, he insisted.
Julian Gilbert, a 27-year-old photographer in the East Village, copped to being as rude on the road as the drivers she shares the road with.
"I've given obscene gestures," she said, as a car passenger and a cyclist.