The car horn probably was the first automotive device designed to send messages to other drivers.
Since the creation of the car horn, motorists have turned to other means of expression, especially when they are upset.
A new national survey by Prince Market Research for AutoVantage finds Houston to be the most vehemently discourteous city in the country when it comes to driving.
Places two through five are occupied by Atlanta, Baltimore, Washington and Boston.
By comparison to drivers in other cities, Houstonians are most likely to see another driver cut them off, most likely to cut off other drivers, most likely to see someone slam on the brakes and most likely to talk on cell phones while driving.
This is just what the respondents are willing to confess. Can you imagine what kind of driving behavior they won’t admit?
Let’s look on the positive side. Perhaps Houston drivers are the most likely to yield to longhorn cattle.
According to the research, Atlantans are most likely to bump another driver intentionally to let him know he’s a lousy driver.
They’re also most likely to see another driver speeding, which is a little bit counterintuitive given the backups on Interstates 75, 85, 285 and 20 during the rush hours.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Atlantans are the most likely to continue driving with the plastic orange cones they hit still stuck to their bumpers.
The results come from surveys of 2,500 people aged 21 and older who drive during weekday rush hour traffic no fewer than three days per week.
Baltimore and Orlando tied for most likely to have drivers who put on makeup or read while driving.
That tendency toward distracted driving might lead to Baltimore’s more notorious distinction — the city most likely to have drivers who express their feelings with an extended middle finger.
Of course, it might be difficult to see that middle finger, let alone respond to it, if one is putting on makeup or reading while driving.
Ah, the advantages of multitasking.
Now here’s a finding that makes sense. Chicago, the ninth least courteous driving city in the country, is most likely to have drivers who curse, wave their arms and shake their fists at their fellow drivers.
The city of big shoulders, hog butcher for the world, Carl Sandburg called it.
Of course, any city known for Al Capone, Dennis Rodman and Rod Blagojevich has a lot to cuss about.
If you want to know where the nice drivers are, Portland tops that list, followed by Pittsburgh (except when the Steelers are playing, I suspect), St. Louis, San Francisco and Charlotte.
Sorry, Tennesseans, but Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis were not surveyed.
When will we learn how we conduct ourselves in times of stress behind the wheel? We’ll just have to cross that bridge or that pothole when we come to it.
Do you think it might be time to revive those television public service announcements that reminded us to “drive defensively” and “watch out for the other guy?”