Where has all the road rage gone?
Whatever happened to Bodymore, Murderland? When did we change from Harm City to Charm City? Did we collectively take an anger management class? How did we get so nice all of a sudden?
According to a survey by the car care club AutoVantage, Baltimore has gone from No. 4 in its annual road rage ranking to being the region with the third-fewest angry drivers within the course of one year.
That's right. Baltimore has gone from being the City that Bellowed in 2008 to the City that Mellowed in 2009, according to the fourth annual Driver's Seat Road Rage Survey of 24 metropolitan areas.
The only possible explanation is that people have been reading my Getting There columns on auto safety.
The survey found that the least courteous city -- that is, the one with the most road rage this year -- was New York, which moved from No. 3 in 2008 to dethrone Miami. The city with the least road rage, according to AutoVantage, was Portland, Ore., followed by Cleveland and then -- I kid you not -- Baltimore.
Baltimore also ranked second, tied with Washington, as the city whhere drivers were least likely to be eating or drinking behind the wheel. (The Nation's Capital showed almost as dramatic an improvement as Baltimore, going from the 5th-worst in 2008 to the 6th-best this year. That's change we can marvel at, if not quite believe in.)
Meanwhile, the region that discovered its inner Viking was Minneapolis/St. Paul, which slipped from 4th-best last year to 5th-worst this year. Musta been a bad winter. You betcha.
The telephone survey found that the most frequent explanations for road rage were:
--Careless driving, cutting others off, speeding, tailgating, giving the one-finger salute and failing to signal.
--People who were angry or stressed or were having a bad day.
--People in a hurry.
--Traffic problems such as accidents and construction.
--Inconsiderate or disrespectful drivers.
Among thebehaviors that annoy us most when people other than ourselves do it: talking on cell phones (84 percent), speeding (58 percent), tailgating (53 percent), eating and drinking behind the wheel (48 Percent) and texting or emailing while driving (37 percent).
The survey, based on 2,518 interviews, was conducted between Jan. 8 and March 24.