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Revved Up About #Roadrage: Analyzing Over 100,000 Instagram Posts That Mention #Roadrage

Revved Up About #Roadrage: Analyzing Over 100,000 Instagram Posts That Mention #Roadrage

We’ve all been there. You’re driving to work or home from school. Someone comes flying past on a busy road or rides your bumper too close to make you drive faster.

Regardless of how even-keeled you might be under normal circumstances, it’s human nature for a little bit of road rage to bubble up to the surface in these moments of irritation.

But what’s the limit, and when does it go too far? We looked at over 100,000 Instagram posts since 2011 tagged with #RoadRage to better understand that times of year when other people and circumstances are most likely to get under our skin as drivers, along with the cities and states with the worst people in which to share the road. Continue reading to see what we learned.

Seasonal Tempers

When Do People Post About #Roadrage by Month and Day of Week

With gas prices on the decline from previous years, more Americans today are traveling by car, and one study found that 80 percent of American families planned to take a road trip in the summer of 2017. With the summer road trip season kicked off with Memorial Day, most Americans may be driving right into a national #RoadRage pandemic.

Our study of #RoadRage on Instagram revealed the most popular month for posts between 2013 and 2017 was in May. While March has been the most popular in 2017 thus far, August has historically been a peak season for aggressive driving captured on social media.

Drivers heading out of town for the weekend, or just people excited to be off from work for a few days, may have contributed to the spike in #RoadRage posts on Fridays over any other day of the week. In contrast, Instagram users posted the least about their horn-blasting ways on Sundays and Mondays.  

 

Not missing this at all #traffic #401traffic #slowdrive #2hourslater #stillgladtocomehome #roadrage

A post shared by Bill Campbell (@billym31) on Jul 18, 2017 at 3:15pm PDT

Tantrum Trends

The Percentage Increase in Posts That Mention #Roadrage from 2015 to 2016 by Month and Day of Week

The holidays are a time for bringing families together – and 2016 saw a record number of travelers trekking across the country to enjoy the company and scenery of a different destination over the holiday months. According to #RoadRage on Instagram,those months also saw an increase in rude gestures, frustration, and occasionally dangerous driving.

While the use of #RoadRage was down over most of the spring and summer in 2016, the months leading into the holidays saw a significant increase, peaking in December with a nearly 21 percent increase over 2015. Similarly, the start of the weekend also saw an increase over the previous year, with a more than 7 percent increase in #RoadRage posts shared on Fridays.  

There are many things about the busy holiday months that might be stirring people’s rage – from too many gifts to wrap to tourists causing traffic on calm roads. Experts suggest getting better sleep and listening to soothing music may help calm your nerves behind the wheel. Depending on what triggers you, soothing music may or may not refer to Christmas carols.

Timely Postings

What time of day do people post about #roadrage on Instagram?

You might expect a majority of #RoadRage Instagram posts to occur during driving hours – either in the early morning or evening as daily commuters rush to and from work. However, our study found the late evening hours between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. were the most common for Instagram posts about anger behind the wheel.

People who spend an excessive amount of time behind the wheel, or aren't getting enough sleep in the evenings, may suffer from something known as driver fatigue, which can impair one’s judgment and responsiveness while on the road. A drowsy driver is certainly a dangerous driver and may contribute to the frustration that transforms into #RoadRage among fellow drivers on the road. 

Changing Seasons

The Percentage Increase in Posts That Mention #Roadrage from 2015 to 2016 by Time of Day

We found that the late evening hours were some of the least popular times of the day for #RoadRage Instagram posts, with this trend picking up pace since 2015. On the other side of the clock, morning hours between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. saw a greater number of #RoadRage posts.

The number of Instagram posts tagged with #RoadRage in 2016 posted at 8 a.m. increased by nearly 28 percent in 2016. Rush hour traffic can be one of the most dangerous times on the road, and whether traveling during the morning or afternoon rush, many safe driving tips can keep you (and the drivers around you) from experiencing that slow burning rage that accumulates amid traffic.

Smartphone apps may even help you avoid accidents or congestion when possible, but be sure not to let your phone distract you from keeping a careful eye on the road at all times.

Can We Take the Train Instead?

The Cities With the most Posts that Mention #Roadrage, Per Capita

One of the most iconic symbols in all of New York City is a yellow cab. While this may be due to the number of tourists and commuters needing transportation in and out of the city on a daily basis, there’s a well-regarded truth when it comes to NYC traffic: it’s terrible.

Gridlock on any given corner is no surprise, and some locals believe it’s occasionally orchestrated intentionally by local officials to discourage people from driving in the Big Apple. Maybe that’s why New York City ranked as the most popular location for #RoadRage Instagram posts three years in a row.

New York City isn’t the only New York location where the traffic and chaotic roads may make you prefer walking. Brooklyn overtook Atlanta, Georgia, in 2016 as the second most common city for #RoadRage posts and holds the second place title in 2017 – so far.

Other cities where you might want to avoid their roads if possible? Miami, San Francisco, Orlando, and San Diego. All four cities ranked among the top 10 for most popular areas with the #RoadRage tag since 2013.

 

Everyone, everywhere trying to get to work in the morning in San Diego. #roadrage #traffic #socal #mondays #icanteven

A post shared by Jeremy Eastburg (@katagasm) on Jul 20, 2017 at 8:50am PDT

Statewide Driving

The States With the most Posts that Mention #Roadrage, Per Capita

Well-populated states with some of the nation’s busiest cities – and especially the ones with high levels of tourism year-round – have managed to eke out top spots for #RoadRage across the U.S. between 2015 and today. However, Nebraska and Alaska stood out from the pack for the most #RoadRage posts in 2017.  

D.C. may be home to our political leaders, but it’s particularly well-known for its terrible traffic and congested roads. In 2015, D.C. earned the top stop for #RoadRage over anywhere in America until it was bested in 2016 by New York. There’s no question the traffic in New York isn’t the state’s finest attraction. However, New York may not stay at the top for long – the leading state for aggravated driving and social media posts in 2017 is Nebraska.

However, some states didn’t even have enough hashtags to qualify for our study – but as this post from Wyoming shows, #RoadRage can come in all shapes and sizes.

Popular #RoadRage Posts

The Average Number of Likes Per Post, by Region

Some cities and states certainly have a reputation for adopting the #RoadRage tag with more frequency than others. Whether it’s bad traffic or just the number of drivers on the road, there are always those particular roads (think major highways) you wish you could avoid en route to your destination.

Despite cities and states in the West North Central region of the U.S. being absent from the top 10 list (except for Nebraska), residents from this area still had the most likes on their #RoadRage Instagram posts.

If you happened to share your experience with frustration on a Midwestern road, your Instagram posts might earn more than 147 likes, on average. Places where the same kind of post might not resonate as well with your audience? States in the Southeast, including Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.

 

Then comes "can't hold it back anymore" 😡🎶❄️ #roadrage

A post shared by Garrett Ruhl (@garrett_ruhl) on Jul 16, 2017 at 1:52pm PDT

Protecting What Matters Most

If you find yourself on a busy road surrounded by drivers who don’t seem to have the best roadside manners, take a breath, breathe deeply, and keep your eyes on the road. #RoadRage may produce funny posts on the internet, but you want to do everything you can to protect your vehicle and the people in it from the dangerous consequences that aggressive driving can lead to.

At the Auto Insurance Center, we take your safety to a new level by helping you find the best auto insurance coverage at competitive rates. By providing you with the best driving tips, auto trends, and resources for you to compare car insurance options, Auto Insurance Center is your one-stop shop for everything you need to stay safe on the road.Visit us online at AutoInsuranceCenter.com to learn more.

Methodology

We collected over 100,000 #RoadRage Instagram posts since 2011 to analyze how the posting patterns of this hashtag have changed over the course of time. Instagram’s time stamps are in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). We converted them to Eastern Standard Time by subtracting four hours.

Sources

NOTE: If you're a journalist interested in covering this project, we encourage you to use any of the graphics included above. We just ask that you attribute Auto Insurance Center fairly in your coverage and provide a link to this page so that your audience can learn more about our work. If you'd like to discuss this project, or any of our other research, reach out to us at [email protected].