What happened to Southern hospitality? While it may still be vogue for face-to-face communication, apparently it's disappeared on the roadways of at least two major Southern cities.
According to a recent report on road rage conducted by AutoVantage, a roadside assistance company, Houston and Atlanta were listed as the two cities with the least courteous drivers in the United States.
The study, titled In the Driver's Seat Road Rage Survey, was conducted between March 27, 2014, and April 4, 2014, during which time 2,500 consumers age 21 and above, and who personally drove during rush hour (Monday through Friday) no fewer than 3 days per week, were surveyed.
Houston was crowned as having the least courteous drivers in the U.S. In comparison with the 2009 version of the survey, Houston has "moved up" in the ratings from eighth least courteous overall. Atlanta and Baltimore placed second and third, respectively, in this dubious category. Washington, D.C., and Boston rounded out the top five "least courteous" driving cities.
On the happier side of the street we find that, for the second time in five years, Portland was identified as the city with the most courteous drivers. Pittsburgh retained its spot in the top five, moving from fifth place to second, and St. Louis placed third overall for courteous drivers in 2014.
Other cities surveyed in 2014 include Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle and Tampa Bay. Observations for each city from the survey can be found here.
The good news, if there ever is any when it comes to road rage, is that a team of European car researchers are working on an in-car infrared camera system that tracks your facial expressions while you're behind the wheel and picks up that quick expression change from joyful to vengeful that occurs when road rage sets in. The camera is programmed to track what the researchers deemed to be the seven most universal emotions that our faces show -- fear, anger, joy, sadness, disgust, surprise and suspicion. The algorithms pick up what are considered to be the very specific facial muscle movements of these common emotions.
The system is currently being developed by EPFL's Signal Processing 5 Laboratory (LTS5) in association with PSA Peugeot Citroen. Hopefully, help for road ragers everywhere, along with the rest of us, is on the way.