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Road Rage Survey Reveals Best, Worst Cities

NORWALK, Conn., May 16, 2006 -- The first annual In The Driver's Seat Road Rage Survey, commissioned by AutoVantage, a leading national auto club, found that the least courteous city in the country is Miami, followed by Phoenix and New York. The other two cities in the bottom five were Los Angeles and Boston. The most courteous city is Minneapolis, followed closely by Nashville, Tenn., St. Louis, Seattle and Atlanta.

The In The Driver's Seat 2006 AutoVantage Road Rage Survey, released today, was conducted to determine the driving habits and attitudes of commuters across the U.S. and to learn more about consumer views on the topic of Road Rage.

"Road rage has unfortunately too often become a way of life, both on and off the track," said NASCAR driving legend and AutoVantage spokesman Bobby Hamilton. "More and more, in cities across America, people are acting out their frustrations with dangerous results. It's bad for professional and everyday drivers alike.

"Our new Road Rage survey shines the light on emerging driving trends, and there are some very interesting results."

  The survey's best and worst are:

  Least Courteous Cities (Worst Road Rage):
  -- Miami
  -- Phoenix
  -- New York
  -- Los Angeles
  -- Boston

  Most Courteous Cities (Least Road Rage):
  -- Minneapolis
  -- Nashville
  -- St. Louis
  -- Seattle
  -- Atlanta

Other cities surveyed include Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington/Baltimore.

"This new study focuses on important attitudes and habits of drivers on the open road nationwide," said Brad Eggleston, vice president of AutoVantage. "This groundbreaking research is an important tool to help educate and influence safer driving habits throughout the United States."

When asked the major causes of road rage in the survey, the most frequent theme was people being in a hurry, running late, being impatient and/or speeding.

  -- "They are in a rush to get somewhere"
  -- "People leaving too late and being in a hurry"
  -- "People not going by the speed limit"

American drivers also feel that stress, frustration, bad moods, and being generally aggressive contribute to the widespread phenomenon of road rage.

  -- "People being stressed out"
  -- "People cut you off and do not signal"
  -- "They think the road belongs to them"

Behaviors by other drivers that cause stress for commuters, and which can lead to road rage, include:

  -- Driving too fast (57 percent observe this happening every day)
  -- Tailgating (50 percent see this every day)
  -- Cutting over without notice (44 percent see this every day)

  Commuters also reported that other drivers frequently:
  -- Talk on their cell phones (98 percent observe this at least once a
  -- Run red lights (59 percent observe this at least once a week)
  -- Slam on the brakes (54 percent see this happening at least once a week)

As a reaction to rude or bad driving by others, people surveyed reported that they:

  -- Honked their horn at the offending driver (40 percent)
  -- Cursed at the other driver (32 percent)
  -- Waved their fist or arms (9 percent)
  -- Made an obscene gesture (8 percent)
  -- Called the police to report the driver (5 percent)

About one in one hundred (1 percent) said that they actually slammed into the car in front of them, although not always intentionally. "One time someone plowed into me, so I plowed into the back of another car," said one respondent.

  Other key findings of the study:
  -- Younger drivers, and those who have the farthest commutes are most
     likely to react to an aggressive or rude driver.
  -- There is no real difference between men and women when it comes to road
  -- Besides talking on the cell phone while driving, the one thing that
     drivers in this survey were most likely to have done is drive too fast
     (64 percent admit that they do this at least some of the time).
  -- Tailgating. Drivers in Miami are most likely to see this behavior daily
     (63 percent), while drivers in St. Louis are the least like to see this
     (41 percent).
  -- Slamming on the brakes. Drivers in Los Angeles (33 percent) and Miami
     (33 percent) are most likely to witness this behavior daily, while
     drivers in Minneapolis are least likely (14 percent).
  -- Stealing parking spots. One-half (51 percent) witness this behavior
     once in a while. Drivers in Miami (8 percent) are more likely to see
     someone "stealing" their parking space than drivers in Dallas/Ft.
     Worth, Washington/Baltimore and Cleveland.
  -- Running red lights. One-fourth (24 percent) said they see drivers every
     day who run through red lights.
  -- Driving too fast. Drivers in Dallas/Ft. Worth (68 percent) are more
     likely to see drivers driving too fast than those in Minneapolis (47
     percent) and Cleveland (47 percent).
  -- Talking on Cell Phone. Eighty percent say they see drivers every day
     talking on their cell phone.  A full 91 percent of Dallas/Ft. Worth
     drivers said they see this behavior daily.

Overall, 30 percent said they see drivers doing other things like putting on makeup, shaving or reading while driving. Los Angeles (43 percent) emerged as the city where this is most likely to be seen, while Seattle (18 percent) emerged as the place where this behavior is least likely to happen.

Bobby Hamilton

Bobby Hamilton, a spokesman for AutoVantage, is the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion after achieving four career NASCAR Winston Cup Series victories. He founded Bobby Hamilton Racing, which owns and operates three trucks in the NASCAR circuit.

Survey Methodology

Prince Market Research, an independent marketing research company, was commissioned to conduct a nationally representative telephone study with consumers in 20 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. to learn more about consumer views on road rage. All telephone calls were conducted between Jan. 27 and March 8, 2006, during which period, a total of 2,040 interviews, lasting an average of five minutes, were completed. No incentive was offered and the sponsor of the research was not revealed. The margin of error is +/- 2.2 percent.

About AutoVantage

Members of AutoVantage ( or 1-800-876-7787) can save from 5 to 20 percent on car care at some 19,000 service locations, including participating AAMCO, Jiffy Lube, Meineke and American Car Care Center locations. AutoVantage also offers 24-hour nationwide emergency towing, roadside assistance, and lockout protection from its network of more than 10,000 emergency roadside assistance providers. Trip routing for maps and door-to-door driving directions across the U.S. are also included. AutoVantage is offered by Affinion Group, a leader in the membership, insurance and loyalty marketing businesses, providing products and services that touch the lives of millions of Americans.

About Affinion Group

Affinion Group is a leading affinity direct marketer of value-added membership, insurance and package enhancement programs and services to consumers. With more than 30 years of experience, Affinion Group currently offers its programs and services worldwide through more than 4,500 affinity partners. Its diversified base of affinity partners includes leading companies in a wide variety of industries, including financial services, retail, travel, telecommunications, utilities and Internet. Affinion Group also has a growing loyalty solutions operation that administers points-based loyalty programs. Based in Norwalk, Conn., Affinion Group has approximately 3,600 employees throughout the United States and in 13 countries across Europe.