Boston, MA– Despite Bostonians’ reputation for being complete Massholes on the road, Boston does not rank in the top ten U.S. cities with the most aggressive drivers, according to data from the smartphone app GasBuddy. Boston came in at #14, with drivers only 4% more aggressive than in an average American city.
That relatively low ranking seems unlikely, based on personal experience and common knowledge. See this video posted by Redditor “kibitzor’’ in 2015 that highlights some Masshole maneuvers. Aggressive driving is really just a baseline requirement for surviving on certain roads in Massachusetts.
The data is definitely open to interpretation. GasBuddy measured “aggressiveness” by tracking gas mileage efficiency, reasoning that more aggressive drivers will visit the pump more often due to their tendency to accelerate suddenly, drive over the speed limit, and brake hard. Let me assure you—there is definitely some road aggression going on in the Boston area that’s not measurable in terms of gas mileage.
In addition to our gas-guzzling modes of expression—gunning it to get around someone going the speed limit, racing on the highway, tailgating someone who really has no business being in the left lane—we also have a great capacity to express ourselves verbally and with hand gestures, or by using our melodious car horns. There are all kinds of ways we’re being aggressive without wasting gas.
Cutting someone off when changing lanes can’t be measured in trips to the gas station. Neither can putting on your hazards and just stopping wherever, without any regard for the poor sucker stuck behind you. Traffic signals are really more of a recommendation for seasoned Bostonian drivers or pedestrians, and if we think we can get away with something, we’re gonna do it. There’s plenty of aggression to go around here.
Los Angeles came in at #1 as the city with the most aggressive drivers, according to GasBuddy. Interestingly, Boston and LA had the same average number of hours spent in traffic—164 hours per driver in both metropolitan areas in 2018.
We’ll have plenty of opportunities for aggressive driving with the upcoming construction on the Tobin Bridge, starting April 1 and projected to continue until 2021.