By Diane Ako
Do you drive with aloha? A recent survey by a local insurance company put that question to a survey - with some surprising findings. First Insurance of Hawaii's survey looks to understand the level of courtesy extended by one driver to another in order to "bring back courtesy to our roadways and among Hawaii drivers."
Hawaii drivers were asked for their general perceptions regarding the overall level of courtesy of the drivers they encounter in their respective areas over the last five years. Oahu drivers are more inclined to believe other drivers are 58% less courteous today than they were five years ago compared to their Neighbor Island counterparts, who ranked only 49% less courteous. Really? Are the roads that bad?
More specifically, respondents were presented with a list of 12 instances or examples of poor driver behavior. They were then asked if they have encountered each from other drivers within the last three months. The survey says men were more likely to observe these types of behaviors than their female counterparts; 62% of the male drivers polled have observed another driver cutting them off, compared to the 50% of female drivers that have experienced the same behavior.
Twenty-eight percent of the male drivers polled have observed another driver making an obscene gesture at them compared to 17% of the female drivers that have experienced this. Sixteen percent of the male drivers polled have been tailgated compared to 2% for female drivers.
Other annoying road instances that Oahu drivers said they encountered:
Signaling late or not at all 92%
Not allowing you to merge 67%
Cutting you off on the road 56%
Honking at you in anger 29%
Stealing your parking spot 29%
Obstructing your vehicle from moving 28%
Waving their arm or fist 23%
Making obscene gestures towards you 22%
Flashing lights at you 22%
Yelling at you 1%
Disturbing! Have you encountered any of the above?
I'm not an aggressive driver, and I try to give myself enough time to get places on time, so that I don't stress out by running late. I haven't noticed or encountered most of these things, and because I avoid the mall at Christmas, I really don't see it (ha ha.)
I can think of one instance in the past year in which I was on the receiving end of "parking lot rage" - I was taking a client to the park, and I accidentally took a parking stall that someone else was waiting for. I would like to clarify that this was at a botanical garden on a weekday, not like Kapiolani Park on a Sunday - so it was definitely not a high stress, parking-at-a-premium situation.
I was enjoying the conversation and didn't realize that there was another car in the opposite direction waiting for the space. When I parked, the middle aged lady got out of the car and started speaking loudly and angrily at me that I should've been paying attention, she was there first, blah blah blah. The whole irony is that she easily found herself a space not too far away, so once again, why the drama?
After getting over the initial shock at being yelled at, I didn't get angry back. I apologized repeatedly to her, told her she was right, that I felt badly, and bade her a good day. It defused the situation.
Oh, sure, for a second, I was thinking, What the heck, Lady? But honestly, after experiencing mood swings of pregnancy and the incomparable fatigue of life with a newborn, I am actually more sympathetic to grouchy people. I just figure that maybe someone's having a bad day and I try not to take it personally. And getting mad back just ruins my day, so I try not to.
Do you think Hawaii drivers are rude or not?