The dangerous, widely illegal behavior is more aggravating than tailgating. Still, many cop to using phone behind the wheel.
Texting while driving is not only dangerous and illegal in 43 states and Washington, D.C., it's also annoying for other drivers.
Extremely annoying — according to a survey out Friday.
Almost 7 in 10 American drivers — 69% — rate their fellow drivers who text, e-mail or talk on a phone while driving as among the most aggravating motorists on the road.
Despite gritting their teeth when they see others doing it, more than half of drivers — 55% — admit to using a mobile phone at least some of the time while driving, according to Expedia's 2014 Road Rage Report, a survey of 1,001 licensed drivers conducted April 29-May 5. It has a margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points.
"There's a belief out there that everybody is the problem except me, when actually you, in fact, are the problem," says Sarah Gavin, an Expedia travel expert. "There's a belief that if you're on the road traveling, one little text won't hurt that much. But when you have 30 million people out on the road and each of them wants to send just one little text, that's when (crashes) happen."
Those crashes are often fatal: 3,328 people died in distraction-related crashes in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; another 421,000 were injured. It's now illegal to text while driving in every state except Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.
Among the other behaviors of their fellow motorists that drivers find highly annoying: tailgating, multi-tasking (applying makeup, eating, reading, for example), straddling or weaving between lanes and driving well below the speed limit.
The Expedia survey, found that motorists believe the rudest drivers tend to cluster in the nation's big cities: 71% of respondents put New York among the five rudest driving cities; Los Angeles, at 22%, was second. And surprise, (whatever happened to Southern hospitality?) Atlanta came in third, at 9%.
Among other findings:
• Drivers are generally pessimistic about gas prices, with 96% believing they'll pay more at the pump this summer. Nevertheless, 56% see a road trip as an "ideal" way to spend a vacation. "To me, that says Americans are starting to get over their economic hangover," Gavin says.
• Drivers are considerate, and frugal-minded, when they rent a car: 61% of respondents say they treat rental cars better than their own vehicles; 92% "always" refill the gas tank before returning a rental, perhaps to avoid paying outrageous rental agency refill prices.
• Printed maps are fading into obscurity: 40% use mobile phone apps such as Google and Apple maps for driving directions, 35% rely on dashboard GPS systems and 22% use printed maps.
• Finally, there's apparently a small, but very active community of drivers on American roads who flash the middle finger at other motorists: 69% of drivers in the survey report being "flipped off" by another driver. Only 17% admit to having done so themselves.