Poll: Traffic in the United States

Alongside the traffic, there's the other kind of congestion: Two-thirds of Americans are concerned about the effect of auto exhaust on their health, although fewer (four in 10) concede that their own driving is much to blame.

Like it/Love it

Yet, as noted, for all the watercooler gripes, 60 percent of people who work outside the home say they like their daily commute.

How so? One secret is a sane trip: Happy commuters tend not to work in cities, report below-average travel times and distances and say their local traffic isn't bad. Among people who work in towns or rural areas (four in 10 commuters), 71 percent like the commute; but among those who work in big cities (three in 10 commuters) it's 24 points lower.

The Commute: Liking it
Work in rural/town71
Work in suburb56
Work in city47
<15 min. commute74
>30 min. commute42
<5 min. traffic delay74
>15 min. traffic delay40
Good local traffic71
Bad local traffic46

Long commutes are no fun: Enjoyment is 32 points higher among people who spend 15 minutes or fewer each way on their daily commute, compared with those who take more than a half-hour. Similarly, people with a long-distance commute are 22 points less likely to say they like it.

Indeed, about a quarter of commuters say the main reason they like it is because they're blessed with a short or easy route. More, nearly four in 10, like the quiet time alone or the break between home and work. And others report simple pleasures such as the scenery or listening to music or the radio.

Detroit may enjoy one finding: By a 10-point margin, people who "love" their cars are more apt to like their commute. Environmentalists may dislike another: It's SUVs that win the most affection. Among the one in six Americans who drive an SUV, half love it. Among sedan drivers, by contrast, just 35 percent love their cars.

Behaving Badly

One common experience on the road is bad behavior. Majorities of motorists say they often see other drivers speeding (reported by 82 percent), driving inattentively (71 percent) or driving aggressively (64 percent).

Four in 10 often see others run a red light or stop sign; 34 percent often witness "impolite gestures," and 27 percent often see other drivers exhibiting road rage -- "uncontrollable anger toward another driver on the road."

Traffic plays a big role. Among people who give the worst rating to their local traffic conditions, many more -- 41 percent -- see road rage, and 54 percent often see other drivers making angry or impolite gestures -- double the number who see it in good traffic.

Bad Behavior on the Roads
Local traffic: Ex/GoodLocal traffic: Poor
Often see: Impolite gestures27%54
Often see: Road rage2241

Given these, it's no wonder that 30 percent of drivers say they feel nervous about their safety on the road very or somewhat often. Include those who feel this way at least occasionally, and the number jumps to 56 percent -- a majority.

Feelings on the Road
Very oftenVery/SomewhatOccasionally or more
Nervous about safety123056

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Director Wes Craven attends the screening of Life Itself at the ArcLight Cinemas, June 26, 2014, in Hollywood, Calif.
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty Images
PHOTO: Kanye West accepts the Vanguard Award onstage during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
Christopher Polk/MTV1415/Getty Images
PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin works out at Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia, Aug. 30, 2015.
Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images