Road rage: Where in France are the most aggressive drivers?

French drivers do have a certain reputation for a - shall we say - robust style of driving, but it turns out that some regions are real hotspots for road rage.

Road rage: Where in France are the most aggressive drivers?
Be prepared for some rage if you drive in France. Arena Creative/Depositphotos

Seven out of 10 French drivers have admitted to screaming insults at other vehicles that annoy them on the road – way above the European average of 56 percent, according to a major inter-European survey of drivers conducted by motorway operators Vinci.

Almost six out of 10 French people admit to honking their horn in frustration, while a third said that they had also overtaken slow-moving traffic on the right on motorways.


The Vinci Foundation's 2019 Responsible Driving Barometer also reveals that the problem is getting worse year on year.

And within France there are some significant regional variations on the level of driver fury.

Topping the rage poll – as will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever attempted to drive round the Arc de Triomphe roundabout – are Parisians.

Is Paris traffic the reason for the city's high rage levels. Photo: AFP

Seventy four percent of Parisians admitted to screaming abuse at other drivers, whether with the window up or down, closely followed by the drivers of Marseille and the surrounding Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region at 70 per cent.

By contrast the most mellow French drivers are to be found in Nantes and Strasbourg, where a mere 64 per cent admitted to hurling abuse at fellow road users.

Parisians are also heaviest on the horn, perhaps unsurprisingly given the city's notorious traffic jams, with 70 percent admitting to using their horn in anger.

The more peaceful rural routes of Brittany, however, see just 20 per cent of drivers using their horn to express road rage.

Here is the full list of regional aggression

Ile-de-France – 74 per cent shout abuse and 70 per cent use the horn angrily

Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur – 70 per cent shout, 56 percent use the horn

Bourgogne-Franche-Comté – 70 percent shout, 64 use the horn

Centre-Val de Loire – 70 percent shout, 55 percent use the horn

Nouvelle Aquitaine – 68 percent shout, 60 use the horn

Hauts-de-France – 68 percent shout, 57 percent use the horn

Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes – 68 percent shout, 55 percent use the horn

Normandie 66 percent shout, 60 percent use the horn

Occitaine – 66 percent shout, 59 percent use the horn

Bretagne – 66 percent shout, 47 percent use the horn

Pays de Loire – 64 percent shout, 58 percent use the horn

Grand Est – 64 percent shout, 55 percent use the horn

The 2019 Responsible Driving Barometer, conducted by Ipsos for the Vinci Motorway Foundation from February 25th to March 13th, interviewed 12,418 people in 11 countries, including a minimum of 1,000 people per country.


French vocab

Klaxon de voiture – car horn

Crier des noms d’oiseaux – literally translated as 'shouting birds' names' this French phrase has a general sense of shouting an insulting remark at someone

Rage au volant – road rage

Putain – if you want to go the whole hog and join with the tirade of French abuse, you will need this handy word. Find out more about this most versatile of French swearwords here (warning, explicit language).










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Snobs, beaches and drunks – 5 things this joke map teaches us about France

A popular joke 'map' of France has once again been widely shared on social media, sparking endless jokes at the expense of certain regions of France.

Snobs, beaches and drunks - 5 things this joke map teaches us about France
Image AFP/
But while the map – created by – is clearly intended to be comic, it teaches us some important points about France’s regional divides, local stereotypes and in-jokes.

Here are some of the key points.
1. Everyone hates Parisians
The map is purportedly France as seen through the eyes of Parisians, and contains a series of snobbish and rude generalisations about every part of France that is not maison (home) in the capital and its surroundings. The great majority of the country is labelled simply as paysans (peasants).
The general stereotype about Parisians is that they are snobs, rudely judging the rest of the country which they regard as backwards and full of ploucs (yokels) apart from small areas which make nice holiday destinations.
Like all sweeping generalisations, this is true of some people and very much not of others, but one of the few things that can unite people from all areas of France is how much they hate les parigots têtes de veaux (a colloquialism that very roughly translates as ‘asshole Parisians’)
2. Staycations rule
Even before Covid-related travel restrictions, holidaying within France was the norm for many French people.
As the map shows, Parisians regard the southern and western coastlines as simply plages (beaches) which they decamp to for at least a month in July or August. In the height of summer French cities tend to empty out (apart from tourists) as locals head to the seaside or the countryside.
In winter the Pyrenees and Alps are popular ski destinations.
3. Northerners like a drink
There is a very widespread stereotype, although not really backed up by evidence, that the people of Normandy, Brittany and the Nord area like a drink or two. Many suggest this is to cope with the weather, which does tend to be rainier than the rest of France (although has plenty of sunshine too).
Official health data doesn’t really back this up, as none of these areas show a significantly greater than average rate of daily drinkers, although Nord does hold the sad record for the highest rate of people dying from alcohol-related liver disease.
What’s certainly true is that Brittany and Normandy are cider country, with delicious locally-produced ciders on sale everywhere, well worth a try if you are visiting.
4. Poverty
The map labels the north eastern corner of France as simply pauvres – the poor.
The north east of the country was once France’s industrial and coal-mining heartland, and as traditional industries have declined there are indeed pockets of extreme poverty and high unemployment. The novel The End of Eddy, telling the story of novelist Edouard Louis’ childhood in a struggling small town near Amiens, lays out the social problems of such areas in stark detail.
However poverty is not just confined to one corner of France and the département that records the highest levels of deprivation is actually Seine-Saint-Denis in the Paris suburbs.
5. Southern prejudice
According to the map, those from the south are either branleurs (slackers) or menteurs (liars). 
This isn’t true, obviously, there are many lovely, hard-working and truthful people in southern France, but the persistent stereotype is that they are lazy – maybe because it’s too hot to do much work – and slightly shifty.
Even people who aren’t actually rude about southerners can be pretty patronising, as shown when south west native Jean Castex became the prime minister in summer 2020. 
Castex has a noticeable south west accent which sparked much comment from the Paris-based media and political classes, with comments ranging from the patronising – “I love his accent, I feel like I’m on holiday” – to the very patronising – “that accent is a bit rugby” (a reference to the fact that TV rugby commentators often come from France’s rugby heartlands in the south west).
In his first year as PM, Castex has undertaken a dizzying schedule of appointments around the four corners of France, so hopefully the lazy myth can now be put to bed.
And anyone tempted to take the piss out of his accent – glottophobie (accent prejudice) is now a crime in France.
For more maps that reflect France, head to