Which places are the most stressful to drive?

Driving can be stressful -- but where are you most likely to lose your patience in the U.S.?

We've all seen -- and many suffer -- the symptoms of road rage, that transient disease which turns people polite on the street into cursing, angry creatures who demonstrate their feelings with rude hand gestures and scowling.

The emotional response to driving -- whether it's fury at the boy racer or driver who goes at a snail pace -- can alter depending on location and context. To explore this further, Audi and the MIT's SENSEable City Lab are working together to combine real-time data on traffic, accidents, weather and driver opinions to create the "Road Frustration Index," a stress-based map of 30 areas in the United States.

The researchers designed a series of tests which measured stress with physiological sensors and body tracking through Microsoft's Kinect technology. The video below documents these tests -- taking place in a peak-hour drive through Boston -- and the results are quite surprising:

MIT researcher Kael Greco said:

"Intuitively we all understand that driving is stressful, but it was surprising to see how high. We want to identify what factors trigger stress.

I think it's really interesting looking at it from the urban perspective, the stress-scapes of the city... what intersections and what areas of the city trigger the highest response."

Americans spend just under an hour a day on average on the road -- so investigating the impact of stress may help us understand health factors. If these sort of ideas take off, perhaps we'll see stress-based options plugged into our future navigation systems.

Via: Fast Co.Exist

Image credit: MIT

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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