AAA warns of aggressive holiday driving and offers advice for dealing with road rage

Tensions could be higher than normal on the roadways this holiday season, due to the combination of everyday stress, the pandemic and the holiday season itself. AAA urges motorists to keep their cool and offers tips to avoid aggressive driving behaviors that could escalate into road rage.

“A driver may be stressed or react wrongly to another driver’s action on any given day, and the holidays can add to the strain and anxiety,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Introduce the pressures and concerns tied to a global pandemic, and even the calmest, most safety-conscious drivers can find themselves frustrated by other motorists.”

According to a new AAA survey, nearly 8 in 10 (79%) American drivers admitted to aggressive behaviors within the past 30 days. The most common actions were:

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  • 48% – Speeding (driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a crowded freeway)
  • 34% – Tailgating (following a vehicle in front of you closely to prevent another vehicle from merging)
  • 32% – Making rude gestures or honking at other drivers
  • 31% – Running a red light
  • 26% – Aggressive driving: switching lanes quickly or drove very close behind another car

“Speeding, red-light running, and cutting other drivers off can kill you, your passengers, and others sharing the road,” said Jenkins. “Driving aggressively isn’t worth the risk. When you get behind the wheel, be patient, be kind, and obey traffic laws so everyone gets home safely.”

Tips to Discourage Aggressive Driving

If you remain calm and courteous behind the wheel, this lowers your risk of an unpleasant encounter with another driver and law enforcement.

  • Follow posted speed limits.
  • Maintain an adequate following distance.
  • Use turn signals.
  • Allow others to merge.
  • Use your high beams responsibly.
  • Be considerate in parking lots—Park in one spot, not across multiple spaces. Be careful not to hit cars next to you with your door.

Tips for Dealing with a Road Rage Encounter

  • Avoid eye contact
  • If you are confronted, stay as calm and courteous as possible
  • Don’t respond to aggression with aggression
  • If you feel threatened, call 911.
  • If you feel at risk, drive to a public place such as a police station, hospital or fire station
  • When you park, allow room so you can pull out safely if someone approaches you aggressively.
  • Use your horn to attract attention but remain in your locked vehicle

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