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Holiday shopping parking tips

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Fri, Dec 20th 2019 04:35 pm

Nearly 80% of drivers express significant anger, aggression or road rage

By AAA of Western and Central New York

While the holidays are usually a time of joy and cheer, getting ready for them can be stressful and overwhelming – especially if you’re rushing. The final shopping weekend is upon us, which means shoppers are anxious to check off their lists!

Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAAFTS) finds nearly 80% of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once over a one-year span.

AAA Western and Central New York is reminding motorists to pack their patience this weekend.

The most alarming findings from the AAAFTS study suggest millions of U.S. drivers engaged in extreme examples of road rage, including:

  • Purposefully tailgating: 51% (104 million drivers)
  • Yelling at another driver: 47% (95 million drivers)
  • Honking to show annoyance or anger: 45% (91 million drivers)
  • Making angry gestures: 33% (67 million drivers)
  • Trying to block another vehicle from changing lanes: 24% (49 million drivers)
  • Cutting off another vehicle on purpose: 12% (24 million drivers)
  • Getting out of the vehicle to confront another driver: 4% (8 million drivers)
  • Bumping or ramming another vehicle on purpose: 3% (6 million drivers)

“Everyone wants the perfect gift for the holidays, and emotions can run high trying to find it,” said Elizabeth Carey, director of public relations at AAA WCNY. “Minor frustrations in parking lots or on the road can turn deadly when drivers take their anger out on other drivers.”

Road rage includes purposefully tailgating; yelling at another driver; honking; making angry gestures; trying to block another vehicle from changing lanes; cutting off another vehicle on purpose; getting out of the vehicle to confront another driver; and – perhaps the most dangerous of all – bumping or ramming another vehicle on purpose.

AAA offers these tips to help prevent road rage this shopping season:

Follow the rules of the road

  • Maintain adequate following distance.
  • Use turn signals.
  • Allow others to merge.
  • Tap your horn if you must (but no long blasts with accompanying hand gestures).
  • Be considerate in parking lots.
  • Remaining calm and courteous behind the wheel lowers your risk of an unpleasant encounter.

Dealing with Confrontation

  • Don’t respond to aggression with aggression.
  • If you feel you are at risk, drive to a public place such as a police station, hospital or fire station.
  • If you are confronted, stay as calm and courteous as possible.
  • If you feel threatened, call 911.

Always Remember

  • Don’t Offend: Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
  • Be Tolerant and Forgiving: The other driver may just be having a really bad day. Assume that it’s not personal.
  • Do Not Respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle and contact 9-1-1 if needed.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA provides more than 885,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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