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(Graphic courtesy of AAA of Western and Central New York)
(Graphic courtesy of AAA of Western and Central New York)

Tensions are high - avoid road rage this holiday shopping season


Fri, Nov 26th 2021 06:55 am

AAA shares tips to keep holidays bright

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. This year, there’s an added level of anxiety amid the ongoing pandemic with supply chain issues impacting shopping, continued concern over COVID-19, new mask mandates in some areas like Erie County, distractions, and more. Don’t let the stress of today’s society impact you when driving your vehicle.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAAFTS) finds many drivers engaged in unsafe driving behaviors in 2020:

√ 45.1% have driven 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway;

√ 25.6% have driven through a red light that just turned red;

√ 21.3% have driven aggressively by switching lanes or purposefully tailgating;

√ 37.2% have driven while holding and talking on a cell phone; and

√ 33.9% have driven while reading a text or email on a cell phone.

“The holidays are especially stressful on drivers – everyone wants the perfect gift, and emotions can run high trying to find it,” said Elizabeth Carey, director of public relations at AAA WCNY. “Minor frustrations in parking lots can turn deadly when drivers take their anger out on other drivers. It’s important to use caution and (end) 2021 as safely as possible.”

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 and 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.
  • Remember that shoppers may need extra time to sanitize hands and remove masks before exiting a parking space.

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.

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, and contact 9-1-1 if needed.

Looking for more advice on the road? Find more details here: News & Safety.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 887,000 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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