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AAA research finds unsafe driving behaviors on the rise
By AAA of Western and Central New York
The final weekend of holiday shopping is here! With many shoppers anxious to check off their lists, the pressure is on! The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and cheer, but they can also be stressful and overwhelming – especially if you’re rushing.
AAA has tips to keep calm and enjoy the season.
New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAAFTS) finds that unsafe driving behaviors – including speeding, red-light running, drowsy driving and driving impaired on cannabis or alcohol – rose from 2020 to 2021. The survey also shows that road rage is a growing concern, with 23% of drivers surveyed admitting to driving aggressively by switching lanes quickly or tailgating very close behind another car. That figure is up nearly 8% from 2020 to 2021.
Foundation research over the years finds that the vast majority 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 holiday season.
“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 even bumping or ramming another vehicle on purpose. AAA offers these safety tips:
Follow 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.
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.
√ 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.
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.