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Avoid road rage this holiday shopping season: AAA shares tips to keep holidays bright


Fri, Nov 24th 2023 07:00 am

By AAA of Western and Central New York

While the holidays are typically a time of joy and cheer, preparing for them can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s a tradition for many people to kick off their holiday shopping on Black Friday, when stores and parking lots are very crowded. Don’t let the stress and distractions of the shopping season impact you when driving your vehicle. AAA has tips to help drivers remain calm and in control this holiday season.

“The holidays are especially stressful for 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 drive as safely as possible.”

Aggressive driving is extremely common among U.S. drivers. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s 2019 data, nearly 80% of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the previous 30 days. It has increasingly become a major cause of concern for many road users.

No matter where drivers are traveling, they should avoid road rage, which 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 bumping 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.

•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 911 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 862,000 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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