Stay calm and drive on: Don’t let road rage ruin your holidays

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The holidays bring joy and cheer, but can also lead to increased stress and aggression behind the wheel. According to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year.

Approximately 8 million U.S. drivers engaged in more extreme examples of road rage, including purposefully ramming another vehicle or getting out of the car to confront another driver. As a record 97.4 million drivers prepare to hit the road for the holidays, AAA warns drivers to avoid aggression when behind the wheel this holiday season.

“The holidays can be stressful as driver’s head to busy shopping centers for that perfect gift or battle congested freeways while traveling,” said Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs, AAA East Central. “Minor frustrations have the potential to turn deadly if drivers act out their anger on the road. Travelers should be sure to pack their patience and remember to be respectful when behind the wheel this holiday season.”

Nearly three in four drivers believe that aggressive driving is a bigger problem today than three years ago, while nine out of 10 believe aggressive drivers are a serious threat to their personal safety.

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

– Do Not 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 is not personal.

– Do Not Respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle and contact 9-1-1 if needed.

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 81 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. News releases are available at Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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