Get Ready: Aggressive Driving Is Worse During The Holidays

If you’re hitting the roadways a lot this holiday season, State Farm and KRC Research warn you to be on your guard against aggressive driving. In a recent online survey of 1,000 US drivers over the age of 18, the companies found that nearly two out of three (64 percent) of drivers had experienced an act of such behavior six times or more in the past three months.

Furthermore, close to one-third of drivers said their likelihood to engage in aggressive driving increased during the winter holidays. The survey also revealed the following key findings:

• Forty-four percent of drivers admitted to aggressive driving behaviors in the past three months.

• Thirty-two percent of younger drivers (ages 18-29), 28 percent of middle aged drivers (ages 30-49) and parents (30 percent) were more likely to report provocation or engage in aggressive driving behaviors during the holiday season compared to just nine percent of drivers 50 years and older and non-parents (15 percent).

• Close to 50 percent of respondents saw men and women as “equally courteous” when driving, while men were perceived (by 54 percent) as the most commonly occurring aggressive drivers. Only 10 percent said that women were.

• If drivers were to respond in an aggressive manner, the top situations that would lead to such a reaction broke down as follows: traffic jams (63 percent), running late (55 percent), and road closures or construction (47 percent).

“These findings reinforce how important it is to keep safety top of mind when driving every day, but especially during heavy travel times like the winter holidays,” said Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm. “Both negative and positive emotions can affect the way drivers behave and it’s vital to be aware of your state of mind and continually refocus your attention on the road and practicing safe driving behaviors.”

Fatalities

For some of the deadliest behaviors behind four wheels and two, we turn to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), which notes that in the deadliest crashes (cars, trucks, and motorcycles), the following five behaviors were most to blame:

• Driving too fast for conditions or in excess of posted speed limit (20.8 percent)

• Under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication (13.8 percent)

• Failure to keep in proper lane (9.2 percent)

• Failure to yield to right of way (7.2 percent)

• Distracted driving (phone, talking, eating, etc., 7.1 percent)

Safety Tips

So if you’re out on the roads this winter, steer clear of the aggressive driving trap. Here are some tips that you can implement for staying safe and keeping your cool.

1. Follow the speed limit or go slower in inclement weather conditions. Worry first about getting to your destination safely, instead of making good time.

2. Use side- and rear-view mirrors as well as an extra set of eyes, if traveling with one or more people before changing lanes or passing. And on the topic of passing, never attempt it on a double-yellow.

3. Keep a safe distance from the car in front of you. It’s courteous and it can prevent accidents, should an animal run out in front of the other car or if the driver pushes his brakes for any other reason.

4. Take deep breaths. Controlling your emotions is essential during this elevated risk time. Don’t make decisions that can affect the rest of your life over a trip to the supermarket or a family member’s house. It’s not worth it.

Finally, plan for driving conditions. As I sit here writing this, I’m looking out a window where six inches of snow are resting on a sheet of ice. We saw this coming, and so my family was sure to make our grocery store trips in the days leading up to the event. Always be prepared, don’t drive if you don’t have to, and if you do, equip your tires with chains and go slowly.

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