CHICAGO, Ill. (WANE) — Watch out, drivers: aggressive behaviors on the road are likely to increase in December.
That’s thanks to the usual stresses of the holiday season and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to AAA – The Auto Club Group. That’s also why its more important now than ever for motorists to avoid dangerous driving habits.
“We want to encourage everyone to [drive safe in] in a time like this with the pandemic,” said Molly Hart, spokesperson for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “You know many hospitals and hospital beds are full with people with COVID-19, so let’s take a pause and be smart and be kind to one another when driving.”
A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that nearly 8 in 10 (79%) American drivers demonstrate aggressive behaviors when behind the wheel.
The State of Indiana defines aggressive driving as following a vehicle too closely, unsafe operation of a vehicle, overtaking another vehicle on the right by driving off the roadway, unsafe stopping or slowing a vehicle, unnecessary sounding of the horn, failure to yield, failure to obey a traffic control device, or driving at an unsafe speed and repeatedly flashing the vehicle’s headlights.
According to Hart, throughout the pandemic, drivers have shown a tendency to speed more. Although she did not have specific statistics, she said there have also been more crashes.
An increase in crashes is something also commonly found around the holidays, according to Hart.
“The holidays are here and people do tend to get more stressed,” said Hart. “Even the calmest, most safety-conscious drivers can find themselves frustrated by other motorists.”
To help manage aggressive driving scenarios, AAA suggested that drivers don’t offend others, causing them to change their speed or direction, be tolerant and forgiving and do not respond to others reckless driving.
“We encourage everyone to drive the speed limit to also be let other people merge if that’s what another driver needs to do maintain adequate speed or maintain adequate distance between the cars,” said Hart. “A lot of this is just appropriate driving behavior.”
Hart added that if a situation does get out of hand, drivers should not be afraid to call 911.
Based on data complied from from a sample of 2,714 licensed drivers ages 16 or older who reported driving in the 30 days before the survey, the AAA’s study also found that men tend to speed, tailgate, merge dangerously, and make rude gestures or honk at other drivers more than women.
It additionally found that regardless of gender, younger drivers tend to be more aggressive than older drivers.
For more information about the study, visit www.aaa.com/preventroadrage.