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Drivers tend to be more aggressive during the holidays which can lead to more traffic accidents
<p>Drivers tend to be more aggressive during the holidays, which can lead to more traffic accidents.</p>

Holiday Driving: Are You Naughty or Nice?

A new State Farm survey reveals an uptick in aggressive driving around the winter holidays.

Will you be naughty or nice behind the wheel this holiday season? Chances are, you’ll either be naughty yourself or have to deal with a naughty driver.

State Farm and KRC Research conducted an online survey of 1,000 U.S drivers over 18 years of age and learned there’s room for improvement. According to the survey nearly two out of three (64 percent) U.S. drivers have experienced an act of aggressive driving six times or more in the past three months from another driver.

With a large number of drivers affected by aggressive driving already, the new survey revealed nearly one-third of drivers say their likelihood to engage in aggressive driving increases during the winter holidays.

Naughty – or aggressive – driving can include speeding or driving too fast for conditions, improper lane changing or passing, and tailgating according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Key findings of the survey include:

  1. Forty-four percent of drivers reported that they have engaged in aggressive driving behaviors in the past three months. 

  2. 32 percent of younger drivers (ages 18-29), 28 percent of middle-aged drivers (ages 30-49) and parents (30 percent) significantly were more likely to report being provoked or engage in aggressive driving around the major winter holidays compared to only 9 percent of older drivers (ages 50 and older) and non-parents (15 percent).

  3. About half of survey respondents perceive men and women to be equally courteous when driving. When it comes to aggressive driving, however, the majority (54 percent) of drivers cite men as the most likely culprits of aggressive driving, compared to only one in 10 who said that women are more likely. The remaining 37 percent of drivers reported men and women equally as likely to engage in aggressive driving.

  4. Top situations most likely to make drivers respond aggressively were 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,” says 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.”

How to be Nice on the Road

Whether drivers are guilty of aggressive driving or have been on the receiving end of it, State Farm encourages drivers to be nicer during the holiday season by taking control when they can:

  • Control your behavior on the road. Running traffic signals is one of the most common causes of a car crash in metropolitan areas, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, and speeding or driving too fast for conditions accounts for about one-third of all fatal car crashes in America (Governors Highway Safety Association).
  • Control your emotions. Recognize it’s not personal and it’s not a race. It’s important to get out of the way of an aggressive driver but also to give drivers the benefit of the doubt.
  • Understand driving conditions before setting out. Plan extra time to get to your destination to account for weather conditions, heavy traffic or parking lot congestion. If available, use public transportation when expecting inclement weather or heavy traffic times.
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