For many drivers in the United States, the roads are a place where they find themselves feeling angry and where they may even experience feelings of outright hostility towards their fellow motorists. The Washington Post, for example, reports that polls taken this past summer show that 12 percent of drivers said that they experienced road rage on a fairly regular basis. Responding to the same study, a full 21 percent of motorists said that they occasionally felt hostile to others on the road. Finally, around 2/3 of those surveyed said that they sometimes saw their fellow motorists showing uncontrolled anger.
Unfortunately, the holiday season is a time when things are likely to be even worse. An experienced car accident lawyer in Seattle knows that holiday stress results in a spike in road rage and aggressive driving. A recent State Farm survey, for example, shows that 32 percent of drivers are more likely to become aggressive during the holiday season. This high percentage of stressed out drivers who make aggressive choices could help to explain why there is a 20 percent spike in car accident claims that occurs during the month of December.
Be Aware of Dangerous December Drivers
While an increase in angry driving was reported by drivers across-the-board in December, certain groups were more likely than others to exhibit road rage. The State Farm survey called out both parents and drivers under the age of 49 as being particularly prone to letting holiday driving stress get the better of them behind the wheel. When these drivers do dangerous things caused by driver aggression, like tailgating or speeding, they put everyone on the road at risk.
A researcher from the University of Alabama who studies holiday traffic patterns warned not just of added stress during the holidays but also of the fact that many people will be thinking about other things as they drive, like what they need to finish before they have guests over or their holiday budget. This can make drivers more likely to do things like pull out without looking and strike another vehicle.
The risks of stressed and distracted drivers extends throughout the month of December, but the dangerous time of the year usually begins a little earlier, at Thanksgiving when a lot of people travel to visit family and when some people choose to get drunk and drive. However, some days are much more dangerous than others are. For example, an analysis of 10 years of traffic crash data has revealed that the six days surrounding the 25th of December are among the most dangerous of all.
The six days around December 25th have 18 percent more crashes than Thanksgiving and 27 percent more accidents than New Years Eve. This year, the worst of the days is expected to be the Friday before Christmas when holiday travelers will need to compete with commuters and last-minute shoppers. Drivers are urged to be cautious if they have to drive on the high-risk days and to exercise a little extra care when driving at any time during the holidays.
By: Richard McKinney