Will you be Naughty or Nice behind the wheel this holiday season? State Farm and KRC Research conducted an online survey of 1,000 U.S drivers over 18 years old 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 a third of drivers say their likelihood to engage in aggressive driving increases during the winter holidays.
Survey Key Findings
- Forty-four percent of drivers reported that they have engaged in aggressive driving behaviors in the past three months.
In the U.S. alone, an average of 1,500 people are injured or killed each year as a direct result of aggressive driving – See more at: http://learningcenter.statefarm.com/auto/safety/aggressive-driving/#sthash.uIoKZKlH.dpuf
- 32 percent of younger drivers (ages 18-29), 28 percent of middle aged drivers (ages 30-49) and parents (30 percent) were significantly 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).
- 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 to be equally likely to engage in aggressive driving.
- 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.”
What is Considered Naughty Driving?
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).
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 (U.S. DOT 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.
Factors in Holiday Driving
- More people. During the shopping season, there are typically more people on the streets and freeways than at other times of the year — and the roads may be busy at additional times during the day and evening. When out-of-towners come in to shop or visit, their unfamiliarity with the location can add to the congestion.
- Seasonal stress. Don’t have enough time to get everything done? You’re not the only one. Tensions and frustration can creep up on even the best drivers and can cause them to lose their cool.
- Poor weather. Driving in winter conditions can slow down traffic. Drivers who are already irritable may become impatient and take unnecessary chances on slippery roads.
- Too much celebrating. When folks start the party early then hit the roads, it’s a recipe for disaster. Even a little alcohol can make some drivers more aggressive; larger quantities simply make drivers dangerous.
Avoid Aggressive Driving Behavior
- Don’t hit the gas pedal. Plan extra time to get to your destination to account for weather conditions, heavy traffic or parking lot congestion.
- Plan ahead. Anticipate that traffic will be heavier and give yourself more time to maneuver in holiday crowds. Back off the speed and don’t tailgate — it’s one of the top triggers of aggressive driving incidents. Another trigger? Making frequent or last-minute lane changes. Where possible, stay in the lane that will be closest to your planned exit to avoid sudden moves.
- Start off calm. Don’t go out to shop if you’re already stressed. Other drivers’ actions may immediately set you on edge, prompting you to respond negatively.
- Stay alert. Focus on the job of driving rather than on all the details you have to take care of. Watch the traffic patterns and keep an eye on drivers who are speeding or driving erratically.
- Take a deep breath. Find a way to stay calm in tense situations. Keep breathing, play holiday music or listen to a book on tape. When witnessing aggressive driving, don’t make eye contact or respond in kind to an aggressive driver. Both actions may fuel the driver’s anger.
- See more at: http://learningcenter.statefarm.com/auto/safety/put-the-brakes-on-aggressive-holiday-driving/#sthash.ies1Zkgy.dpuf