“Tis the season to be jolly…unless you are stuck in traffic, cut off by an impatient driver, or endlessly circling the mall parking lot.
While the holidays are generally considered a happy time of year, many people tend to become overly stressed trying to juggle last minute shopping, appointments, family obligations and more. Mix stress with congested roadways or crowded parking lots, and the opportunity for road rage heightens. Acts as simple as cutting off another vehicle in traffic, or tailgating, can be enough to send some drivers into a rage. Some shoppers may be angered if another motorist zips through a parking lot and takes a parking space they have been eyeing.
Road rage is a dangerous behavior that can lead to accidents, injury, and even death. The best advice to avoid holiday road rage is:
Pack your patience. Though everyone feels pressure around the holidays, it is up to you to keep keep your temper in check and remain calm in tense situations. When witnessing road rage, don’t make eye contact or respond in kind to an aggressive driver. Both actions may fuel already aggressive behavior.
Plan ahead. Plan your visits during off-peak times, whenever possible. If you must go out at peak times, anticipate that traffic will be heavier and give yourself more time.
Drive with extra cautions. Be aware of drivers around you. Use your turn signal.
Don’t tailgate. Keep with the flow of traffic and maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. If someone is tailgating you, let them pass.
Avoid making frequent or last-minute lane changes, and avoid cutting people off.
Stay alert. Focus on 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.
Don’t get out of your vehicle to confront someone.
Road rage may not disappear completely, but together we can minimize the risks, especially during what should be the happiest time of the year.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.