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Holiday Stress May Cause Car Accidents

Frustration is not an aid to safe driving. Along with bad weather and an increased incidence of drinking and driving, the holiday season brings out highly frustrated drivers who are more prone to car accidents. Recent studies have identified a sharp increase in car accidents in the days immediately preceding Christmas. Large numbers of people converge on shopping areas and tensions run high. Crowded parking lots and long lines can try the patience of even the safest drivers. The result is drivers who are both distracted and aggressive. It is a recipe for disaster.

A report compiled by State Farm Insurance suggests just how bad the Holiday traffic situation can be. Roughly one in three drivers admits to driving more aggressively due to holiday stress. Aggressive driving was a particular problem among parents and drivers under the age of 49. This contributes to the increased rate of accidents during the week of Christmas. While Christmas Day sees relatively few traffic accidents, the days leading up to it are bad days to be on the roads.

While crowded parking lots are more likely to see fender benders than fatal accidents, the aggressive driving caused by holiday stress does not necessarily stop once you reach the freeway. Tailgating, speeding and other aggressive driving behaviors are common sights throughout the year. The holiday season only makes the problem worse. Safety conscious drivers should focus on ways to avoid getting frustrated or at least to not let that frustration affect their driving.

Source: The Washington Post, “For drivers around Christmastime, it’s not exactly tidings of comfort and joy,” by Ashley Halsey III, 2 December 2013

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