Date: December 17, 2015
The Christmas season is a fraught time of year for road users. Winter driving can be dangerous enough, with short days that leave most of us hurrying to get home in the dark, and weather conditions that can make roads unsafe, Throw frantic trips to buy last-minute presents and cross-country journeys to visit family members into the mix, and it’s no wonder drivers are twice as likely to be involved in a car crash on December 17th than on an average day.
Road rage is a major cause of traffic accidents, and is something that most drivers experience at one point or another. And, when you’re pushed for time and have 101 things that need doing yesterday, you’re a lot more likely to see red sooner.
That’s why, to help you stay safe this yuletide season, we’ve compiled five tips for avoiding road rage over the Christmas period.
1. Be Prepared
Prevention is the best cure, so reduce your vulnerability to road rage by getting as much done as possible before the festive rush begins in earnest.
By getting your Christmas shopping and errands out of the way well in advance of the big day itself – and stocking up on spare food, presents, cards and stamps – you’re reducing the chances of having to make any last-minute dashes.
2. Avoid the Christmas Crowds
Of course, getting everything out the way ahead of time is easier said than done. Still, if you suspect that congestion and competition for parking spaces might trigger your road rage, there are plenty of alternatives to driving to the shops that are open to even the last-minute Christmas shopper.
For example, you could do your Christmas shopping online – most supermarkets and shops offer speedy delivery right up until Christmas Eve itself. Or, if you’d rather do your Christmas shopping in person, consider using public transport rather than braving the roads in your own vehicle. Alternatively, take a day off so you can get your Christmas shopping done on a weekday and avoid the weekend crush.
3. Allow Extra Time for Journeys
Even with Christmas shopping out of the way, the fact is that sooner or later you’re going to have to face the Christmas traffic. With so many people on the road doing their shopping and visiting relatives, congestion is to be expected. And icy weather conditions can slow traffic down even further.
By checking traffic and weather reports in advance and leaving with time to spare, you can cut your stress levels and so reduce your chances of succumbing to road rage.
4. Avoid Angry Drivers
One of the most effective strategies for avoiding road rage is to not anger other drivers. By driving carefully and considerately, you’re unlikely to invoke another driver’s wrath, and so can continue on your journey without incident.
If you do become the subject of another driver’s aggression, avoid conflict at all costs. Don’t rise to the bait; just give way and let them put some distance between the two of you. You’ll not only be looking after yourself, but potentially defusing the other driver’s anger and so making the roads safer for everyone.
5. Keep Calm and Carry On
There are tell-tale signs that the red mist is about to descend, such as beginning to mentally or verbally criticise other drivers, ignoring traffic rules and engaging is risky, aggressive driving behaviours.
By recognising these symptoms early on, you can take steps to calm yourself down and stop the situation escalating. Take deep breaths and try to distract yourself – perhaps by listening to calming music or your favourite radio channel. If you’re getting really het up, pull over and wait to calm down. It’s better to lose a few minutes of travel time than risk causing an accident.
It’s cheesy, but it’s true: at the end of the day, Christmas is about spending time with friends and family, and your safety is far more important than being on time for Aunty Flo’s dinner or the office Christmas party. We hope that, by following these five simple tips, you’ll be able to avoid road rage and stay safe on the roads this Christmas.