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Holiday driving should be free of ROAD RAGE

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Getting angry at other drivers is dangerous.

Aggression is the response of one-half of the drivers who are subjected to the aggression of other drivers. This risks more serious confrontation between drivers.

A national survey, just recently released by Response Insurance, found that 50 percent of drivers who are cut off, given the finger or are tailgated respond with horn honking, yelling, cutting-off and obscene gestures of their own.

34 percent of drivers say they honk their horn at an aggressor, 27 percent reported yelling, 19 percent said they flip the finger, 17 percent flash their headlights and 7 percent mimic the initial aggressive driving behavior, according to the "Response Insurance National Driving Habits Survey." Two percent of the drivers surveyed admitted to trying to run an aggressor off the road.

Ray Palermo, director of public relations for Response Insurance, noted, "Road rage is a two-way street." He further stated, "It takes two people to fight. So, if you are subjected to aggressive driving, often the best way to ensure it does not get any worse is to just ignore it."

Men are more likely than women to respond aggressively (54 percent versus 46 percent), when it comes to aggressive responses. Drivers age 18-24 average 67 percent as opposed to drivers 65 and over who average 30 percent. Drivers with children are more likely to respond aggressively (59 percent) versus those without children (45 percent), and cell phone users average 59 percent versus those who do not use a cell phone while driving (39 percent).

Tips provided by Response Insurance are:

1. Driving is not a competitive sport. Stay calm, focus on getting from one place to another, safely. Try to forget about time if you are running late. How much is really "won" by cutting ahead of another driver.

2. One driver cannot fight alone. Don't allow yourself to be drawn into a confrontation. Road rage is a two-way street.

3. Err on the side of being courteous.

4. A "Response Insurance National Driving Habits Survey" revealed that 57 percent of drivers don't regularly use their turn signals. Use them to make sure other drivers aren't surprised by your maneuver.

5. Don't cut off other drivers, and make sure you have room when you merge.

6. Regardless of the speed you are traveling, move to the right lane if someone wants to pass you.

7. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles. Tailgating can reduce response time and annoy other drivers.

8. Avoid any visible signs of anger. Don't make obscene gestures.

9. Steer clear and get away from drivers who may be displaying signs of aggressive driving.

10. If someone cuts you off, slow down and give them room. Their aggression may escalate if you respond in kind.

11. Call the police if you think you are in serious danger. Or, drive to the police station or a heavily populated area. Do not drive to your home and do not get out of the car until you are safe.

12. If you have made a mistake, try to gesture an apology to the other driver.

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