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First the stress, then Christmas

Tension often most evident on roads

By The Mercury

One of the secrets of a relaxing Christmas is avoiding roads and highways the closer it gets to Dec. 25.

That’s because though we wish it were otherwise, Christmas can get stressful. Worse, stressed out drivers are not only no fun to be in the car with, but they’re less safe. State Farm insurance has found that about one-third of us are likely to become more aggressive during the holidays — behind the wheel as well as in pursuit of that gift in aisle 6.

What’s more, a University of Alabama professor who studies traffic issues, has found that 18 percent more accidents occur during the six days around Christmas than on corresponding days around Thanksgiving —even though the latter are the busiest travel days of the year. Surprisingly, the days around Christmas are more accident-filled than New Year’s Eve, when motorists’ driving skills often fall victim to an excess of holiday cheer.

If you’re wondering, the single worst day — in terms of the number of vehicles on the road as well as in attitude — is the Friday before Christmas. So staying off the roads that day might be one of the keys to a merry Christmas. But if you feel like driving Christmas day, have at it. It’s the safest day to drive because, with the work done and everyone else having something better to do, you have the roads to yourself.

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