SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Holidays can be so stressful. Sometimes that stress pours out into the streets.
A recent study by GasBuddy reported drivers are nearly 200% more aggressive behind the wheel during this time of the year.
Engineers at the Traffic Management Center of the Ozarks start planning well before the holiday season to control traffic throughout the city.
"I've seen it. I've experienced it," said Charles Obradovich.
He said he isn't surprised that drivers are more aggressive during this time of the year.
"It's shocking that people are in such a hurry," he said.
Obradovich said he uses extreme caution whenever he's behind the wheel, especially after a fatal 'road-rage' accident last month, where a woman was run over on Campbell after another driver bumped her car.
"Drive defensively. Expect that something's going to happen. It's stressful but I think it's necessary. Think of the other people. It's not worth it," he said.
Jason Saliba, engineer for Springfield said, "Typically during the holiday times it gets congested pretty quick. Traffic slows down to either a stop or a low speed."
The team at the Traffic Management Center of the Ozarks work hard to ease traffic woes and driver stress.
"We want to get as many people to where they are trying to go as fast as we can get them there. The problem is that there's not enough green time to go around. It's really a balancing act with the cues," he said.
Controlling the timing of traffic signal lights isn't a perfect science.
"We gather traffic counts at different intersections around those congested areas. We'll try to get a couple every year. We use those counts from the previous year to do our timing for the next year," Saliba said.
Engineers are always monitoring cameras and traffic patterns.
"We are constantly making tweaks throughout the holiday season," he said.
Obradovich said, "We need to step back and go a little bit slower maybe and think this through. It's dangerous for everyone involved."
Traffic cues or when the lights change will go back to their regular schedules right after Christmas.
The national study ranks Missouri 22nd on its list of most aggressive events per driver in the country.
Arkansas is ranked even more aggressive at 11th on the list.