The pilgrimage to and from a holiday dinner is often a battle against rude, obnoxious drivers and the impulse to throttle them.
But there's no need to keep that anger to yourself. Entrepreneurs have come up with ways to let off steam.
The Web site www.platewire. com allows motorists to post license plate numbers of offending drivers. The Web site was created by a Fairfax, Va., man who said he wants to shame people into driving better. Police disapprove, saying the best tactic is to call authorities.
On the Web site, license plate numbers are accompanied by pointed, sometimes-profane commentaries.
"Great job driving down the BW parkway," reads one post about a Maryland driver. "How many people did you cut off with that tank of a vehicle? Get off your cell phone and drive."
Mark Buckman, a computer consultant who started the site with his stepbrother Luke Sevenski, said he is outraged by careless, rude or inattentive drivers.
"We are a society driven by fear - the fear of being ostracized," he said. Buckman, 32, started the site in May with $5,000. He said it now gets 500 to 2,000 unique hits a day and has hundreds of postings about bad drivers nationwide.
So why do people post what's basically a primal scream?
"It is the psychology of venting," said Leon James, a professor at the University of Hawaii and co-author of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving. "It is the same as when we get to the office after a commute. We cannot start work until we have a cup of coffee and have someone listen to our driving story."
Does it work?
"Venting . . . keeps you obsessively focused on proving the other person wrong," James said. "What kind of help is this?"
He suggests just forgetting and moving on.
Easy for him to say. He doesn't drive the Capital Beltway.
That's where Mika Larson's "Road Rage Cards" come in. The cellist-turned-entrepreneur sells a book of signs designed to send more immediate messages.
Messages such as "GET OUT OF THE FAST LANE, MORON!" and "YOU'RE AN IDIOT!" are among the more family-friendly signs.
She was inspired by drivers "who didn't seem to have anything in their heads, not using their blinkers, littering," she said.
For those who want to upgrade from cardboard, www.gadgetuniverse.com sells a "license plate billboard" for $39.95 that allows you to display four different greetings on a small LED sign tucked under a rear license plate.
If you really want to get creative, $199 buys the MobileLED MD-550, which plugs into a cigarette lighter and comes with a small keyboard that allows you to type any message on an electronic display board mounted inside your rear window.
Fairley Mahlum, spokeswoman for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, says these are all terrible ideas.
"Your job is not to teach others how to drive," she said. "Your job is to get to your destination. By responding and reacting, you are being just as aggressive," she said.
Police officers say the same thing: Don't react. Don't escalate. And if someone's actions are really threatening, pick up your cell phone and dial the nonemergency number for police.