I find that the energy around the end of the year gets more aggressive. I imagine people are tired after a long year; there is a lot to do before year end; and I feel that people load themselves with the added responsibility of celebrating end of year functions and Christmas celebrations.
(Have a look at this post about holiday depression.)
Yesterday a friend took me for "lunch" - cheesecake and coffee: two things that make me very happy!
As we left the restaurant to take "the dude" home, I looked back into the left lane from my parking spot and pulled out as all was clear. Clearly someone in the middle lane decided to pull into the left hand lane at the same time. There was screeching of brakes and he hooted. Once I had composed myself, I thought that we hadn't hit one another so there was no reason to get out of the car and shake hands. As he was behind me, I hit the road. I moved into the right hand lane as I was turning right. He was clearly upset and he crossed two lanes as well to come driving up behind me with his lights flashing. I thought he was going to rear-end me! He stopped behind me at the traffic lights. I was indicating right and he was also indicating right. As the altercation had been around him moving into the left hand lane, I was worried that he was following me in a classic case of road rage.
I decided to go straight and get to where we were going by going around the block.
He didn't follow me.
I feel that hooting should only be used when someone doesn't see you. I didn't see him and hooting was acceptable. I don't think either of us did anything wrong. I was indicating, he probably was too, but neither of us were looking further than one lane. Hooting after the fact - or as I this case racing after the person flashing your lights - is unhelpful and is really only to placate one's own wrath.
I suggest being über-nice on the road over the silly season. Relax! Breathe! Let people into traffic! Be nice! Take it easy!