These days, it’s hard to get behind the wheel of a car without bringing some emotional baggage with you. For example, dealing with the coronavirus pandemic made it nearly impossible for anyone to go about their day without feeling stressed, angry, or sad.
While this is understandable, it’s also dangerous. Studies show that driving while experiencing strong emotions increases the likelihood of a crash by as much as ten times. We take a look at the dangers of emotional driving and how to control your feelings for a safer trip.
Why Is Emotional Driving Such a Problem?
When you think about it, it’s not surprising that emotional driving is fairly commonplace. Following an argument or after receiving upsetting news, people often get in their cars to escape the negative situation. For those who have stressful, difficult, or unpleasant jobs, the commute to work can become an incubator for negative emotions. A slow commute in heavy traffic can also trigger anger and frustration—feelings that affect safe driving. These kinds of strong emotions cause a cognitive distraction that can be as dangerous as texting while driving or driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
How to Keep Your Emotions in Check
Because of the danger of driving while you're emotionally agitated, it’s important not to use getting behind the wheel as a way to calm down—go for a walk instead. If you have to drive when you're upset, try these techniques:
- Take deep breaths. Before starting the car, take deep breaths and clear your mind of whatever is bothering you.
- Listen to music. Tuning into a music or talk radio station can provide a distraction from the stress and anxiety you're feeling.
- Slow down. Don’t allow your emotions to control your speed. Make a conscious effort to slow down and be attentive while driving.
- Take a break. If your emotions get the better of you, pull over and take a break. Get some water and a snack and walk around for a bit to clear your head.
For your own safety and the safety of others, you should identify other techniques that help you calm down while operating a vehicle.
If an Emotional Driver Caused Your Accident, Call Mahaney & Pappas, LLP
It’s all well and good to keep your emotions in check while you're driving, but what if another driver doesn’t, and they cause a crash that leaves you injured? You'll need a lawyer who can find out what caused the crash and hold the negligent driver responsible. Contact Mahaney & Pappas, LLP, to get the compensation you deserve when you're the victim of a serious car accident in Massachusetts.