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Too emotional to be driving?

The idea is simple: anything that affects how you think also affects how you drive.

And that includes your emotional state.

Your emotional state affects your perception of the world around you and your ability to make decisions, and that means your emotions affect your driving.

As odd as it may sound at first, there may be times when you`re just too emotional to drive. If this happens, get off the road until you`ve calmed down enough to get back behind the wheel. 

 

Depression and Driving

Depression can affect a person`s concentration and decision-making ability, both of which are important while driving.

Medications to fight depression may actually make things worse. In a study published in August 2008, researchers found that depression sufferers who took medications were more likely to experience loss of concentration and slower reaction times. The study did not recommend that these people should be banned from driving, but like so many factors, drivers must gauge their abilities themselves.

 

Anger and Driving

Anger is probably the most common emotion people think of in relation to driving. Anger behind the wheel can lead to aggressive driving which results in hostility, lack of awareness, resistance to change, lack of emotional maturity, and cynicism towards authority.

In 1968, a study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, which examined fatal accidents, showed that in 20% of the cases studied, the drivers had been involved in aggressive altercations within a six-hour period before their deaths.

Chronically aggressive drivers have adopted a driving style that is out of step with normal traffic flow and accepted norms of courteous driving behavior. These people would probably argue that their driving style is not aggressive at all.

Situationally aggressive drivers are responding to external pressures imposed on them. Their otherwise safe, responsible driving becomes aggressive under certain circumstances. These drivers may admit to the inappropriate nature of their behavior after the fact or alternatively justify it in a way similar to the chronically aggressive driver.

The real danger here is that a driver`s aggression may be more dangerous to the person experiencing it than to fellow motorists.

 

Monitor your emotions like
you monitor your engine temperature:
if either of you gets too hot, pull over and cool off.

 

Like we tell people in all of our defensive driving classes, there are many factors that affect your driving and the one you have the most control over is yourself.


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