We know that when we are behind the wheel we must pay all our attention to what we are doing. And much has been said about how distracted driving is one of the main causes of car accidents.
Eating, talking on the phone, texting, putting on makeup, etc., are just some of the activities we know to avoid while driving. In addition, of course, not to consume alcoholic beverages, drugs, or prescription medications before driving.
But did you know that driving while experiencing an altered emotional state can also put our safety at risk? Strong emotions can even cloud our ability to reason, putting myself, my passengers, and other drivers at risk.
How do intense emotions affect us when we drive?
Whether you’re feeling extremely sad, scared, angry, crying, or even extremely elated, our ability to react quickly can be drastically diminished. Also our concentration and our ability to make decisions.
An angry driver will be more likely to drive aggressively and lose patience with people on the road. Crying can block your vision, causing you to have “tunnel” vision where you may not be able to identify other hazards or obstacles around you; and shaking can make it difficult to control your vehicle, stay in your lane, and even judge distances correctly.
The most common causes that can cause our emotional state to change include arguments with our loved ones, bosses, or co-workers; stress due to family or work situations, love breakups, illnesses or death of people close to us, receiving bad news, among others.
Try to calm down before driving
If you find yourself in a situation that triggers your emotions intensely, it is best to avoid driving at those times. Ask a taxi, a ride-sharing service, or a friend or family member to take you where you need to go. If you are already driving, pull off the road safely, do breathing exercises, and call for help. Don’t put your safety at risk.