It may surprise some people but emotions can affect your driving as much as fatigue or alcohol. Your mind drifts elsewhere, to someplace other than the road since you have just heard that a close friend or a loved one is not feeling well. You may feel angry and frustrated as the aftermath of an intense argument with your boss that took place just before you got into the car and started driving.
What is the big deal?
Research shows that intense emotions can be as distracting as using your cell phone while driving. Recklessness and not being fully aware of the road are some of these effects. Surely something can be done about driving tired or under the influence, but there is nothing to do about driving while experiencing intense emotions. Wrong!
Take a deep breath
Here are some simple things to do when you feel overwhelmed by your emotions while driving:
- If you are in a hurry, nervous before an important meeting or a job interview, or simply if patience is not one of your strong suits, try planning ahead so you will feel more confident and relaxed.
You can also give yourself extra time and leave early so you will be able to drive stress free.
- If you are feeling angry or upset, and feeling particularly overwhelmed by such feelings, take a deep breath and relax, see if you can stop safely and take a short walk.
Take a sip of water or any other non alcoholic beverage that will calm your nerves.
- If you are feeling blue, troubled, or even depressed, you should try to sort your feelings before getting into the car.
If you are already driving try to put your favorite radio station on to lift your spirits, to put your feelings aside for the drive, and concentrate on the road.
In conclusion, the most important thing about safe driving is self-awareness. If you are feeling distracted use these tips and get back home safe and sound.