April 3rd, 2015
Emotions are completely normal, but they can often serve as a huge distraction from your daily routines. Driving while extremely upset can be dangerous for the roadway if they manage to take over your body. All distractions, no matter how small, have potential to lead to an accident, boosting your auto insurance rates.
In fact, Time Magazine cited driving as one of the top 10 activities you should never do while angry. David Narang, PhD, a clinical psychologist told Time that, biologically, anger puts someone in the position to attack.
"Anger gives a person tunnel vision—you stare straight ahead and may not see a pedestrian or another car coming into your peripheral vision crossing the street," said Narang.
Why driving with high emotions can be dangerous
Driving while emotional can't always be avoided because, often times, it happens while you're in the car. Whether you're sitting at a green light and the car in front of you just won't budge, or a truck veers into your lane and cuts you off, sometime in your driving experience, you are bound to feel the passion of road rage. Not only can the emotion itself be a distraction to your driving, but your reaction can hinder the ability for others to safely maneuver on the roadway.
Using your car horn can be an effective way to communicate, but repeatedly honking will cause more than just the person you're trying to communicate with to turn their head. Additionally, you might be tempted to return the favor to someone who cut a little too close to you on the highway. However, driving in tight proximity to someone is only effective at causing an accident.
What to do when you have no choice but to drive
DMV.org outlined several ways to bring down emotional highs, whether you're extremely happy or terribly angry. The site suggests trying to combat those negative emotions caused from an incident at work or an argument with a friend before driving. If you're already on the road, pull over at a rest stop. Get out of the car and walk around if necessary. Sipping on water and taking deep breaths should put you in a safer state of mind.
A common cause of emotional driving is a time crunch. When you are trying to get out the door and head to work in the morning or make it in time to catch the train, you might feel rushed and stressed. This impatience can cause you to take bigger risks while driving, like hitting higher speeds or swerving in and out of traffic. These practices are dangerous and could lead to a serious accident, making you even later for your appointment, if not putting you in the hospital. Should you find yourself rushing every day, try waking up earlier or cut something out of your morning routine to give yourself some extra time. This way, you'll eliminate stress and can drive safely.
With our busy lives, we also tend to have a lot of concerns on our minds. Worrying about how you'll get that project submitted on time or thinking about something sad in your life can take your attention away from the roadway. In this case, make a conscious effort to focus on your driving. Break up your mental distractions by playing music or letting the air blow through the window.
If possible, avoid driving with high emotions altogether. It's safer for yourself and those sharing the roadway.
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