What You Should Know About Emotional Driving and How it Can Cause a Dangerous Collision

older driver with hand on head from stressMany of us have gotten into our cars while experiencing some type of intense emotion, whether it was positive or negative. If you think back to a time when that happened, you may remember feeling distracted or easily agitated by other drivers.

Below, Greg Monforton and Partners discusses the dangers of emotional driving and what drivers can do to avoid an emotional driving crash.

If you were injured by another driver who was experiencing intense emotions, our auto accident lawyers in Windsor may be able to help you seek compensation for your damages. There are no upfront costs to hire our lawyers and we are not paid unless our clients receive compensation.

Give us a call today to learn more about our services: (866) 320-4770.

Defining Emotional Driving

Emotional driving occurs when you experience intense emotions while you are behind the wheel, such as:

  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Emotional pain
  • Panic
  • Worry
  • Grief

These emotions can be sparked by the actions of other drivers. For example, someone may experience road rage after getting cut off by another car. You might get angry because you are stuck in traffic.

However, when you get angry with another driver, it is often because you are angry or upset about something else going on in your life. For example, you may have had a rough day at work or may be having problems with a personal relationship with a friend or family member.

Emotional driving also includes positive emotions. You might be excited about an upcoming event, or maybe you just learned about a promotion or bonus at your job. Maybe a friend or loved one surprised you with good news. You are likely to carry those emotions with you when you get behind the wheel.

Here are some other examples of things that can trigger intense emotions for drivers:

  • Fear of being late to work or another engagement
  • Sad news about a loved one, such as being diagnosed with a terminal illness or even passing away
  • Excitement or nervousness about where you are going
  • Excitement about a hobby or leisure activity, like your favorite sports team

Why Emotional Driving Is Dangerous

Your emotional state can have a negative effect on your driving, causing you to engage in reckless behaviors that increase the risk of a collision, such as:

  • Speeding, particularly if you are angry about something
  • Intentionally following another driver too closely because you want them to go faster

In some ways, your emotions can be a distraction. You may do some of the same things a distracted driver does before a collision, such as:

  • Taking your eyes off the road
  • Following another car too closely without realizing it
  • Making a right turn when you do not have enough space to do so
  • Running through a stop sign
  • Not looking for pedestrians or bicycle riders
  • Not staying in your traffic lane

One of the major problems with intense emotions, or anything else that distracts you from driving, is you may be unable to make the split-second decisions necessary to prevent a crash. Your emotions may cause you react too late or get into a dangerous situation where there is no way to prevent a crash.

How To Avoid Emotional Driving

There are several steps you can take to relieve stress and avoid extreme emotions when you are behind the wheel:

  • Deep breathing – Taking a few deep breaths is a tried and true method for calming yourself down, especially if you are in a heightened emotional state.
  • Listening to relaxing music – If you are already angry, listening to loud, aggressive music could exacerbate your anger. If you switch to something more relaxing, however, it may help you to calm down.
  • Focusing on something else – Sometimes it is good to take a break from thinking about something that makes you upset. For example, you could simply focus on driving.
  • Reducing your speed – If you speed, you are likely to encounter other drivers who are not going as fast. This can make you frustrated and keep you in an agitated emotional state.
  • Allowing someone else to drive – Sometimes you are simply not in the right headspace to be operating a motor vehicle. Letting someone else drive may be your best option.

You should also avoid doing things that could spark more anger or agitation, like:

  • Making eye contact with other drivers, such as if a driver is gesturing at you
  • Responding to gestures or things said by other drivers
  • Honking your horn
  • Attempting to confront another driver
  • Not giving yourself enough time to reach your destination; drivers who are running late are more likely to get easily frustrated or engage in risky behavior to try to save time

Call Greg Monforton and Partners Today For Legal Assistance

Your emotional state can affect your actions, especially when you are driving. When drivers let their emotions get the best of them, they can cause dangerous crashes that result in serious injuries.

Victims of these collisions may be able to seek compensation for the damages they suffered, and our lawyers may be able to help you with the legal process. Our firm has decades of experience working with accident victims and securing millions in compensation for their damages.

We take auto accident cases on contingency, which means there are no upfront costs or legal obligations. There are also no fees while working on your case.

Call Greg Monforton and Partners: (866) 320-4770. Zero upfront costs.