Motorists ‘lose their heads’ when driving with high emotions

New Confused.com research finds that anger is the most dangerous emotion for drivers

 

The results of a recent survey carried out by insurance experts Confused.com, reveal how motorists are negatively affected by high emotional levels when they get behind the wheel.

Confused.com surveyed drivers throughout the UK, to discover what the nation’s motoring blunders might be whilst driving during highly strung moments and how people think their emotions do or do not affect the way they drive.

More than 3.2 million drivers admitted to causing an accident, or experiencing a near miss whilst driving with high emotions. Furthermore, 4.5 million of those surveyed said they had committed driving offences, including speeding or jumping a red light, for the same reason.

However and rather contradictorily it would seem, 51% of the motorists who took part in the survey, claim that driving in an emotional state does not affect their driving style or road safety awareness.

To garner a professional analysis of the survey’s findings, Confused.com teamed up with behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings, who appears regularly as a guest psychologist on ITV’s This Morning and Good Morning Britain.

Ms Hemmings explained how anything but a complete ‘state of equilibrium’ can have an impact on the body and mind, including the feelings of joy, happiness, excitement and stress, anxiety and fear.

The feeling of intense happiness is more likely to result in speeding, according to Confused.com, as people are apt to feel ‘invincible and powerful’ when experiencing this positive emotion.

“When feeling happy, your heart rate could increase from a standard 60 BPM to 100 BPM. Also, feel-good hormones such as dopamine and serotonin flood our bodies. This can make us feel highly alert but this can sometimes impair focus and concentration while driving,” said Ms Hemmings.

However, it’s the feeling of anger which puts road users in the most danger. When tempers are flaring, a person’s heart rate can triple, causing severe loss of concentration.

More than a third of drivers (34%), admitted to arguing with their partners on at least one occasion while in control of a vehicle and many car commuters say they have driven home angry following a bad day at the office.

As almost a third of accidents or near misses caused by emotions are the result of anger, Amanda Stretton, from Confused.com, offered this advice to motorists:

“If you’re feeling over-excited or upset, take a moment to compose yourself before getting behind the wheel.”

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