Research has shown that feelings or emotions can frequently affect your actions, including how you drive. Strong emotions, positive or negative, can affect your safety when behind the wheel. Emotions can steal your attention from the road, just like a cell phone would, and you know it only takes a second for you to avoid hitting an oncoming car or an important road sign and cause an accident.
While using cell phones on the road can be banned, the same cannot be done for a person’s inner thoughts or emotions. Therefore, as a driver, you have to be aware of your emotions and how to deal with them to be in the right state of mind when driving.
What are Some of the Emotions that Can Affect Drivers While on the Road?
- Fear – Overly cautious driving or panic at the thought of causing an accident can lead you to make mistakes while driving.
- Stress – Stress often leads to aggressive behavior. You might find yourself being impatient and unwilling to share the road with others.
- Fatigue – Have you ever done something when you’re overly tired? You rarely pay attention to the task. You are impatient, frustrated, and slow to react. That is no condition for you to be on the road, driving.
- Strong positive emotions – As mentioned earlier, negative emotions are just as dangerous as positive ones. Imagine driving when you have just received some exciting news, like your wife delivering your newborn baby. You may inadvertently be willing to take more risks on the road, drive faster, and not pay attention to minor details while driving.
How to Control Your Emotions When Driving
Recognize Your Feelings
Emotions can be so consuming that you are unaware that you’re behaving unreasonably at a particular moment. They can make you ignore what you learned about driving and all road safety rules. That is why the first step to managing your emotions is to recognize when your mental state is changing.
For example, if you are frustrated because you’re stuck in traffic, look around you and see that everyone is also stuck in traffic. Other drivers are suffering along with you. They’re not doing it to you on purpose.
Address Your Feelings Before Driving
Perhaps you had a bad day at work, or you are having some personal struggles. Ask yourself what you can do to make yourself feel better at that moment. Maybe talking to your mom, spouse, or best friend, before you drive will help. Maybe letting out a scream or sitting in silence for a few minutes can help you calm down a little bit before going on the road.
Make the Interior of Your Car Calming
Strong emotions can creep up when you are on the road, but there are things you can do to help yourself and stay calm. First, adjust the temperature inside your car to a comfortable level. If it is too hot, you can get drowsy and easily irritated by external factors.
Second, avoid clenching your teeth and gripping the steering wheel too tightly. This can lead to feelings of tension and anxiety while on the road. Instead, maintain your natural poise and normal grip on the wheel. Lastly, try putting on some relaxing music and doing calming breathing exercises as you drive.
Loud music can elevate feelings of anxiety and irritate other drivers. Breathing exercises will help keep your body oxygenated, reducing tension, and leaving you more relaxed and grounded.
Don’t Get Provoked by Other Drivers
It is easy to be triggered or easily irritated by others on the road, especially when you’ve had a bad day. Remember, other people are also dealing with challenges and strife, and they can take out their frustration on you. Emotions can be contagious, and it is easy to retaliate with the same or even worse energy towards the other person.
If you react calmly to an aggressive driver, your calmness will calm them down as well because both negative and positive emotions are contagious. You should avoid being the victim and choose to react positively to a negative situation.
Regardless of who is driving aggressively, it helps to know that you have a good insurance policy. In fact, many opt for Freeway Car Insurance, as their dedication to superior coverage at affordable prices can actually be priceless.
Depending on how you react on the road, you can have your license suspended, pay huge fines to the court, or be ordered to attend mandatory anger management classes. To avoid these consequences, you should always practice courtesy, being helpful and tolerant of other drivers.
Driving is meant to be an enjoyable and relaxing activity, and you will enjoy it more if you learn how to manage your emotions while driving.