Most drivers know distractions behind the wheel, such as texting or eating, are dangerous. Even adjusting the radio while you drive can lead to a serious accident. What you may not realize is that your state of mind also plays an important role in how safe you are behind the wheel.
According to a recent study published by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, drivers who get in the driver’s seat when they are experiencing extreme emotions can increase their risk of a crash by up to ten times. Researchers say strong feelings, such as anger and sadness, can actually be more dangerous than other more common types of distractions, such as texting or applying makeup.
Why Strong Emotions Can Be a Distraction on the Road
There are three types of driver distraction: manual, visual, and cognitive. Manual distractions include activities that require a driver to takes his or her hands off the wheel. Visual distractions include any type of behavior that forces a motorist to look away from the road. Finally, cognitive distractions involve the mind. Contrary to common belief, the brain is incapable of multitasking. Instead, when confronted with two tasks, the brain actually rapidly switches concentration and focus from one task to the other. This happens so quickly, most people don’t notice they are doing it.
When your mind is focused on an event or incident that provoked strong emotion, you may be looking at the road, but your brain is not focused on your drive. If you get behind the wheel after an explosive argument with your significant other, or you attempt to drive while you’re extremely upset, you put yourself at risk of a serious auto accident.
Although most people lead busy lives, and you may be in a hurry to reach your destination, it is best to avoid driving when you are experiencing extreme anger, sadness, or frustration. Instead, wait until you have calmed down. If you are already driving, find a safe place to pull over and wait until you are feeling better.
Georgia Car Accident Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, you need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Don’t wait to speak to an attorney about your case. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other damages. Contact my office today at (912) 265-9811 to discuss your case.