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Driven to distraction — are your emotions driving the car?

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2017 | Car Accidents |

Distracted driving is a serious problem in the U.S. In due response to rising numbers of distracted driving accidents, technology is being developed to prevent people from texting and driving, and in 2015 Oklahoma banned texting while driving for all drivers.

Texting and driving is an obvious threat to your safety. However, it is not the only deadly distraction. According to, allowing your strong negative and positive emotions to drive your car can also be very dangerous.

Here are some examples of ways that a driver’s strong emotions can impair the ability to operate a vehicle.

Giving in to sadness, anger or stress can negatively affect your mood and your ability to focus on driving. This can happen if:

  • You have an argument with your parent or spouse.
  • You have a stressful day at school or work.
  • You just found out that you failed a test or lost your job.
  • You slept through your alarm and are late for school or work.

It’s not only negative emotions that can divert attention from safely operating a vehicle. You can be just as distracted by positive emotions if:

  • Your best friend just told you exciting news.
  • You are going to a celebration or coming back from it.
  • You just got a good grade at school or you received a raise at work.
  • Your favorite song unexpectedly comes on and you get lost in the moment.

Your mood can shift within seconds with a strong emotional reaction to news or other interactions. This affects your ability to give your full attention to the task of driving. Your car can drift into another lane, run a red light, rear-end the car in front of you, or even hit a pedestrian.

Paying attention to the road is crucial for your safety, the safety of your passengers, and the safety of others on the road. If you are upset or overly excited, be aware of the way that it can impact your ability to drive. Try to calm yourself down and make sure that you don’t allow your phone to distract you. Choose to focus on the task at hand, and don’t let your emotions drive your car.