Impacts Of Stress On Driving
Where is the most stressful driving in the country? If you’ve driven in the Orlando-Kissimmee Metro area, you won’t be surprised to learn that I-4, the Florida Turnpike or the 417, 582, 429, or the Expressway Authority’s many expressways cause more stress—and associated road rage—than other highways in America. Motorists complain that the lanes are jammed with vehicles, expensive to traverse, and are comprised of one bottleneck after another. One study, in fact, revealed that over 90 percent of all traffic-related tweets that were stressful came from drivers on I-4, the Florida Turnpike, and I-95.
Stressful commuting is not limited to I-4, the Florida Turnpike, and I-95, unfortunately. Central Florida is well-known to be a horrendous place to have to commute. It can be a real problem, with most drivers spending an average of nearly 40 minutes on the road getting to work, with another 40 coming home. Dealing with log jams, construction, tourists who are lost, and other motorists who are less than courteous can be infuriating! One clinical psychologist from the Huntsman Mental Health Institute reports that stress can have noticeable impacts on people—impacts that often impede the psychological, social, and physical well-being of those under stress. It follows that drivers experiencing stress may have slower reaction time and other issues related to controlling their impulses. Poor decision making can be a dangerous thing for someone behind the wheel—leading some drivers to speed, drive aggressively, and make errors. Sometimes uncertain situations on the road are misinterpreted, resulting in hostile (translate unsafe) responses. As more and more motorists develop rage and become reactive instead of letting simple slights pass without incident, all drivers are put in a more hazardous situation.
Steps to Reduce Stress
What can you do to minimize stress on your commute? Here are a few suggestions worth considering:
- Allow yourself more time than necessary to arrive at your destination. Even if you get stuck in a traffic jam, you’ll be less likely to stress out.
- Look up the route you’ll need to take in advance of an unfamiliar destination. Getting lost is never good for your blood pressure!
- Stay attentive to the road and traffic conditions so you are not surprised by hazards or other motorists’ moves.
- Keep your hands on the wheel—not on your phone.
- When other motorists behave aggressively, get out of the way and do what you can to avoid them. Do not make eye contact if possible.
- Make sure your vehicle is well-maintained from the tires to the engine in order to minimize break-downs.
- If you feel yourself slipping into aggressive behaviors in response to driving conditions, take a moment to pull over, breathe deeply, and refocus.
- Finally, center your thoughts on all the reasons you have to get home safely and let that motivate your behavior.
Avoiding the Other Guy
Unfortunately, aggressive drivers put more than themselves at risk. What should you do if you come across a driver whose driving is clearly unsafe? For starters, don’t take it personally. Don’t conclude that their aggressive driving is directed toward you. Make a point to remain calm yourself, and let an aggressive driver pass. If, on the other hand, the driver is unmistakably angry with you, do not egg them on. Instead, retreat and hope the incident passes. If necessary, call the highway patrol for help.
When Aggressive Drivers Cause Harm
Regardless of the reason, aggressive drivers are dangerous. If you wind up with serious injuries because a reckless or careless person got out of control on the road, the experienced and compassionate Kissimmee personal injury attorneys at Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A. can help. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office to examine options for recovering damages today.