Most drivers are well-aware of the dangerous distractions that can affect someone’s driving. It seems as new technologies progress, you’re liable to pass someone on the road drinking a coffee, chatting on their cell phone, and plugging in their destination’s address into their GPS; while the quality of their driving becomes an afterthought. As if these distractions weren’t bad enough, the everyday stressors of life have seemed to work its way into people’s driving habits for years.
Did you know if you are worried, upset, frightened, depressed, or excited that your driving skills can be negatively impacted? Fatigue, stress, and our basic emotions can also have a serious effect on our driving, which can serve as a catalyst to many dangers on the open road.
Here are a few things you can do to manage your emotions while driving, and make sure you’re doing your part to keep you, your passengers, and other motorists around you safe.
- If you’re angry, annoyed or upset, and not in control, safely pull your vehicle off the road. If you’re in a residential neighborhood or on a street with businesses, pull into a parking lot. Take a few moments to close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and relax. If the emotion is particularly strong, take a short walk, or go get something to drink (non-alcoholic, of course); just stay off of the road until you are back in control.
- If you find yourself drifting into a state of anxiety or depression, make a concerted effort to put it out of your mind until you stop the car. Another idea is to distract yourself with music.
- If it is a matter of feeling rushed or hurried, give yourself a bit of extra time before you begin your drive. That will help you avoid getting even more frustrated with slower drivers or other things that are out of your control, such as heavy traffic or a back up due to an accident. Plus, allowing for extra time means you won’t be as likely to start speeding, which can end up saving you a great deal of stress and does not put you in a position where you will get a speeding ticket.
Keeping your emotions in control makes a huge difference in all areas of your life, not just your driving safety. Driving is a privilege, not a right, and in order to retain your driver’s license and keep a clean driving record, it’s most important to control your anger before you start the ignition.
Penske Automotive Group wants to keep you and your family safe. If you follow these driving tips and take the necessary steps to control your anger while driving, you’re not only doing yourself a favor, but keeping those around you safe as well.