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How Mood Can Impact Your Risk of a Car Crash

Researchers have found that being in a bad mood can increase your risk of crashing by nearly 10 times.

Imagine you’ve just received a call from your boss. They’re angry with you for something that wasn’t your fault, and they’ve given you a verbal warning. You’re feeling frustrated, helpless, and annoyed as you drive to work. Your mood has just taken a turn for the worse. Or you’ve just had an argument with your spouse about money. You’re feeling angry and upset as you walk to your car. As in the first scenario, your mood has just taken a turn for the worse. What you may not know is that your mood can impact your risk of being involved in a car crash.

angry driver

In fact, researchers have found that being in a bad mood can increase your risk of crashing by nearly 10 times. And while it’s not possible to avoid all negative emotions, there are things you can do to manage them, so they don’t put you and other drivers at risk. First, let’s take a look at how mood can impact your driving.

How Mood Can Impact Your Driving

  • When you’re feeling angry, for example, you may be more likely to tailgate, make sudden lane changes or engage in road rage.
  • If you’re feeling sad or depressed, you may be more likely to drive too slowly or make careless mistakes.
  • If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, you may be more likely to grip the steering wheel tightly, have trouble concentrating or make rash decisions.

It’s important to remember that these effects are temporary and that they don’t necessarily mean you’re a bad driver. But they can increase your risk of being involved in a crash.

6 Tips to Manage Your Mood While Driving

There are things you can do to manage your mood while driving. Here are 6 of them:

Deep Breathing: Take deep breaths and count to four as you breathe in and out. This will help you relax and focus on your driving.

Listening to Music: Turn on calming or happy music to improve your mood. Avoid loud, aggressive, or fast-paced music, which can make you feel more agitated. If you choose to listen to music, make sure to adjust the stereo before you begin driving so that it does not become a distraction.

Stopping for a Break: If you’re feeling angry, stressed, or overwhelmed, pull over to a safe location and take a few minutes to calm down. Once you’re feeling more relaxed, continue driving.

Make a Concentrated Effort to Put Your Emotions Aside: This can be difficult, but it’s important to focus on the task of driving and not let your emotions get the best of you.

Think Positive Thoughts: If you’re feeling angry or stressed, try to think about something that makes you happy or calm. This will help improve your mood and make driving more enjoyable.

Talk to Someone: If you’re feeling angry, sad, or depressed, call a friend or family member and talk about what’s going on. This will help you feel better and take your mind off of driving.

“What if I Was Injured in a Car Crash Caused by With an Angry Driver?”

Other drivers also experience emotions that may increase their risk of causing a car accident. And while some people are able to manage their emotions and continue driving safely, there are some who aren’t. If you’re involved in a car crash caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

These cases can be complex, often needing the input of a car accident reconstructionist to determine how the mood of the other driver impacted their ability to drive safely. In this case, it would be best to work with an experienced St. Louis injury attorney. An experienced attorney will be able to investigate the crash, help you determine who was at fault, and how to best prove your case.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a car crash caused by the negligence of another driver, The Hoffmann Law Firm has 25 years of experience. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation.


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Updated: July 11, 2022