When you receive terrible news, an immediate reaction would be to sit down and process the information. Similarly, when you feel tired after a long day at work, the best thing to do is rest for a moment. Some people get behind the wheel despite feeling negative emotions and extreme fatigue, which can adversely affect how they drive.
Driving demands concentration, and these can become cognitive driving distractions. A cognitive distraction is anything that removes your focus and attention away from driving.
How do emotions affect driving?
High emotion levels and fatigue can impair a driver’s ability to make sound judgments and slow down their reaction time. Accidents can happen in a matter of seconds, which is why drivers should always be aware and ready. When a driver feels extremely sad, angry, stressed or tired, they are more likely to do the following:
- Run a traffic light
- Fail to look both ways when crossing an intersection
- Forget to signal a turn
- Forget to signal when changing lanes
- Drive too slow or too fast
- Make sudden or unpredictable stops
- Drive aggressively or experience road rage
- Fail to check their rearview and side mirrors
The driver’s mind is somewhere else; it is not on the road. They will not be able to drive with the same level of astuteness as any sensible driver should.
Emotionally distracted drivers can be at fault for an accident
A driver owes a duty to the others on the road, meaning they should drive with due prudence and reasonable care. When they let their emotions get the better of them, they may breach the duty they owe, and a motor vehicular accident can occur, which can cause severe damages and injuries. If a distressed or tired driver injures another party, the victim can pursue a personal injury case and hold them accountable.