There are many risks inherent in operating a motor vehicle, both on highways and rural roads, as dangers such as bad weather, inattentive drivers and poor road conditions. All of these conditions can lead to driver stress, and the National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that several studies show a connection between driver mood and car accidents.
Because negative emotions can have an effect on the way drivers operate their vehicles, motorists may want to understand the correlation between the two so they can recognize and alter potentially risky driving behavior.
Stressors on the road
Some drivers may not feel stress until they get behind the wheel. Once on the road, they may encounter situations that cause and increase stress with each mile traveled, including:
- Heavy traffic
- Slow drivers
- Construction zones that impede traffic flow
Over time, stress may build and cause drivers to focus more on how they feel than operating their vehicles safely, which can increase the risk of a car accident.
Actions of other drivers
In some cases, the actions of other drivers around them may cause and elevate the stress levels for motorists. A driver who is on his or her cell phone at a red light and paying more attention to a text or call rather than the signal could cause the driver behind that individual to become angry and honk the horn. This could lead to a road rage incident and cause one or both drivers to react without thinking or engage in physical violence when emotions run rampant.
Driving performance is likely to fall drastically when a driver’s emotions take over. While triggers may vary between genders and age groups, any driver may fall victim to stress while driving.