Operating a motor vehicle takes focus and care, and driving while under emotional strain can present just as much danger as driving drunk. ABC News notes that drivers distracted by strong emotions are ten times more likely to crash and that driving while sad, angry or otherwise agitated is one of the most common types of distracted driving.

Understanding the facts about emotional driving, as well as its dangers, may help you avoid a serious car wreck in the future.

About emotional driving

Strong emotions, even positive ones, can affect your ability to safely drive a motor vehicle. These feelings may either come on suddenly or if you become agitated by certain driving conditions, including:

  • Traffic jams
  • Construction delays
  • Other drivers’ bad habits

Because agitation can turn to road rage, you may want to learn a few coping methods like having a soothing music playlist handy. The faster you recognize and handle your anger or frustration, the less likely you are to take out those emotions on other drivers.

Dangerous distractions

You may think of distracted driving as talking or texting on your cell phone while you are behind the wheel, but strong emotions can create just as dangerous of a situation. For example, if you drove to the local hospital to cheer a sick relative and become emotional during the visit, this could distract you from driving home safely. Taking time to collect yourself before you leave may reduce the risk of accident and injury.

Emotional awareness could prevent this type of distracted driving and the damage it causes. Pulling over, asking someone else to drive or waiting until you are calmer may all help you avoid a serious accident.