Emotions affect our every thought and action. We are not able to separate ourselves from our emotional state. We drive as we are.
Mental Effects of Emotions
a. Distraction from the driving task. Our thoughts tend towards the cause of the emotion. b. Reaction to events around us. If we are upset, we may tend to react in a more aggressive manner to others around us.
a. Heart rate increases b. Digestion slows down c. Your body may release adrenaline as it prepares for a fight. d. Your body may produce coagulates in your blood system also preparing for a fight.
a. Anger b. Fear c. Anxiety d. Depression e. Discouragement f. Sorrow g. Even excitement can distract us. h. This is a short list.
All emotions can cause us to be distracted and react differently.
How to Reduce the Effects
a. Recognize in yourself when you are not "at your best". Take a break or even let someone else drive. b. Recognize that other highway users are emotional people too and that they may have had a very bad day. We will look at "road rage" in a minute.
Drive in an organized manner
Use all the correct driving procedures so that when your mind is not fully concentrating on the driving task, you are still following others at a safe distance, going a proper speed, using your turn signals, traveling in the right lane, etc out of habit.
We are extreme creatures of habit. Use it to our advantage.
The goal of emotional control is to recognize and understand your mental and physical limitations and drive within those limits.
Road rage is an increasing problem on our highways today. There are thousands of road rage problems each year in the US. Do not challenge other drivers, do not make eye contact, get away from the situation, even dial 911, *HP, or *SP and get help. Drive to the police station. Do not get out of your car. Keep in mind the other person may be armed and if upset, dangerous.
Why road rage?
We are anti social people. Rude is the norm. Common courtesy is an oxymoron.
Most people have an I problem. I am the only one that I care about.
a. Speeding b. Following too close c. Distractions such as: 1. Radio 2. CD player 3. Cell phone 4. eating/drinking d. Vehicle type e. Vehicle condition f. Drag racing g. Assuming right of way at intersections h. Passing other vehicles i. Not using restraint systems j. Railroad grade crossings k. Driving While Impaired
"Lifetime Risk" is a realization that taking risks are cumulative. The more you take a given risk, the more likely it is to "catch up with you".
a. Select a safer vehicle b. Slow down c. Increase following distance d. Drive sober e. Wear restraints properly f. Use headlights day and night g. Avoid peer pressure in the vehicle h. Select the proper lane for travel i. Avoid high congestion areas
j. And of course, put the cell away.
An unsafe situation can be caused by many factors, environmental or human. These include all those addressed above. The three outcomes of an unsafe situation are:
a. An accident with its consequences: Death, injury, property damage b. A near accident (or near miss) which can be a learning experience c. A potential accident with no apparent consequences. Here we learn that risks have little or no consequences so we are willing to take the same risk again or even a more dangerous risk the next time.