Leave these at the door before you get behind the wheel

Aug 17 2017, 3:56 am

Stewing over a conversation you had with your other half this morning? Feeling the stress of being late for work? Exhausted from last night’s Netflix marathon?

Whether you realize it or not, feelings like these can seriously hamper your driving. And it turns out, a lot of people get behind the wheel when they’re not in the right frame of mind.

This could be part of the reason why crash rates are going up in the province. According to ICBC, on an average day, there are about 875 crashes – that’s like one crash almost every two minutes.

So what are we feeling? Nearly all the respondents from a recent Insights West survey admitted to being in some emotional state when driving. The top four emotions driving bad driving are as follows.

Feeling rushed

Sure, everyone is bound to feel rushed at one point or another. But whether you’ve been delayed at work, or just got out of bed late, speeding is not the answer.

If you’re running late, call your boss or message your friend before you start up the car to let them know that you’ll be late. This way, you’ll have no reason to feel rushed on the road. Sometimes it’s okay to be fashionably late.

Being tired

The kids or neighbours may have kept you up, but you still have to get up the next morning and head to work.

But driving tired can be dangerous – for you, your passengers, and everyone else on the road. When you’re bleary-eyed, it’s hard to think straight and be aware of everything that’s going on in the road. If it’s an option, hang up the keys and take transit, carpool, or catch a cab to get to work.

Tired during a long road trip? Taking lots of breaks is key. Get out and walk around to get some fresh air. If that’s not enough, who doesn’t like an afternoon nap? Pull over to a safe area, turn off your car, lock your doors and take a power nap.

Being impatient

According to the survey, it turns out those who think they’re a better driver than most were more likely to be aggressive or employ dangerous driving behaviours.

To make sure that this isn’t you, the next time you’re following someone you think is driving too slow, try adjusting your attitude. When we’re on the road, remember that we’re all in it together, so take a breath, crank up the Enya and find your inner-Zen.

Feeling angry or stressed

You’ve had a crazy morning at the office or just got a parking ticket, and now, all you feel is rage! Driving when you feel like this means you may be tempted to take your frustrations out on the road – like driving over the speed limit, cutting someone off, or honking or screaming at other drivers.

But how do you avoid this? Loosen that vise grip on the steering wheel, and put a smile on your face. Laugh out loud, even! A change in your disposition can jolt you out of your funk and place your focus firmly back in the driver’s seat.

It’s no surprise that being in any kind of emotional state while driving impacts how you drive. So listen to your instincts before you get behind the wheel. If you’re tired, ill or emotionally upset consider taking a break from driving. To drive safely, check out ICBC’s site for free resources, like the practice knowledge test, the driver’s guide, and the Tuning up for Drivers guide.

So make sure you’re in the right mood to drive before you even consider getting behind the wheel.

Test your Drive Smart skills and see how you compare with others. Check out icbc.com/drivesmart for more driving tips.


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