You’ve likely driven your car when you’re angry or sad, but new research from Virginia Tech suggests drivers increase their risk of a crash by almost tenfold if they operate their vehicles while upset.
Additionally, drivers are twice as likely to crash if they are texting, reading, or using touchscreen menus while driving. The study suggests drivers engage in distracting activities 50% of the time.
Lead study author and director of Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute Tom Dingus says this research is important because an increasing number of teens are driving while distracted.
“Our analysis shows that, if we take no steps in the near future to limit the number of distracting activities in a vehicle, those who represent the next generation of drivers will only continue to be at greater risk of a crash,” he says.
The study examined 905 crashes that involved injury or property damage and found driver fatigue, error, impairment, and distraction were present in 90% of the cases.
Researchers found certain things that were previously considered accident-causing behaviours like applying makeup or following too close to the car ahead were not present in the majority of the crashes they analyzed.