A new distracted driving study from Virginia Tech discovered how our emotions can put us at risk of being involved in a car accident. Researchers used cameras, sensors and radar data from 3,500 drivers to uncover the reasons behind distracted driving accidents. Over the course of the study, researchers observed more than 900 crashes. Although this study discovered the usual suspects, such as texting and driving, it discovered a new cause.
Virginia Tech’s study claims our emotions can distract us while driving. According to the research, being sad or mad behind the wheel can make you ten times more likely to be involved in a car accident. The same study claims talking on a mobile phone while driving raises the risk of being in an accident twofold. If this study is correct, being in a bad mood is five times more dangerous than talking on the phone while driving!
Over the last several weeks, we have discussed how distracted driving is a serious threat to public safety. This new study goes a step further, claiming our own emotions can put us at risk. How might emotions like sadness distract us while driving?
Why Depression Can Contribute to Distracted Driving
The study claims sadness was one of the emotions that can put drivers at risk. Although sadness and clinical depression are sometimes two separate conditions, they can have identical symptoms. Depression is an insidious mental health condition that can make concentrating very difficult. According to Mayo Clinic, depression can also cause excessive sleepiness, forgetfulness and slowed thinking ability. These symptoms are terrible for complex tasks associated with driving.
Fortunately, if you are suffering from sadness or depression and worry about your safety while driving, know that both are treatable conditions.