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Intense emotions can make driving more dangerous

Distracted driving is a serious issue. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that distractions play a role in over 3,000 fatal accidents every year.

Driving distractions can be broken down into three categories, manual distractions, visual distractions and cognitive distractions. Manual distractions include things like eating, drinking and using a cell phone. Visual distractions may include billboards, people on the sidewalk and brightly colored vehicles.

Cognitive distractions are often overlooked because of the lack of a physical element, but driving in a highly emotional state can be very dangerous. The following are some examples that illustrate this consequential concern.

In-car conversations

It can be nice to have company in the car, particularly on longer trips. An adult passenger can help by suggesting that the driver takes rest breaks, and they might even be able to take over driving duties for a while. However, there are occasions when passengers can become an unwelcome distraction. For example, if a passenger initiates an intense debate in the car, this can take the driver’s attention away from the road because they are in a highly emotional state. A driver’s focus must remain on the potential hazards on the road.

Any kind of strong emotions

Being angry, sad or frustrated is never good while driving. For example, driving after hearing bad news can result in the person operating the vehicle being very distracted. The same can be said if a driver sets off shortly after being in a heated argument with a family member. Strong positive emotions are a cognitive distraction as well as negative emotions. If a person is elated or adrenalized, they are less likely to pay attention to hazards on the road. Being in a calm state of mind is a fundamental component of road safety.

If a driver in a highly emotional state has crashed into you, this could be classed as negligence. In such instances, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your pain and suffering, in addition to other losses caused by that driver’s fault.