We talk a lot about the dangers of distracted or irresponsible driving on this blog, and there’s a reason for it. Careless attitude on the road kills many Americans each year, cutting short promising lives and leaving their families with a lifetime of grief.
Since what’s on your mind is directly related to how you fare behind the wheel, let’s look into a few states of mind that can get you in trouble. The next time you sense any of these emotions welling up in you when it’s time to get in the car, either snap out of a potentially harmful state or postpone the driving until when you’re in a better frame of mind.
We are not even referring to road rage here.
You had a fight with a colleague, your girlfriend, or a client sent you a nasty email.
You’re rightly mad but while anger is natural, it doesn’t really do one any good.
Getting behind the wheel when you are already angry puts you at a greater risk of road rage, and road rage experienced when one’s already angry is akin to pouring gasoline on fire.
You’ve just increased your chances of being in an accident or coming close to running into something/someone.
Anger ruins your focus, clouds your judgment, makes you do stupid things, and can lead to a lot of damage.
Next time you’ve had an argument with someone at work or wherever you may be, let it calm down to the point where it stops being the dominant frame of mind for you, before you get behind the wheel.
I’m not sure which is worse, feeling sad or angry. Both can be pretty intense emotions and that’s the problem with them.
Sadness, nervousness, or anxiety can be as overwhelming as anger, compromising your focus on the task at hand. It dulls your sensibilities and your ability to process the information you need to in order to drive safely.
But sadness has varying degrees to it. If you can clearly feel it in your body – palpitations in your stomach, a loudly beating heart, shortness of breath, shaky movements, tears welling up in your eyes, or a sinking heart – it’s best not to drive until you’ve returned to normalcy somewhat.
Between anger and sorrow, the former is easier to address. A few breaths can produce a remarkable calming effect. Sorrow, however, depending on the source behind it, can be a constant shadow trailing you wherever you go, affecting your overall productivity.
Ask someone to drive you home, or leave your car in the parking and take public transport to get to your destination safely.
I’m bored and can’t stop yawning
Boredom is a killer, literally and figuratively.
Some of us have a tougher time fighting boredom than others. These also tend to be those who get bored rather easily. Feeling bored and distracted is dangerous since it implies a lack of attention to or interest in what is happening around you – the last thing you want to experience when you are driving.
Thankfully, it’s also rather easy to fix. Choose a good playlist and turn on the volume. Do keep in mind not to fiddle with the playlist (or even the volume control) when driving.
Ok, this is not necessarily a state of mind but you never know. This could be because you are bored or because you haven’t been sleeping adequately.
If you didn’t sleep well the night before, today is going to be a challenge. Don’t compound it by driving during the rush hour. It’s a lot of responsibility and stress and your energy level and attention span are already compromised.
Take public transport instead.
If you’ve been driving for long on the interstate highway, take a break and catch up with your sleep. Don’t wait until you’re so tired that your eyes start watering. A lack of sleep has killed many a driver.
It’s your responsibility to figure out your state of mind and take the necessary measures to correct it. Sometimes deciding not to drive is the best decision.
Remember, there’s only one way to drive safely, and that is with a calm and clear mind, focused on the task at hand. Anything else is just pushing your luck.