You hopefully already realize that you should not drive when you’re intoxicated, distracted, or overly tired. But one thing you might not realize is that your mood can also impair your driving ability and make you more likely to be in an accident. In fact, if you frequently find yourself frustrated behind the wheel, you may be taking unnecessary risks and failing to fully focus on the road.
Unfortunately, frustration seems to be a common state of mind for many drivers in Florida (and around the country) today. Some of the most frequently-cited causes of on-the-road frustration include:
Slow drivers. One of the biggest frustrations for many drivers is being held up by people who are traveling well under the speed limit; in fact, 60% of respondents in a survey reported in The Telegraph said that they experience increased stress and irritability when confronted with a car that isn’t keeping up with traffic (the respondents were British, but it’s safe to say that many American drivers feel the same way). Drivers who feel that the car in front of them is moving too slowly are more likely to tailgate and attempt dangerous overtaking maneuvers.
Long commutes. The average commute time in the US is 25.4 minutes, but in many major metropolitan areas, this time jumps to closer to an hour. It’s not too surprising that drivers who spend that much time in their car may find themselves getting more easily frustrated.
Crowded areas. Metropolitan areas with lots of cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes, and pedestrians often become congested, especially during rush hour. Drivers in these areas may also be frustrated due to less available parking and more frequent stops (in traffic and at intersections).
Texting and driving. A 2012 “drivers’ gripes” survey from Consumer Reports found that texting while driving was the behavior that most annoyed respondents, receiving an 8.9 on a 1-10 nuisance level. Texting while driving is now illegal in Florida, but unfortunately, some drivers still engage in this incredibly dangerous and frustrating behavior.
Drivers who fail to be courteous. It’s understandably annoying when other drivers tailgate, don’t wait their turn at a 4-way stop, cut you off while merging onto the highway, or engage in other uncourteous behaviors. Unfortunately, two cities in Florida—Orlando and Miami—rank in the top 10 for least courteous cities in the country.
Why Frustration Is Dangerous—and What You Can Do About It
Driving while in a negative emotional state can cause you to become distracted without you even realizing it. Some of the risks associated with frustrated driving include:
Impaired observation and slower reaction times
Becoming detached from other vehicles and drivers (i.e. starting to think of other drivers as obstacles and annoyances rather than real people), which may cause drivers to take risks that they wouldn’t have otherwise
Making risky maneuvers to get ahead in traffic, such as cutting over several lanes at a time, not leaving enough space when changing lanes, or even driving on the shoulder
Losing the ability to perform driving skills that require precise timing, such as merging onto the freeway or adjusting speed when the traffic ahead is slowing
While you might think that it’s impossible to just leave a bad mood at home, “I was frustrated” isn’t a valid excuse for getting into an accident. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your likelihood of becoming frustrated on your drive.
Leave extra time for your commute. Sometimes the simplest solutions are also the best. If you often find yourself getting frustrated because you feel like you’re rushing to get to work or other commitments on time, factor in some extra time to the usual length of your commute as “cushioning” so that if something comes up and you are held up in traffic, you won’t be as anxious.
Find something that calms you down (but doesn’t take your attention off the road). Take deep breaths, count slowly to 10, or listen to calming music—do whatever will best help you relax without distracting you. If you get to the point where you’re so frustrated that you can’t concentrate on the task of driving, find somewhere safe to pull over until you calm down. It’s not worth taking the risk of being in a car accident just to get to your destination a few minutes faster.
Find a less stressful route. If one particular route always stresses you out and it’s feasible to take another route, do so. Even if one route is slightly longer, it may end up being faster because there is less traffic (or it may at least be more scenic and relaxing).
Don’t engage with an aggressive driver. If a driver honks, yells at you, or flips you off, don’t take the bait and retaliate. When you retaliate, you are more likely to cause the situation to escalate and make both you and the other driver more frustrated.
Be aware when you start to become frustrated while driving and do your best to change your mood. Remember, you can’t control traffic, but you can control your reaction to it.
About the Author:
Steven Slootsky is a 1985 graduate of Nova Law School, which means he’s been a practicing Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer for more than 2 decades. He founded the Law Offices of The Injury Law Firm of South Florida in 1991. The Fort Lauderdale- based accident attorney is a member of the Florida Bar, as well as the Federal Bar for the Southern District for the U.S. District Court. During his career as a personal injury lawyer/auto accident compensation attorney, Steven has served as the co-chair of the Workers’ Compensation section for Broward County, Florida. He is also a Bronze member of the Florida Workers Advocates, a former member of the board, and serves as an “Eagle” member of the Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Although parking lot crashes are rarely high-speed, they do happen – a lot of them. Moreover, parking lot accidents often result in expensive repair bills and insurance increases. A parking lot crash can also cause serious or even fatal injuries, especially if pedestrians are involved. Below we’re going to break down how parking lot auto [..]
Consumer products regulations ensure that most products on the market are safe for their intended use. However, some consumer products companies push the boundaries of regulations or cut corners in the design or manufacturing process, which can lead to dangerous defective products reaching US consumers. When consumers are injured by a defective product, it may [..]
Medical malpractice is a type of professional negligence, and it can take many different forms. For example, it may be based on a negligent action that the doctor took, or conversely, on something the doctor failed to do. However, in order to successfully hold a doctor liable for medical malpractice, you must be able [..]
Florida policyholders purchase insurance and pay premiums with the understanding that – should disaster strike – their insurer will pay out damages to compensate for losses covered in the policy. That’s the whole point of insurance! Paying out covered damages is considered to be acting in good faith on the part of the insurance company. [..]
As your teen approaches their 15th birthday, they have an exciting opportunity – the ability to get their learner’s permit. The Florida learner’s permit allows residents to start the journey toward driving – and freedom! However, in the immortal words of Uncle Ben from Spiderman (say it with us), “With great power comes great responsibility.” [..]
As a parent, you care about your child and you look out for their well-being. However, you may not be aware of which types of injuries occur the most often for Florida kids, and that’s something that can be the difference between avoiding an accident and spending time in the hospital. Children are treated every [..]
The holidays are just around the corner, and many Floridians are looking forward to getting into the holiday spirit with colorful decorations and fun family activities. However, the holidays also carry an increased risk of many kinds of injuries. On their own, holiday decorations are responsible for about 15,000 injuries annually. You probably know to [..]
Not sure which car seat is right for your child? You have an important job as a parent—providing a safe experience for your child while he or she is riding in a vehicle. Thousands of children are injured or killed in Florida car crashes each year, and the right car seat can protect your child [..]
Haunted houses are supposed to be scary. You want to jump. You want to scream. You want to be nervous about turning the next corner. What do you not want? To get hurt. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to a Michigan woman in 2014. She visited the haunted house as a patron, and a moving [..]
Every day, Florida pedestrians are injured by car drivers. Some injuries are minor, yet some can be life-threatening. In this post, we’ll tell you the types of injuries you can expect if you get hit by a car, and what you can do to fight back and get the compensation you need and deserve. Stats [..]
Bars and advertisements for alcoholic products often encourage people to “drink responsibly,” but in some cases, the establishments or bartenders serving these drinks may be at least partially liable for a patron’s alcohol-related injury or death. Under certain circumstances, bars can—and should—be held responsible for over-serving patrons. Many states have “dram shop” laws (named [..]
The death of a loved one is traumatic and devastating experience— regardless of the cause. However, the ordeal can be especially upsetting if the death could have been avoided had it not been for the negligent actions of another. In Florida, surviving family members and loved ones may be able to recover compensation for [..]
Summertime is quickly approaching, which means barbecues, family vacations, and a lot of days sitting by the pool. While you and your loved ones enjoy the hot summer weather and cool water, it is important to keep yourself safe. In this post we will be focusing on swimming pool injuries and how to prevent them. [..]
Right now, all Florida drivers are required to have car insurance coverage that pays personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, but that may come to an end in 2019 if some lawmakers get their way. Florida currently operates under a “no-fault” system when it comes to paying insurance claims after a car accident. If a [..]
When you become a parent, every little decision regarding your child’s safety and development can become a hot debate. We’re not going to tell you how to raise your child, but we do have one piece of advice backed up with statistics from the AAP and NHTSA. When you are driving with your child, [..]
School is out, but that doesn’t mean your child has to be stuck at home for the summer with no structure and nothing to do. Summer camps are a great way to keep your child active, supervised, and having fun – while also allowing them to branch out. However, summer camps come with a lot [..]
What are your chances of getting hit by someone driving a rental car in Florida? Every year, the state of Florida has 15 million active drivers on its many roads and highways. About 250,000 drivers end up in car crashes annually in Florida. Since almost 85 million visitors come to enjoy Florida every year, [..]
It’s not every day that you get into an accident and need to file a personal injury protection (PIP) suit. This type of litigation may be confusing to many, especially since PIP laws are constantly being debated and changed in Florida. However, it is possible for you to get through this process and receive [..]
Image: http://pixabay.com/en/dog-man-attacking-canine-training-78117/ When Pets Attack, They Can Cause Serious or Even Fatal Injuries Most people like dogs. How can you resist those adoring eyes, the wagging tail, and the warm, fuzzy head that seems to appear in your lap just when you’re feeling your lowest? So many Americans like dogs, in fact, that [..]
The recent death of a Tampa couple is an example of what might have been a potential product liability lawsuit had they lived. On Thanksgiving Day, Kevin and Michelle Livingston were traveling home from a visit to south Florida. Reports indicate that their sport utility vehicle drove into the waters of a canal along [..]
This law firm helped me with my car accident case and helped me to get the most of the medical benefits that were needed after the accident, and gave me fair and helpful expectations on what I would recieve back for the pain and suffering after the accident.