The stress of having a long, bad day at work could increase your chances of an accident on the road, according to research conducted by Confused.com.
The study reveals that 13.7 million motorists admit to driving home after a bad day at work, with some experiencing feelings of anger, stress and exhaustion.
More than half of drivers (51 per cent) believe their emotional state doesn’t impact on their ability to drive, yet 4.5 million drivers still admit to committing a motoring offence as a result of their emotions.
Half (52 per cent) of Brits admit to speeding over the legal limit due to feeling angry, while almost a third (32 per cent) of drivers admit to speeding while feeling exhausted in order to get home faster. A further 3.2 million drivers have had an accident or near miss as a result of spiralling emotions from bad days at work.
Anger causes the highest amount of near misses or accidents of any emotion; 992,000 drivers have either crashed or had a near miss as a result of anger, according to the research.
Nearly a third (31 per cent) of accidents and near misses in the UK are caused by anger, whereas one in six (17 per cent) are caused by exhaustion.
TV behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings explores the way in which driving under the influence of emotions impacts our mind, body and therefore our ability to drive safely.
Hemmings says, ‘Physically, a driver’s heart rate will accelerate from a standard 70bpm to a whopping 180bpm when feeling angry. Blood pressure will rise and muscles will tense, especially in the neck and shoulders. ‘
She adds, ‘A driver’s attention narrows as they focus on the events of their bad day. Adrenaline and noradrenaline are also released, triggering arousal, and the driver is likely to focus mentally on the cause of their anger – those who made them angry – meaning we lose the ability to monitor our full surroundings.’
The research finds that 62 per cent of motorists are unhappy morning drivers. This could affect the morning commute to work, especially if unhappy drivers are running late.
Almost two fifths (39 per cent) of morning commuters admit to driving to work while being late, and one in five (20 per cent) say the fear of redundancy affects their driving concentration.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says, ‘After a bad day at work at work, getting in your car and heading home can sometimes feel like a relief. The actions that caused us to get angry are likely to play on our mind throughout the journey home. This this can have a serious impact on our ability to drive safely.
‘It’s important to be aware of how your feelings can affect your driving and what you must do to minimise the risk of an accident.’