Emotional Rescue: Being Upset and Unfit to Drive

24th February 2016 Driving Offences

One of the common themes in the many hundreds of motoring cases which I've handled over the last decade is that of distraction.

Making or taking 'phone calls, checking texts and e-mails or fiddling with the sat-nav can all reduce the proportion of a driver's brain dedicated to concentrating on how they interact with other vehicles on the road.

It's a conundrum which I've explored previously on this 'blog: how an increase in the amount of technology which now fills dashboard of modern cars, vans and trucks can diminish what we're supposed to be doing while at the wheel.

However, for all of the anger - ire which is fully justified, in my opinion - directed at individuals who can't bring themselves to stop fidgeting with gadgets in the cabin, new research suggests that it might not actually be as conducive to poor performance as a mobile.

A study has discovered that people are more likely to have an accident if they drive while emotional than when tending to texts or surfing the 'net on their smartphones (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3458656/Calm-dear-Driving-angry-dangerous-using-phone-makes-10-times-likely-crash.html).

The conclusion was reached by academics in the United States, who examined the conduct of more than 3,500 drivers of varying ages by fitting their cars with an array of sensors, GPS devices and cameras.

I have to say that I'm not entirely surprised based on the details of cases that either I've dealt with or heard about involving individuals who have gone for a drive supposedly to clear their heads after a tiff with colleagues, partners or friends.

All too often, such situations might not end up in a prang but do result in penalty points. Even though there's no specific penalty of 'driving while tearful or hacked off', getting an unpleasant situation out of your system can easily lead to being charged with speeding or careless driving.

Before turning the key in the ignition, we should all remember to take a deep breath and consider the potentially dangerous consequences of not being in complete control of ourselves and our vehicles.

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Hojol Uddin is a Partner and Head of Department located in Manchesterin our Driving Offences department

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