If the daily grind didn’t hold enough stresses and strains on our physical and mental health already, it has been reported this year that driving a car is yet another avenue for stress to enter our lives! Getting behind the wheel of a car is now a more stressful way to travel than using public transport, so much so that drivers admitted that the stress they feel on their daily commutes meant that they could be persuaded to opt to use trains or buses to get about instead.
An experiment was conducted into the heart rate and EDR (electro dermal response) of drivers, compared with those using public transport and the result was that drivers felt 33% more stressed. Electro Dermal Response measures the changes in peoples skin, such as sweating– indicating when they are under psychological stress, and though this type of stress is not as visible to others in the way that ‘road rage’ is, it can have lasting effects of the drivers that feel it.
Contrary to popular belief it is not only accidents, serious events and being abused by other road users that can cause stress to our drivers; everyday occurrences such as lack of signalling and questionable parking can also peak our annoyance.
Brake Charity has some shocking statistics about the casualties on our roads in recent years; every day 5 people are killed on UK roads and 59 people are seriously injured, the cause of these terrible statistics namely comes down to drivers being distracted, speeding and taking risks. Along with the suffering that this has on the individual and their families, there is also an enormous toll on the British taxpayer in the sum of around £15 Billion. This is made up of emergency services costs, criminal justice costs and pay out from insurance companies.
To aim to reduce the stress that driving can cause and the awful impacts that it can have, there are a number of ways that you can try to combat it –
- Allowing extra time for your journey so the risk of being late isn’t added to your emotions
- Remain polite and courteous to other drivers even if they are behaving in the opposite manner!
- Avoid eye contact with those who are behaving aggressively
- If an altercation is preoccupying you, wait for a few minutes before you have cooled down before setting off again
51% of UK drivers say that they never break traffic laws; with this in mind This Is Lancashire created a driving personality quiz to give us a reality check when it comes to our reactions behind the wheel! Take the quiz below and see if there are areas where you could reduce your own, or other drivers stress levels.