Emotional Driving: Why You Should Avoid Driving When Stressed, Angry, Sad, And Even Excited

Road rage: it’s one of the most common emotions people have while driving. And while most people recognize that becoming enraged behind the wheel isn’t safe, what most don’t realize is how any strong emotion – not just anger – can be a danger to you when driving. The truth of the matter is that driving while stressed sad, angry, or even excited can impact your driving skills and create a dangerous situation on the road.

Read on for all you need to know about emotional driving, and how to avoid emotional driving to keep you, and everyone around you, safer.

How Do Emotions Affect Your Driving Ability?

Strong emotions, from happiness to sadness to anger, can impair your decision-making skills and cognition. They’re also distracting while driving. Stress, too, can cause some people to sleep poorly and become upset, and the feeling is often compounded when they’re on the road and have to get somewhere in a hurry.

When you drive with strong emotions, then you can easily become distracted. This can cause safety issues, such as:

  • Drifting onto the shoulder or into another lane
  • Failing to use mirrors in crowded places, such as a parking lot
  • Miss a stop sign or a red light
  • Hit another car or even a pedestrian
  • Speed in special zones such as construction or school zones

When your emotions are high, even the smallest incident on the road can trigger those emotions, making something as innocent as being behind a slow driver a much bigger issue in your mind – and potentially leading to unsafe actions on the road.

At the other end of the spectrum, being happy when you’re behind the wheel can also cause issues. If you’re in a euphoric or elevated state, you may be less careful in driving, not watching your speed closely, or not properly looking when completing a simple task such as checking your blind spot before changing lanes. Any type of distracting driving can have serious consequences – it doesn’t matter which end of the emotional spectrum you are on.

woman driving car in emotional state
Image by Paje Victoria on Unsplash: Wondering why you should avoid driving when stressed, and how can anger and stress impact your driving? The bottom line is that any type of emotional driving is dangerous.

Before You Drive

If you really want to make sure you’re driving as safely as possible, start thinking about your emotional state before you get behind the wheel. Give yourself a small time out to calm your emotions. If you’re feeling worked up, you should:

  • Take about 10 minutes to calm yourself down
  • Take a short walk and focus on your breathing before getting in the car
  • Talk to someone to help achieve a state of calm
  • Sit quietly and think about your mood, including what could happen if you got behind the wheel in an emotionally heightened state

If you’re in a rush to get somewhere, it’s even more important to take a few minutes to calm and center yourself before driving. It’s better to be late to something than it is to not get there at all because you’ve had an accident.

When You’re Behind The Wheel

If you’re driving, there are things you can do to even out your emotions. These tips can help you to stay calmer:

  • Create a comfortable environment. Make sure that the temperature inside your car isn’t too hot or too cold. If it’s not right, it can add to your emotional state.
  • Don’t tense up. Relax yourself behind the wheel. Make sure your muscles aren’t clenched and full of anxiety. Don’t grip the wheel too tightly or it can increase your feelings of tension.
  • Deal with frustration appropriately. When you find yourself become upset or frustrated behind the wheel, try turning on some relaxing music. This can be a good way to help keep yourself centered, but be sure to keep the volume low so you don’t trigger more anxiety.
  • Practice controlled breathing. Breathing exercises are a great way to relieve tension and help you to feel more relaxed behind the wheel.
happy drivers in car
Image by Sofia on Unsplash: How does excitement affect driving? In fact, much the same as any other heightened emotional state.

Driving and dealing with other people on the road can be frustrating, and if your emotions are already high, it can make the situation worse. The best thing you can do is recognize that you can easily become triggered by others and refuse to allow your emotions to take over in that moment.

If someone becomes agitated with you on the road, don’t let that pull you into negative emotions of your own. Behave courteously and calmly when dealing with other drivers no matter what, and your emotional state will serve you well in staying safe.

Featured image by mentatdgt on Pexels

How To Be A Responsible Passenger In A Disabled Driver’s Vehicle

When traveling in a vehicle, the most important thing is to stay safe to avoid accidents, injury, and death. Road travel can be inherently risky – because when it comes down to it, vehicles are large metal objects moving at high speeds, which of course involves an element of danger. Driving a vehicle is a big responsibility, because your own life and the lives of other road users are essentially in your hands.

It is not only the responsibility of drivers to ensure that road travel is undertaken safely. Vehicle passengers are also responsible for road safety. If you are a passenger in a disabled driver’s vehicle, it is crucial to behave appropriately and responsibly. Being a responsible passenger in a disabled person’s vehicle will help to ensure that you and your companion arrive at your destination safely.

How To Be A Safe Passenger In A Car

It is important to understand how to be a safe passenger in a car. Passengers have a large influence on drivers, and they need to behave in an appropriate manner. If passengers behave inappropriately they can easily cause a traffic accident.

Every year thousands of Americans die in road accidents caused by irresponsible passenger behavior. As a passenger in a disabled driver’s vehicle, you need to always maintain a high level of awareness and employ responsible passenger etiquette. Your life, and the lives of other road users, depend on you knowing how to be a responsible passenger.

disabled driver and passenger in vehicle
Image by StockSnap on Pixabay: What are your responsibilities as a passenger?

How Can I Be A Good Passenger In A Car?

Wondering “How can I be a responsible passenger in a vehicle?” There are several key ways to be a good passenger in a car. Some are quite obvious and others less obvious, but all of the ways you can be a good passenger are very important. It is easy to distract a driver and cause a road accident if you are not aware of how to be a responsible vehicle passenger.

What Are Your Responsibilities As A Passenger In A Disabled Driver’s Vehicle?

As a passenger in a disabled driver’s vehicle, you have several responsibilities. You must employ good passenger etiquette. You must not distract the driver. And you must provide any assistance that the driver needs in order to get to your destination safely.

What Actions Can You Take As A Passenger To Assist The Driver?

The actions you can take as a passenger to assist the driver will depend on what the specific driver needs and prefers. Some will require assistance, whether physically or with directions. Other drivers will just want you to be quiet and relaxed, and to not distract them. 

Here are our top tips on how to be a responsible passenger in a disabled driver’s vehicle.

Always Wear Your Seatbelt

It is essential that you always wear your seatbelt when traveling as a passenger. Put on your seatbelt before the vehicle starts moving. Not wearing your seatbelt is extremely dangerous, as is putting it on while the vehicle is moving, because this can distract the driver.

Don’t Be Loud Or Distracting

Being loud or distracting a driver is very irresponsible when you are traveling in a vehicle. Distracted drivers may easily cause an accident. So while you are a passenger in a disabled person’s vehicle, always speak calmly and quietly and do not play overly loud music.

Help With Navigation

As a responsible vehicle passenger, you should always be attentive and ready to help out with navigation if necessary. It can be risky for a driver to attempt to navigate with a phone or read a map while driving, so it is safer for a responsible passenger to perform any complex navigation.

Resist Temptation To Be A Backseat Driver

Most backseat driving is irritating and distracting. Avoid the urge to give driving advice while you are a passenger in a disabled person’s vehicle. Unless it is extremely urgent, give any advice and recommendations when the journey is over and the driver can give you their full attention.

responsible passenger in a vehicle
Image by Free-Photos on Pixabay: How can I be a good passenger in a car?

Don’t Point Out Distractions In The Environment

No matter how beautiful that mountain range off to the left is, do not point it out to the driver, because this type of distraction can easily cause an accident. Avoid drawing the driver’s attention away from the road to look at things in the road’s surroundings.

Encourage Safe Driving

Never hurry the driver and always encourage safe driving. Reward responsible and safe driving with praise and encouragement.

Help The Driver To Stay Alert

If the driver is tired, you can help them to stay alert. Do this by encouraging them to stop for a coffee or to take a rest. You can help them stay focused by chatting to them.

How Do You Get A Disabled Parking Permit?

If you have a disability that entitles you to get a disabled parking permit, the best way to apply is through the Dr. Handicap online clinic. On Dr. Handicap, you will have a telemedicine consultation with a medical professional who will verify your disability and complete, sign, and email your DMV application form. It is a quick and easy process.

Featured image by Bertsz on Pixabay

What Is Defensive Driving And How Can It Help Disabled Drivers?

Safety should be the number one priority for all disabled drivers. The unfortunate truth is that when traveling by road, there is always a risk of getting into a crash. Injury or even death are always possibilities when we travel in a vehicle, particularly if that vehicle is driven in an unsafe manner. But if we practice sensible, defensive driving, we can improve our chances of staying safe on the roads.

Tragically, over 38,000 people die in accidents on American roads each year. It is important to be aware of this grim statistic. By remaining fully cognizant of the dangers we face when driving, we can take the necessary precautions to mitigate those dangers.

Many of the crashes, injuries, and deaths that happen each year on American roads could be avoided if more people practiced safe, defensive driving. Far too many road accidents are caused by human error, negligence, a lack of concentration, tiredness, or aggressive driving.

Unfortunately, there will probably always be dangerous drivers who pose a threat to themselves and others. The best thing responsible drivers can focus on is reducing their vulnerability by driving safely and practicing defensive driving. Today, we will discuss defensive driving and how it can help disabled drivers.

What Is Defensive Driving?

Defensive driving is a type of driving intended as a defense against the dangerous actions of other road users and other hazards on the road such as bad weather. It is a driving style that is cautious and sensible, and that puts safety first.

Defensive driving involves a set of driving practices that are effective at defending the driver and their passengers from the dangers of road travel.

Dr Handicap - disabled drivers
Image by Free-Photos on Pixabay: How does defensive driving help disabled drivers?

Why Is Defensive Driving Important?

How can defensive driving benefit you and others, and why is it important? Simply, it is important because it keeps people safe. Road travel can be risky because other drivers often make mistakes and drive responsibly. Hazards such as bad weather and slippery surfaces can also make road travel dangerous. Defensive driving protects against these hazards.

What Are The Principles Of Defensive Driving?

So, how do you practice defensive driving? The main principles of defensive driving are:

  • Always sit high and alert behind the wheel, and keep your eyes on the road
  • Maintain full concentration
  • Minimize distractions
  • Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles
  • Slow down at all intersections and junctions
  • Be aware of any blind spots
  • Make sure other drivers can see you
  • Always assume other drivers may make mistakes

What Are The Benefits Of Defensive Driving?

So, how can defensive driving help disabled drivers? There are a lot of benefits to defensive driving. The main benefits are that it:

  • Keeps you safe
  • Keeps other drivers and pedestrians safe
  • Reduces costs of vehicle repair and insurance
  • Makes you a good example to other road users
  • Lowers your stress levels

What Are Some Examples Of Defensive Driving?

Some examples of defensive driving include:

  • Keeping a safe distance from other vehicles
  • Driving at a sensible speed and not going above the legal speed limit
  • Maintaining full concentration
  • Constantly checking your mirrors to be aware of your surroundings
  • Avoiding distractions from other passengers, loud music, podcasts, etc.
driver wearing seatbelt in car
Image by freestocks-photos on Pixabay: Practicing defensive driving benefits all road-users.

How Can You Get a Disabled Parking Permit?

If you have a disability but you have not yet gotten a disabled parking permit, it is a simple and quick process. The best way to get a disabled parking permit is to arrange a telemedicine consultation with a medical practitioner in your state through the Dr Handicap online clinic.

During a video consultation (which can be undertaken from the comfort of your own home) the medical practitioner will verify your disability. The qualifying conditions for a disabled parking permit include:

  • An inability to walk 200 feet without needing to stop to rest
  • Not being able to walk without aid from an assistive device
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Any condition that necessitates the use of portable oxygen
  • Legal blindness
  • An arthritic, orthopedic, or neurological condition that hampers mobility

Once your disability has been verified, the medical practitioner will fill in the relevant sections of a disabled parking permit application form and email it directly to you. All you need to do is fill in the remaining sections and submit it to your local disabled parking authorities.

Featured image by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

6 Good Driving Habits That Every Driver Should Develop

How can you stay safe on the road? To drive safely, it helps to develop good driving habits each time you get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to get into bad habits while driving – but this can put the safety of yourself, your passengers, and other drivers at risk.

So what are good driving habits, exactly? Simply, these are actions, thoughts, or procedures that you follow each time you drive a car, with the aim of making your driving safe. It’s generally thought that new habits take about a month to form, so if you make an effort to practice good driving habits each day, they’ll soon become second nature.

Read on for six good driving habits that every driver should develop – plus a few that you should always avoid.

1. Focus on the Road

Wondering “How can I make my driving better?” Well, our most important driving tip is to always stay highly focused on the road. Distracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents, due to drivers paying attention to something else other than the road and what’s happening on it.

Always remain focused when behind the wheel. This means never texting or making calls while driving, listening to the radio at an appropriate volume, and keeping an eye on your mirrors and rear window, so you have a full picture of your surroundings.

If passengers, children, or pets are fussing or making noise in the car, pull over and handle the situation – but never try to calm your children or animals while still driving.

man sitting in car
Image by Fortune Vieyra on Unsplash: Checking your mirrors frequently is a good driving habit to pick up.

2. Check Your Mirrors

Your rearview and side mirrors are there to help you drive safely, so use them to your advantage. Whenever you get into the car, check your mirrors to see if their positioning is correct; they can easily get bumped, and you don’t want to have to adjust them while driving.

When you’re driving, especially when switching lanes, always check your mirrors first to make sure it’s safe. Keep in mind that all cars have a blind spot (an area you can’t see in your mirrors), so turn your head as well to make sure it’s absolutely safe before turning or merging.

3. Look After Your Car

Your car is a complex and expensive machine, so make sure it’s always running its best with regular serving and oil changes.

You might want to learn some driving basics to make things easier in an emergency. So what basic skills should all drivers have? To start, it can be helpful to know how to change a tire, how to set up flares, and how to call for help in an emergency. Otherwise, always make sure you have a roadside assistance membership so you can call for help at any time.

4. Take Frequent Breaks

Heading out on a long road trip? If so, remember to take frequent breaks. Driving when tired can lead to accidents, so stay fresh by stopping for a stretch and some fresh air every two hours or so.

Breaks can be a good opportunity to look at your map, work out where you’re going, and think about the parking situation at your destination. If you qualify for a disabled parking permit, make sure you always have it with you so it’s easy to access parking.

5. Use Your Turn Signals

It seems obvious, but many drivers neglect to use their turn signals. If you don’t use your signals before turning left or right or changing lanes, other drivers on the road don’t know what you’re planning.

This can be incredibly dangerous, so always get into the habit of indicating well before you plan to turn.

6. Slow Down

Speed can be a killer on the roads. Even if you’re running late, always drive the speed limit. If the roads are wet or visibility is poor, it’s a good idea to slow down even more.

Going the speed limit means you’ll not only avoid getting a ticket, but you’ll arrive safely at your destination.

man showing bad driving habits using phone while driving
Image by Alexandre Boucher on Unsplash: What are some bad driving habits? Texting and driving is one of the worst.

Bad Habits to Avoid

Now that you know how to drive safely, what are some bad driving habits to avoid? Firstly, to stay safe, never text or browse on your phone while driving – it can quickly cause a crash.

You’ll also want to avoid driving while angry. If you’re already feeling mad or upset, you’re not likely to concentrate on your driving, and you might even experience aggression known as road rage. Road rage can make it easy to do something you’ll regret, such as acting negatively towards another driver or making reckless choices behind the wheel.

When driving, always avoid using alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication that you know will make you tired or groggy. If you’re in a position where you’re no longer able to drive, call a cab or rideshare service, ask a friend for a ride, or wait a few hours until it’s safe to drive.

Are you ready to improve your driving? If so, make an effort to develop good driving habits, starting with the tips outlined above. They can help you become a more confident and responsible driver, keeping you and your passengers safe, happy, and secure while on the road.

Featured image by Jan Baborak on Unsplash

Why Is Driving So Tiring? How To Avoid Getting Sleepy Behind The Wheel

You’re cruising down the highway, with a long drive ahead of you. You slowly notice that your eyes are starting to close, and before you know it you’re veering into the lane next to you. So why is driving so tiring? And what can you do to stay alert behind the wheel?

All drivers quickly learn that driving can be both mentally and physically tiring, especially at night. This can often be due to a combination of factors, including driver fatigue, lack of sleep, or even certain medications. Research has even shown that the low-frequency vibrations of our cars can make us tired, inducing sleepiness – if you’ve ever lulled a baby to sleep in a car, you can relate!

Wondering “How can I stop being so tired while driving?” Here are a few tips on how to avoid getting sleepy behind the wheel, helping you stay safe and in control.

Know the warning signs of driver fatigue

Why does driving make you so tired? Often, it’s because you were already tired when you got in the car. To avoid getting too tired while you drive, make sure you’re familiar with the signs of driver fatigue. It’s most frequently experienced on long road trips, as sitting in the car for hours on end can be exhausting.

If you notice yourself yawning, feeling stiff or cramped, or your eyes feel sore, these are signs that you need a break. Or you might notice that your reaction times have slowed down, you’re daydreaming and not focused on the road, or you’re having trouble keeping your head up – these can also indicate that it’s time to pull over.

Dr Handicap - man behind wheel
Image by rezasaad on Unsplash: Avoid driving at night, as it’s when you’re most likely to feel fatigued.

Sleep well the night before

One of the best ways to prevent driver fatigue is by sleeping well the night before. Get a solid eight hours, at least, and try to avoid alcohol or stimulants, as these can impact your sleep quality. If you’ve had too much alcohol the night before, you can still read over the legal limit the next morning, so this is the last thing you want to do before a long drive.

It’s best to start road trips in the morning, when you feel fresh. Don’t start off on a long drive in the afternoon, after an eight-hour shift – you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Take regular breaks

On long drives, it’s helpful to take breaks about every two hours. Pull over, get out of the car, stretch, and give your eyes and mind a break from the concentration of driving.

This gives you a much-needed break and you should feel more refreshed when you start driving again. Some drivers might find it tempting to stock up on coffee and sweet treats when they take breaks, but healthier snacks are always better; the inevitable sugar crash a few hours later can leave you feeling tired and groggy.

Most drivers find that around 8–10 hours of driving is more than enough – if you need to drive more than that, it’s best to stop overnight halfway.

Share the driving

A great way to avoid fatigue is to share long drives with someone else. Is driving mentally exhausting? Yes – many drivers find that the repetitive nature of highway driving, the constant focus, and the mental energy it requires leaves them worn out at the end of the day.

If you can share the driving with a friend, it allows you to rest, take a nap, or just give your eyes and brain a break. Having company in the car can also help you stay awake, since you’ll have someone to talk to and pass the time. Even better, you can split the cost of gas!

Try not to drive at night

If all possible, try to avoid driving at night. You’re likely to be tired from a long day, and decreased visibility makes it harder to stay safe on the road.

The night skies also attract lots of wildlife to the road, so in rural areas, nighttime driving can increase your risk of an accident.

Dr Handicap - driving with passenger
Image by Orkun Azap on Unsplash: How can I stop being so tired while driving? Sometimes, bringing a friend along to share the drive can help.

Talk to your doctor

If you’re doing all the right things, but you still feel exhausted by driving, you might want to talk to your doctor to learn more. Sometimes, fatigue can be a side effect of medication or a health condition, so medical care can allow you to manage it safely.

A medical checkup can help you learn more, working out what might be causing you to feel so tired behind the wheel. Even if you have a chronic health condition, like breathing difficulties, it’s still possible to enjoy the fun of driving. Your doctor can talk to you about special considerations or alterations you can make to the way you drive that it can make it safer and easier for you.

Driving is one of the best ways to get around town, and for many people, it gives them a strong sense of independence and freedom. However, for your own sake and for the drivers around you, always take care to avoid driver fatigue. You want to stay alert and focused so that you can safely enjoy driving for many years to come.

Featured image by Andy Art on Unsplash