Pakistan National Institute of Defensive Driving

Mental Conditions that affect Driving

We all know that physical conditions such as fatigue or eyesight problems can affect your ability to drive safely. Mental conditions, such as emotions, stress or attitude can also affect your driving safety.

Rx for Mental Conditions
Knowing that a condition exists is the first step toward con­trolling its affect on your driving. If you recognize the signs of excess stress, emotions or attitude as occasional traveling companions, ask yourself what you can do to keep mental con­ditions from affecting your driving.

We can’t avoid some stress in our lives. But too much stress can interfere with your driving. Stress creates physical and mental fatigue, slowing your reaction time and reducing your ability to concentrate. It may cause you to behave erratically or be less tolerant of other drivers and road conditions.

Anger, grief and worry can rob you of your concentration and your desire to drive safely. Even positive emotions, like happi­ness at a job promotion or an impending vacation, can result in mental distraction.

Driving Attitude
Some attitudes make us better drivers. Others, such as aggres­siveness or inattentiveness, can get in the way of our safety.

Coping With Mental Conditions
Whenever you get behind the wheel, ask yourself if it is safe for you to drive right now.

  • Before you drive, sit in your vehicle and take a few deep breaths.
  • Remind yourself that your safety depends on your being calm and rational.
  • Stay within the speed limit. Resist the urge to act out ten­sions by going too fast or too close to other vehicles.
  • Try to avoid driving in areas, such as those with heavy traf­fic, that make you tense.
  • Cope with stress in your daily life: do something physical, such as walking or jogging. Or take a course in stress reduction.
  • Ask yourself what changes you can make in your life to bet­ter cope with stress, anger or other mental states. Then start making these changes. Talking things out with a friend can help too.