Take the Pledge Now Driving is the first true taste of freedom for many teenagers. But with every great freedom comes responsibility. Distracted driving is an increasingly serious problem in America, and teen drivers are some of the most susceptible to its dangers.
Take the Pledge Now While some driving distractions—such as cell phone useor loud music—might seem more obvious, being overcome with strong emotions can be just as dangerous. Your judgment may become clouded as you focus more and more on an emotionally-charged interaction, idea, or event.
We'll walk you through some of the warning signs of emotionally distracted driving, as well as help you with some tools to handle your emotions when you're behind the wheel. Emotional Driving Distractions Your mood can shift in a matter of seconds due to emotional stimulation that, on the surface, you may not see as affecting you at all.
However, it's important to recognize situations that may have the potential to alter your mood—and therefore your driving. These situations can result in both negative and positive distracting emotions. Negative Emotions Some examples of negative events that may affect your mood and ability to focus on driving include: Getting into an argument with your significant other.
A stressful day at work. Another driver on the road cuts you off. Running late to an important appointment. If you find yourself in one of the situations above, or notice yourself becoming stressed, angry, or sad, take a moment to acknowledge how you're feeling.
Know that how you're feeling is okay and perfectly normal. Then, take a few more moments to recollect before getting behind the wheel of your car.
Take a look at our section below, Handling Emotional Distractionsfor steps to take before driving once you've experienced a situation that's left you with negative emotions.
Positive Emotions Similar to the effects of negative emotions, positive life events can also leave you just as distracted on the road.
A few examples of positive situations that could result in distracted driving include: Receiving a raise at work. Heading to or from a celebration.
Although these situations may not seem problematic at all, getting wrapped up in the emotions that come as a result could lead to very negative consequences. In fact, for some it might even be harder to let go of positive emotions than negative ones.
So, if you find yourself getting excited as a result of positive circumstances, let yourself experience the inevitable happiness and enthusiasm to their fullest extent.
Then, when you're sure you can fully focus on the road ahead, hop in the car and drive as if it were just another day. See our section on Handling Emotional Distractions for more tips on how to manage emotions that can lead to distracted driving. Handling Emotional Distractions If you find yourself experiencing strong positive or negative emotions, notice them, and try to acknowledge the specific effects they're having on your physical and mental state.
Before you decide to react on the road, you should: Pull over if you're already driving. Take deep breaths, perhaps while counting backwards in odd intervals. Remember that you have full control over your own actions and intentions, not the person, idea, or event affecting you.
Envision the consequences of your actions if you began driving recklessly. Consequences of Emotional Distractions The most prevalent results of emotional driving distractions are aggressive driving and road rage.
If law enforcement catches you engaging in road rage, you will face criminal offenses, which can result in jail time, required court appearances, and higher fines. Additionally, you may cause accidental damages to yourself or other drivers on the road. Some examples may include: Drifting into another lane.
Driving through a red light or stop sign. Rear-ending the car ahead of you. All of these accidents could result in personal injury lawsuitswhich could then result in jail time and court fines for you.
So, allow yourself the small amount of time it takes to regain focus after an emotionally stimulating event—it could save lives. Avoiding Conflict with Other Drivers If your emotions got the better of you, and you accidentally do something to upset another driver, make every effort to express remorse.
Ways you can do this include: Allowing the other driver to get ahead of you. This will immediately defuse the situation and prevent it from escalating into a dangerous encounter. In the event another driver continues to go after you and begins threatening you:Driving is the first true taste of freedom for many teenagers.
But with every great freedom comes responsibility. Distracted driving is an increasingly serious problem in America, and teen drivers are some of the most susceptible to its dangers.
In the face of so many distractions, driving more responsibly is not just important—it very well could be life-saving. While distractions can affect drivers of any age and experience level, distracted driving seems to pose an elevated crash risk for younger drivers.
In fact, the younger a driver is, the more likely it is that they had to steer or brake to avoid a collision in the past year due to a distraction inside their vehicle (TIRF ). Monday, March 15, Distractions affect drivers of all ages, and are one of the leading causes of accidents. I did not think that this was as serious as it sounded until I started driving myself.
Monday, March 15, Distractions affect drivers of all ages, and are one of the leading causes of accidents. I did not think that this was as serious as it sounded until I .
NSC recommends policies that prohibit both hands-free and handheld devices while driving to reduce the risk of crashes. Learn why by downloading the free white paper, "Understanding the distracted brain: Why driving while using hands-free cell phones is risky behavior.".
While distractions can affect drivers of any age and experience level, distracted driving seems to pose an elevated crash risk for younger drivers. In fact, the younger a driver is, the more likely it is that they had to steer or brake to avoid a collision in the past year due to a distraction inside their vehicle (TIRF ).