The survey of UK drivers revealed that 4.5 million motorists admit to committing motoring offences, such as running red lights or speeding, as a result of feeling emotional.
And it turns out 12% of drivers in Scotland alone do this. The survey also shows that 3.2 million drivers in the UK have had an accident or near miss as a result of feeling emotional, including 11% in Scotland. This is despite over half of UK motorists (51%) believing that their emotional state behind the wheel does not impact their ability to drive.
Following the findings, which show drivers do not take their emotional state while driving seriously, Confused.com has partnered with TV behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings to explore the ways in which driving under the influence of emotions impacts our mind, body and actions, and therefore our ability to drive safely. Together we have explored the effects of the following emotions and these can be explored using our interactive tool here.
The research found that anger behind the wheel causes more accidents or near misses than any other emotion, with 992,0004 UK drivers admitting they have crashed or had a near miss while feeling angry. 83% of Scottish motorists felt anger would affect someone’s driving capabilities the most followed by exhaustion (68%).
Looking at the rest of the UK, Northern Ireland was found to be home to the drivers that let anger affect their concentration the most, with 47% admitting this. Northern Ireland also has the highest number of drivers that admit to arguing with their partner while behind the wheel (39%).
The South West region was found to be one of the areas where drivers that commit the least amount of emotion-related road offences, despite being the region with the second highest amount of drivers that let anger in their car affect their concentration on the roads. However, it is those within East Anglia that are the safest, with the least amount of people committing road offences due to their emotions in the UK (9%).
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “What’s worrying about our findings is that over half of the nation don’t believe their emotions impact their ability to drive. And yet our research overwhelmingly tells us that they do.
“With a third of all emotion-based accidents or near misses – over one million each year - being triggered by anger for one reason or another, it’s critical that we keep our emotions in check while we’re on the road.
“Refusing to get embroiled in an argument while driving – or letting your feelings affect you – is key to road safety. Drivers that do find themselves involved in road accidents caused by their emotions will need to notify their insurer, which could result in increased insurance premiums. To save money on your essential car costs, from insurance to MOTs, visit the motor experts at Confused.com.”