Emotionally agitated drivers are in risk of collisions ten times more than other drivers


Did you recently get through a brake-up or a work problem? Then don’t get behind the wheel!

A new research found that driver-related factors such as fatigue, error, impairment and distraction – including getting behind the wheel while angry or sad – were present in nearly 90 percent of motor vehicle crashes.

A new study from researchers at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that drivers increase their risk in crashing by almost TEN TIMES when they drive while angry, sad, crying or emotionally agitated.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute researchers, writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reported that drivers more than double their crash risk when they choose to engage in distracting activities that require them to take their eyes off the road, such as using a handheld cell phone, reading or writing, or using touchscreen menus on a vehicle instrument panel. And, according to the institute’s research, drivers engage in some type of distracting activity more than 50 percent of the time they are driving!

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Stud

For this study, researchers examined data from 905 Serious Crashes that involved injury or property damage and found that driver-related factors that include fatigue, error, impairment and distractions were present in nearly 90 percent of the crashes.
Traveling well above the speed limit increases the collision risk 13 times, and driver performance errors such as sudden or improper braking or being unfamiliar with a vehicle or roadway have an impact on individual risk.

Surprisingly, researchers found several factors previously thought to increase driver risk, such as applying makeup or following a vehicle too closely, were actually less common in the naturalistic driving study conducted - , meaning they were minimally present or were not present at all in the crashes analyzed.
Factors such as interacting with a child in the rear seat of a vehicle were found to have a protective effect, or had a risk lower than the base risk value.

All factors analyzed in the article were compared to episodes of model driving, or episodes in which the drivers were verified to be alert, attentive and sober, marking the first known time such a comparative analysis has been made.

Data more accurate than ever
For this study, researches examined data from the Second Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study, which is the largest light-vehicle naturalistic driving study ever conducted with more than 3,500 participants whose cars were equipped with unnoticeable tools including cameras, sensors and radars that continuously collects real-world driver performance and behavior, from the time the driver turns on the ignition to the time they turn off their vehicles. The drivers in the Second Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study participated between one and two years each, resulting in more than 35 million miles of continuous naturalistic driving data.
The study represents the largest naturalistic crash database available to date, with more than 1,600 verified crash events ranging in severity from low, such as tire and curb strikes, to severe, including police-reportable crashes.
While previous naturalistic driving data analysis required combining crash data with “surrogate” crashes, the this study facilitates the first crash-only analysis, resulting in the most conclusive findings to date of the biggest risks faced by drivers today, the researchers said.

Distraction and young drivers
“These findings are important because we see a younger population of drivers, particularly teens, who are more prone to engaging in distracting activities while driving,” said Tom Dingus, lead author of the study and director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. “Our analysis shows that, if we take no steps in the near future to limit the number of distracting activities in a vehicle, those who represent the next generation of drivers will only continue to be at greater risk of a crash.”

Based on an article by EHSToday.