Can thoughts and feelings affect the way that you drive?


Ever since we started blogging on Safe Driving for Life, we’ve tried to give you an insider’s view of how your driving test will work on the day. In today’s instalment, we’ve decided to have a look at the way thoughts and feelings affect your driving.

Got feel at the wheel

The important thing to realise about driving is that there’s a difference between ‘driver behaviour’ and ‘driver skill’. In other words, while you may be able to lap a sports car around a testing track in record time, your stunning ability to control a vehicle won’t be of much use if you’re driving on a public road and feeling angry or stressed at the wheel.

Driven to distraction

The bottom line is that the way you think and feel affects how well you drive. In practice, this means that your thoughts and feelings have an impact on how vulnerable you are to internal and external ‘sources of distraction’ while driving.

For example, feeling stressed about being late might make you more prone to mental distraction. You rush, you don’t take the time to carry out proper observation – you might even reach for your mobile to see if anyone has called to ask where you are. All of this makes you a danger to yourself and other road users.

Tired of feeling like this

At this point you’re probably wondering if there’s anything you can do. Well, this is one of those exciting occasions where we can help one another. We’d love you to get in touch with us at [email protected] or via the Safe Driving for Life Twitter/Facebook accounts and let us know about the last time you felt angry, stressed or frustrated while you were driving. Were you already in a bad mood? Were you angry with another driver? If they annoyed you, how did it make you feel? We’ll pick a selection of your answers and come up with some super-special advice to help you deal with negative emotions, boost your confidence and enjoy your driving.

Quiz the driving expert

Alternatively, you can put any questions or thoughts about how to be a better driver to Dr Lisa Dorn. Lisa is the author of the acclaimed The Official DVSA Guide to Better Driving, star of the BBC’s ‘Road Rage School’ and a renowned authority in the field of driver psychology. She’ll be taking questions on a wide range of topics, as well as talking about how a better understanding of your ‘driving mind’ can help you to become a safer and more competent driver.

Putting your questions to Lisa is easy. Simply log on to Twitter, search for the SafeDrivingforLife profile and join the Periscope interview on Thursday, 24 November @ 1 pm. You’ll be able to post your questions live during the broadcast.

And don’t worry if you can’t watch the interview live. You can put a question to Lisa by emailing it to [email protected], and the broadcast will be available to play back later on the Safe Driving for Life website. Questions need to be with us by Tuesday, 22 November.