Can thoughts and feelings affect the way that you drive?

Lady's reflection in rear view mirror.

Published 9 April 2021
Last updated 9 April 2021

Discover how thoughts and feelings affect your ability to drive safely. Learn about driver behaviour and distraction. Develop self-reflection strategies for better driving.

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 will not 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 do not 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 @safedrivingforlife or via the Safe Driving for Life Twitter or 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.

Back to top