Car accidents are caused by many factors. Drunk driving, distracted driving, tire defects, product defects in the car’s mechanisms, the weather, and many other factors can lead to a collision. StudyAn Insurance company in the UK has carried out a survey which suggests an unusual cause of car accidents: love. According to the survey, about 2.5 million car collisions in the UK occur due to romantic arguments that fuel road rage.
The StudyAn Insurance company examined the driving habits of 1183 drivers and found that 19% of the drivers drove erratically after an argument with their romantic partners or spouses. Another 36% were unable to concentrate on the road as effectively after a romantic argument. Honey Langcaster-James, a psychologist discussing the survey in the media noted that it can take one hour for emotions to settle down after an intense argument with one’s partner. Obviously, getting behind the wheel during this time can pose dangers.
Of course, currently drivers who are in a car accident are not asked whether they have just had an argument with their partner, so it is difficult to say precisely what percentage of car crashes in the US can be attributable to romance-related road rage. However, driving experts have known for some time that strong emotions and upset can impact driving ability and concentration. Since we tend to invest a lot of emotion into arguments with a romantic partner, it is logical that these arguments would lead to especially intense emotional upset.
If you consider the last time you had a spat with a partner, you probably remember how terrible it felt. Intense upset can make us cry, tremble, and even get physically ill. During a heated argument and during intense emotions, our blood pressure temporarily increases. This can have a significant physical result. Emotional upset can make up hyperventilate and even lose consciousness. It makes it difficult to focus or articulate. It makes us ill in some cases. Obviously, driving in this state can be very dangerous.
In the StudyAn Insurance company survey, one out of 12 drivers surveyed admitted to having a car accident following a lover’s quarrel. One in three admitted to driving off after an argument. The survey found that drivers driving soon after an argument with a loved one were more likely to experience road rage. They were also more likely to speed, cut other motorists off, tailgate, and even steal parking spaces.
Psychologist Langcaster-James notes that drivers who are upset or angry following an emotional outburst – such as the outburst caused by an argument with a loved one – may need to release tension. In some cases, they may subconsciously choose to speed in order to achieve this. She also notes that drivers who are emotionally upset are very distracted and are therefore unable to safely focus on driving.