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The Connection Between Stress And Recklessness On The Road


Severe accidents on Maryland roadways have been on the rise over the past couple of years in Maryland. One Trooper noted that more people are dying in serious collisions that are often due to impairment, distractions, and/or higher speeds—regularly over 100 mph. What gives?

Pandemic Stress

 According to State Police in Maryland nearly 200,000 tickets were issued during the initial months of the pandemic. There were more serious collisions than usual too.  One clinical psychologist from the Huntsman Mental Health Institute notes that stress can have noticeable impacts on people—impacts that interfere with one’s typical psychological, social, and physical functions.  Because we know that the pandemic sent stress levels through the roof for many Americans, it follows that some are experiencing slower reactions, and problems with controlling their impulses. Poor decision making can be a risky thing behind the wheel—leading some drivers to speed, drive more aggressively, and make mistakes. All too often, ambiguous circumstances are misinterpreted, resulting in hostile—translate unsafe—reactions.  As more drivers become angry and reactive instead of letting simple slights roll off their backs, everyone on the road is put in greater danger.

Steps to Reduce Stress 

What can you do to minimize stress behind the wheel?  There are plenty of good suggestions to consider:

  1. Give yourself more time to arrive at your destination than you think you’ll need whenever possible.  It’s better to arrive early than to feel rushed!
  2. Know where you’re going and the route you’ll be taking in advance; that way you don’t have to stress over getting lost.
  3. Stay focused on the road so unexpected hazards don’t throw you off.
  4. Keep your phone at bay.
  5. If you see a driver who is acting aggressively, get out of the way and do what you can to evade them.
  6. Make sure your tires and vehicle are well-maintained to minimize break-downs.
  7. If you find yourself feeling high anxiety, take a moment to pull over and take some deep breaths.
  8. Think about all the reasons you have to get home safely and let that motivate your behavior.

Avoiding the Other Guy 

So often, other aggressive drivers put innocents at risk.  What should you do if you encounter someone whose driving is clearly unsafe?  For starters, give them the benefit of the doubt.  Never assume their bad driving is directed toward you.  Beyond that, make a point to stay calm yourself, and let them pass.  If the driver is clearly angry with you, avoid egging them on.  Instead, back down and hope the incident passes.  If necessary, dial #77 for help.

When Aggressive Drivers Cause Harm 

Regardless of the reason, aggressive drivers are dangerous.  If you wind up in the hospital due to reckless or careless driving by another motorist, the experienced Baltimore personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Hasson D. Barnes can help you examine options for recovering damages.  Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.



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