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Surprising Factors That Affect Your Driving


If you have ever had the misfortune of being involved in an auto accident or simply ventured onto the interstate during Baton Rouge’s rush hour traffic, you realize just how quickly and frequently these incidents occur. According to the LSU Highway Safety Research Group, there were over 19,000 total traffic accidents on Baton Rouge roadways in 2012. Of course, the severity of these accidents varies greatly and depends largely on factors such as speed, type of vehicle, and location. However, there are other, lesser known elements which can also play a role.

Some of the most seemingly mundane parts of your day or commute can weigh heavily on your likelihood to be involved in an accident. Most drivers acknowledge the importance of wearing their seatbelt or not driving after drinking, but these less obvious variables can more easily slip under the radar. Here are just some of the surprising factors that are affecting your driving:

  • Emotion – The heights of emotion, whether positive or negative, tend to have an effect on drivers but rarely in a good way. Instead, dangerous distraction results. Those experiencing stress, sadness, or other strong emotions tend to become less observant and are more likely to make unsafe maneuvers such as cutting in front of other vehicles. Additionally, those who are feeling highly emotional have a stronger tendency toward road rage. These drivers are overly aggressive and endanger all others on the road. In fact, aggressive driving is cited as a contributing factor in 66 percent of all traffic fatalities.
  • Music – Music and driving seem to go hand-in-hand. Very few of us make our commutes without listening to something on the radio, and what exactly what we choose can have a very big impact on how well we drive. Numerous studies suggest that not only the volume of music, but also the tempo can affect factors such as attentiveness and speed. Louder, more upbeat music accelerates the heart rate and often causes drivers to subconsciously speed up. One recent study found that among the most dangerous songs to listen to while driving were “Hey Mama” by the Black Eyed Peas and “Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses. On the other side, music from artists such as Coldplay and Norah Jones ranked among the safest.
  • Routine – Most people think of home as a safe haven. It’s somewhere they feel comfortable and can let down their guard. The problem with this is that many also let down their guard when driving close to home. Research suggests that the majority of car accidents take place within 25 miles of the home. Of course, this is partly because we do more driving in the areas that are closest to our residence. However, it can also be attributed to lack of attentiveness. When we are comfortable and in familiar surroundings, we tend to be less observant of situations around us. The routine of driving to and from your home can become such a ritual that you simply don’t notice factors that you otherwise would. Additionally, drivers often forego their seat belts when they are only going short distances, a mistake that can prove devastating.

Are you always a safe driver? You may assume that you are, because you tend to follow all traffic laws. Perhaps you keep a close eye on your speed, wear your seatbelt, and never text. However, there are likely still factors impacting your level of driver safety that you don’t even realize. The next time you get behind the wheel, be aware of variables such as stress, the music you choose, and if you are allowing your commute to become too routine. Each of these can have a very real impact on your safety, as well as that of other drivers on the road.

At Spencer Calahan Injury Lawyers, your safety is always our top priority. If you have been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, contact our office and speak to a skilled auto injury attorney in New Orleans that will gladly provide a free evaluation of your case. Simply click here, or call us directly at (225) 387-2323.