After having that big fight, experiencing a break-up with a significant other, discovering a job loss, or hearing devastating news about the illness or death of a loved one, it is common for a person to get behind the wheel of a car in order to get some time and space in order to think about what happened.  Unfortunately, the decision to take to the road for an emotional escape may have terrible consequences for the driver and other people on the road.

Most people are aware of the dangers of driving while distracted, but few people think about extreme emotions as being a major distraction.  While these emotions often revolve around an upsetting event, the feelings triggered by an exceptionally happy event also can lead to a dangerous loss of focus on the road.  A person who is very frustrated, sad, depressed, or angry may have a similar reaction time to a sudden event that a person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol might experience.  One of the key factors to think about is whether the individual is arguing with someone, crying, trembling, or otherwise visibly displaying emotional turmoil.  If someone observing the individual can tell that he is under the influence of a strong emotion, then that person should not be driving.

People who are in the grip of strong emotion may experience a loss of focus on the road that is even greater than what happens when talking on a cell phone.  This loss of focus is what leads to serious accidents, whether that loss of focus results in a driver taking his eyes off the road, his focus off the surroundings, or his hands off the wheel.  Some of the effects of the loss of focus include:

  • An impairment in the driver’s ability to observe potential problems and react to them in a timely manner;
  • A failure in the driver’s ability to interpret situations that require immediate action, such as traffic slowing in response to a construction zone;
  • A driver’s failure to drive defensively, specifically not being able to understand or anticipate the actions of other drivers;
  • A driver who acts in an uncharacteristically negligent or reckless manner, including speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and making dangerous turns; or
  • Creating a situation where the driver feels disconnected from what is happening on the road around him or her.

It is imperative that a person who is experiencing extreme emotions takes the appropriate actions to avoid a dangerous situation.  Pulling over until he or she calms down is a good solution to finding oneself in this situation.  In addition, a person may be able to overcome the emotion long enough to get to a safe location by forcing focus onto the traffic conditions.  However, if the driver choose not to take these actions an instead continued to operate a motor vehicle, then he may be liable for the consequences of a resulting accident.

Similar to a person who has had too much to drink, a person who is distraught, angry, or exceptionally happy, to the level of distraction, should probably call a friend or relative to pick them up rather than getting into the vehicle and onto the road.  Otherwise, maybe a walk would be a better idea to clear the head than getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Murphy and Associates PLC Fights for Those Hurt Due to Another Person’s Negligence

Any time there is a car accident, there is a question of what caused it.  While the answer to this inquiry may be pure happenstance, when the actions of another individual caused or contributed to the accident, then it critical to retain the right legal counsel to enforce your rights.  The dedicated and qualified Kentucky Injury Attorneys at Murphy and Associates PLC have the skill to create a case that demonstrates the negligence of the wrongdoer in order to get the accident victims the compensation that they deserve.  To learn how we can help you, call us at (502) 205-2097 to schedule a free initial consultation.  We only receive our payment if we recover on your behalf.