How Can You Control Your Emotions When You Drive?

If you just had some close calls on the road because you lost control of your emotions and have been wondering how you can control your emotions when you drive, then we’ve got you covered.

Driving is an activity that requires focus, critical thinking, patience, self-control, and good reaction time. But let’s be honest; it’s not uncommon for people to let their emotions get the best of them while behind the wheel. 

Angry driving, also called ‘road rage,’ is a significant problem that can lead to accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. So, can your emotions control your driving, and how do the 6 emotions that apply to driving influence your behavior? Let’s dive in.

Why is angry driving a major problem?

In essence, there are a total of 6 primary emotions that can influence your driving. These are fear, anger, joy, sadness, contempt, disgust, and surprise. Obviously, anger is the most influential of them when driving. 

It’s no secret that emotions can play a role in how we drive. For example, some people may become more aggressive or reckless when angry or frustrated, while others may become more distracted or careless when feeling happy or relaxed. 

In both cases, it’s important to be aware of your emotions’ impact on your driving and learn how to control them. Emotional driving can lead to several problems on the road, including:

  • Reckless or aggressive behavior, such as speeding, tailgating, or cutting off other drivers.
  • Distracted or careless driving, such as texting or eating while driving. No one wants to be that guy who caused an accident because they were too busy posting their lunch on Instagram.
  • Poor decision-making, such as failing to yield or running red lights. Emotions can cloud our judgment and cause us to make poor choices behind the wheel.
  • Slowed reaction time, which can make it more difficult to avoid accidents or hazards. When we’re emotional, our brains aren’t functioning at their best, making it harder to react quickly to changing conditions. 

All of these behaviors can increase the risk of accidents and injuries on the road. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aggressive driving plays a role in more than half of all traffic fatalities. This is backed up by a study that suggests that driving while angry increases crash risk by 9.8 times

Controlling your emotions while you drive is essential for maintaining safety on the road.

Can your emotions control your driving?

Your emotions can indeed have an impact on your driving. However, that doesn’t mean you have to be at the mercy of your feelings every time you get behind the wheel. With a little effort and self-awareness, you can control your emotions and keep them from affecting your driving.


One way to avoid emotional driving is to improve your focus and concentration. This can help you stay calm and focused while behind the wheel, even in stressful or challenging situations. It’s also a good idea to practice critical thinking and to be aware of your surroundings. This can help you make better decisions and react quickly to changing conditions.

How to avoid emotional driving?

There are several strategies you can use to avoid emotional driving:

Take a deep breath

This may sound cliche, but it can be effective in helping to calm your mind and body. When you start to feel yourself getting worked up, take a moment to take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. This can help to relax your muscles and clear your mind.

Use positive self-talk

When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it’s easy to get caught up in negative thoughts. However, try to remind yourself that you’re in control and have the skills and experience to handle the situation. Repeat a positive mantra to yourself, such as “I am a safe and responsible driver.”

Listen to music or a podcast

Music and podcasts can be a great way to distract yourself and take your mind off of whatever is causing you stress. Choose something calming and uplifting to help you stay focused and relaxed.

Visualize a positive outcome

Before starting your journey, close your eyes and imagine driving safely and smoothly to your destination. Positive visualization techniques can help reframe your perspective and keep you from getting too worked up.

Plan ahead

If you know you tend to get emotional in certain situations, plan your routes and travel times accordingly. Avoiding the stressors that trigger your emotions can help you stay calm and focused. Planning ahead is helpful in all aspects of life and is a shared quality of great leaders

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and paying attention to your thoughts and emotions without judgment. This can be a helpful tool for managing emotions while driving. Try to stay focused on the task at hand, in this case, driving, and avoid getting carried away by negative thoughts or feelings.

5 safe driving tips

In addition to avoiding emotional driving, here are several other ways you can prioritize safety on the road:

  1. Avoid distractions. Texting, eating, applying makeup, and other distractions can take your attention away from the road and increase the risk of accidents. Keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel to stay safe at all times.
  2. Follow traffic laws. Obeying traffic laws, such as speed limits and stop signs, helps to keep you and others safe on the road.
  3. Be courteous to other drivers. Simple acts of kindness, such as signaling before changing lanes or allowing others to merge in a jam, can reduce tensions and conflicts on the road.
  4. Stay alert and well-rested. Drowsy or fatigued driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Make sure you get plenty of sleep before driving and take breaks to stay alert. If there’s a risk of you losing attention and causing trouble, pull over at the next stop and refill your batteries with a twenty-minute power nap.
  5. Avoid situations that may trigger strong emotions. If you know that certain circumstances, such as driving in heavy traffic or bad weather, are likely to cause you stress or frustration, try to avoid those situations if possible.

The bottom line

Controlling your emotions while you drive is essential for maintaining safety on the road and keeping your head safe. You now know how can you control your emotions when you drive, so use it to learn to manage your feelings and avoid emotional driving.

Remember to take deep breaths, use positive self-talk, listen to music or a podcast, visualize a positive outcome, plan, and practice mindfulness to keep yourself calm and focused behind the wheel. Although you cannot influence how others drive, you can ensure that your driving is safe for both you and others.

Ensure to always prioritize safety and emotional control while driving – it’s not worth risking your life or the lives of others for the sake of a moment of anger or frustration.


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