Can a negative mood affect performance?
Whether you are participating in a sport, in a conversation, working a job, or just driving your vehicle, your emotional state can affect your performance. When you’re in a poor mood, you can begin to distract yourself with negative thoughts instead of noticing everything around you. When your mood is negative you are much more likely to take more risky actions than usual and are also more like to make mistakes or put yourself in dangerous positions.
When you are late to an appointment and in a poor mood, most people will begin taking riskier behavior on the road like speeding or swerving between lanes. This type of driving is unsafe and can increase your risk of crashing. Your mind can begin to focus less on safe driving and instead on getting to your appointment as soon as possible.
How a positive mood affects driving
When your mood is positive you are able to relax and assess situations much more clearly. Being in a good mood and having a clear mind is ideal when completing complicated activities.
When you are driving in a good mood, you are more like to be calm and won’t have to worry about stress or anxiety getting in your way. When your mood is positive you are more likely to be calm, relaxed, and alert. It becomes much easier to stay focused on the road and drive safely. You are also more likely to use good judgment in potentially dangerous situations and avoid them completely.
Tips to stay safe behind the wheel
- Take some time to think negative emotions through before getting behind the wheel
- Remind yourself that safety is a priority and focus on your responsibility as a driver
- Calming low-energy music can help regulate your mood, calm you down, and keep your focus on the road
- Avoid drugs and alcohol completely
- Ask a friend with a clear mind to take over driving until you can safely operate your vehicle
- Keep an eye on your speed and scan regularly for hazards or potential danger