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Attitude and driving: Negativity leads to danger

Do you know someone who is generally a negative person? They constantly talk about how badly things are going in their life, they never seem to be enjoying themselves and they may even come across as neurotic. They're self-absorbed, but in the sense that they think everything is stacked against them. It's draining to spend time with them, and you wonder if they have emotional and even mental issues to deal with.

Well, according to some experts, that person could actually be more dangerous to be around, especially when they're on the road. When looking at profiles of dangerous drivers, they found that negative people fit the bill far more often.

Specific traits

The study examined specific behavior and attitude traits. Those that correlated to higher car accident rates included:

  • Neurotic personalities
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Angry personalities
  • Aggressive behavior
  • A negative outlook

When someone views the world through this lens, they're statistically more likely to get involved in a crash, the study claims.

Exploring the link

Are these drivers actually seeing the world differently than their more positive counterparts? It seems like it, on many levels, but future research needs to dig in a bit deeper to find out exactly why this happens.

"Dangerous drivers were found to have higher anger and anxiety traits, but no research has explored whether dangerous drivers process emotional information differently than safe drivers do," said the professionals who carried out the study. "Exploring the relationship between dangerous driving and emotional information processing could help us understand the cognitive processing of dangerous drivers."

Even so, they think the link could be there, and it may all come back to perception.

For instance, imagine that a driver is going down a city street in Charleston when another driver pulls out of an alley in front of them, forcing them to hit the brakes. A positive person may simply think that the other driver didn't see them and made an honest mistake. A negative driver may assume that the driver did not care about their safety or even cut in front of them intentionally.

Both drivers go through the exact same event, but the negative driver is on the way to aggressive retaliation or road rage, while the positive driver is just thankful to have avoided an accident.

After a crash

You don't know what type of people you are sharing the road with at any given moment. You can't predict what they're going to do or how they'll react. If one of them does cause an accident, though, you can look into all of the legal options you have to seek financial compensation.

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