Can Anxiety Cause Car Crashes?

Posted on by in Auto Accidents

The human costs of COVID-19 - above and beyond the death toll - are difficult to estimate. However, we do know that the emotional costs of the pandemic include severe anxiety.

This is a common emotional problem that, among other effects, impairs driving yet gets little attention.

Extreme emotions can interfere with driving by distracting the mind and impairing:

  • Clear thinking
  • Quick decision-making
  • Mental focus
  • Judgment

We live in stressful times, and anxiety is a natural response to this. Yet, anxiety can reach excessive levels in some people to the point of becoming a disorder.

Normal anxiety occurs in response to a direct cause and dissipates when the cause is over; for example, going to a job interview or taking a test. This isn't the case with people suffering from an anxiety disorder. People who suffer from panic attacks or irrational phobias, know that these can unexpectedly occur in ordinary situations.

If you were injured in a car accident by an impaired driver, an experienced Florida car accident attorney can help. For a free consultation, contact us at The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary today.

How Severe Anxiety Affects Driving

Those overcome with worry or feeling highly stressed should avoid driving, just as they would while intoxicated.

A driver suffering from severe anxiety is wrapped up in his or her feelings of apprehension and dread to the point of this leaving little focus on the driving at hand. Emotionally distracted people are overwhelmed drivers who make mistakes, such as:

  • Making sudden lane changes
  • Sudden braking for no apparent reason
  • Exhibiting other erratic driving
  • Lose precision in their driving skills
  • Impaired road awareness
  • Exhibit feelings of detachment from the driving situation
  • Have impaired reaction time
  • Dangerous maneuvers from loss of judgment

Drivers may not recognize the debilitating effects of their emotions on their driving, although they may avoid well-known forms of distractions behind the wheel, such as:

  • Drinking
  • Texting
  • Cell phone use

People with an anxiety disorder must seek treatment. When COVID-19 hit, in some cases, health problems were significantly exacerbated. Thus, pre-COVID, they may have received regular treatment and were being prescribed medication by a psychologist or psychiatrist for health problems, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Catastrophic brain injuries

Yet, when the medical system was crowded by COVID-19, their treatment was disrupted because appointments were being canceled and they were more exposed to the severe hardships caused by anxiety.

Anxiety or Depression Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

A recent study published in the American Medical Association's online journal determined that the number of people in the United States experiencing symptoms of depression increased three times during the pandemic. The study shows COVID-19 has caused higher rates of anxiety and depression across the general population.

According to another source, the share of adults reporting anxiety or depression has increased since the start of the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Younger adults were more likely to report anxiety
  • In July 2020, 4 in 10 adults age 18 and older reported symptoms of anxiety or depression
  • A majority of U.S. adults 18 and older (53%) said that worry and stress related to coronavirus has hurt their mental health, up from 39% in May
  • Among older adults (ages 65 and older), close to half (46%) said that worry and stress related to coronavirus has harmed their mental health, up from 31% in May

How Can a Miami Car Accident Attorney Help With Your Claim?

The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary's legal team will focus on your case - so you can focus on getting your life back on track - by:

  • Gathering evidence
  • Consulting with experts
  • Negotiating with insurers on your behalf
  • If it is necessary, we might even take your case to trial

We operate on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay us a percentage of the settlement or verdict amount we obtain only if and when we win your case.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.