February 14, 2011

Fleet News this week reported the findings of exciting new research from New Zealand which purports to show that being a bit anxious isn’t necessarily good for your driving.

A team of top antipodean research bods led by acclaimed white coat person Dr Joanne Taylor of NZ’s Massive University have made some fascinating discoveries about the links between anxiety and poor driving.

Dr Jo and her team examined two groups of anxious drivers: those affected by previous traumatic experiences and those who were just a bit anxious.

Intriguingly, they found there wasn’t much difference between the driving behaviours of the two groups. Both were rated: not that great.

But when the team looked at people who weren’t particularly anxious at all, they found that these individuals tended to exhibit fewer “counterproductive driving behaviours” than either group of anxious drivers.

Among the things anxious drivers did wrong according to speed obsessed Kiwi researchers were: “driving too slowly, and slowing for unnecessary reasons.” Call Bankstone News psychoanalytically incurious, but wouldn’t the more material consideration be the necessity or otherwise of the slowing, rather than the reasoning behind it.

Once you have wandered into the anxiety zone, it seems, you’re pretty much in Catch 22 territory. “Ironically,” Feet News reports, “it is possible that people are so anxious about driving that they overcompensate in changing their driving behaviours, which in turn increases the likelihood of being in a collision, which then further increases anxiety.”

Is there no escape from this pitiless cycle of self-reinforcing calamity and despair? Happily, it seems there is: “Targeted fleet driver training is the obvious way to improve knowledge, brush up on skills, boost confidence, and reduce the amount of anxiety experienced,” Fleet News claims blithely.

So what are you waiting for, fleet managers; fleet safety costs and right here is where you start paying!


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