Saturday, February 28, 2009

Discomfort, affects and coping strategies in driving activity

ResearchBlogging.orgAUTHORS: Cahour, B
JOURNAL: Proceedings of the 15th European conference on Cognitive ergonomics: the ergonomics of cool interaction, 2008

ABSTRACT: "Psychological comfort/discomfort is a global feeling constructed from the affective states which are lived by the users during the activity. This empirical study is about discomfort and emotions lived during all sorts of driving situations, and it is based on "explicitation interviews" and questionnaires. The analysis allowed us to specify the categories of uncomfortable situations during driving and their level of discomfort, to develop the underlying cognitive and social sources of discomfort (need of multiple attention; impossible anticipation; loss of control and feeling of un-ability; social image and relation), and to look at how people cope with the disagreeable situations, specifying the different types of coping modes (internal coping, external coping, avoidance)." [Full text available here (pdf)]

SUMMARY: This study is based on hour long interviews with 18 participants from a range of age groups. It is a general examination of experiences that cause negative emotions during driving. It was found that the most commonly experienced emotions were "tension and fear", followed by anger and then all other feelings. The sources of these feelings seem to be the need to attend to multiple aspects of a situation, of failures to see or anticipate events, feelings of being out of control or unskilled and the interference and opinions of other people. Coping strategies fall into three main groups: trying to change ones own thoughts or behavior, trying to change the situation, and avoidance of situations such as driving in certain areas. "It seems that older people are more often avoiding uncomfortable situations of driving..."

MY THOUGHTS: While not specifically about driving anxiety this paper gives a good background to the causes and outcomes of negative feelings whilst driving.

BĂ©atrice Cahour (2008). Discomfort, affects and coping strategies in driving activity ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, 369

Friday, February 27, 2009

Why am I so afraid of driving?


PUBLICATION: The Times (London), 1999.

SUMMARY: A journalist account of suffering from spontaneous driving anxiety and seeking help for it.

"...I was horrified at how out of proportion my fears had become."

"It was a relief to sit with Professor Ehlers who, without be judgmental, was able to explain what happened to me."

"Professor Ehler divides driving phobics into three categories. Post-traumic stress disorder follows an accident ... another group .. suffer from panic disorder ... someone with a driving phobia."

"Professor Ehlers ... "I would hope that your anxiety could be dealt with in 12 to 15 sessions...."

MY THOUGHTS: So this article neither explains what causes the anxiety, nor goes even as far as beginning to treat it.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Why call an article "why am I so scared of driving?" and then not provide any kind of answer? A phobia diagnosis describes that you are afraid--it does not explain why.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Psychosocial sequelae of motor vehicle collisions: a follow-up study

AUTHORS: Vingilis E, Larkin E, Stoduto G, Parkinson-Heyes A, McLellan B.
JOURNAL: Accident; Analysis and Prevention, 1996

ABSTRACT: One-hundred-and-forty-nine motor vehicle collision trauma victims were interviewed one year after discharge from a Regional Trauma Unit. Follow-up data indicated major post trauma problems such depression, anxiety, family stress, financial problems and driving fears. Almost 40% reported drinking driving after the crash with a greater proportion of alcohol (blood alcohol content) positive drivers engaging in drinking driving than blood alcohol content negative drivers. Notably, almost 16% of the blood alcohol content positive and 13% of the blood alcohol content negative reported involvement in another crash in the year since discharge.. [Abstract here; Keywords: Canada; Trauma; Motor vehicle injuries; Alcohol; Sequelae; Psychosocial ]

SUMMARY: A Canadian study of 149 people who suffered injuries (requiring hospital treatment) from a car crash found that 25-50% had post-traumatic problems as a result. One third experienced driving anxiety and 1/4 fear of cars. After one year 16% had not resumed driving. Driving who had no blood alcohol at the time of their crash were more likely to develop fear of driving and take longer to resume driving.

MY THOUGHTS: The consequences of traumatic crashes are often diverse and serious, often including severe driving anxiety.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE: It seems driving anxiety is a relatively common result of a driving accident resulting in trauma. Although it is not clear what proportion of people suffering from driving anxiety develop it as a result of a crash.