Don’t drive back in anger: Road traffic accident highlights toxic combination of driving and arguing

Published: 10/11/2011

A recent fatal road traffic accident has highlighted the dangers of having an argument whilst driving.

Alan Meeking, 49, died after his wife, Caroline, pulled on the handbrake during an argument. By doing so, the car was sent into a spin before it collided with an oncoming vehicle. Mr Meeking was declared dead at the scene.

Mrs Meeking told Bristol Crown Court:

“We were arguing and it just escalated from there. I thought if I put the handbrake on it would slow the car down and I could get out.”¹

Similarly to using a mobile phone or even drinking and driving, having an argument in the car is a dangerous distraction for the driver as it often prompts them to take their eyes off the road. According to the Department of Transport’s Annual Report, 400 fatal accidents, 5,987 serious accidents and 41,885 slight accidents in 2010 were caused by the driver failing to look properly.

According to the same report, there were 2,972 road traffic accidents caused by a distraction in the vehicle. Whilst the term distraction is not expanded upon, there is a strong probability that arguments would be one of them.

Aggressive driving was also a large contributor to road traffic accidents accounting for 3,862 accidents. If you are arguing, you naturally become more aggressive. It, therefore, wouldn’t be a big leap to make in assuming this behaviour would be mirrored in your driving.

With the holiday season on the horizon, more vehicles will be hitting the highways. And despite this period being tagged with the infamous line goodwill to all men, we all know the reality don’t always follow suit! So it is advisable for the same rules as for mobile phone and drinking to be applied; save it until you’re in the safety of your own home!

¹BBC News (Nov 2011)

Content correct at time of publication

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