Drivers! Calm down, but not too much

* Study shows stress increases risk * So can being too relaxed, however * Why stress is bad for you...

Drivers! Calm down, but not too much

Stress can make you drive faster and slow your reactions, according to a new study by the Transport Research Laboratory.

Commissioned by insurer Direct Line, the TRL study found that stressed drivers drive on average 3mph faster than calm drivers, but react 4% more slowly to conditions on the road. The combination of the two make a stressed driver's stopping distances considerably longer.

TRL researcher Dr Nick Reed said: 'A driver's emotional state plays an important role in the ability to drive safely.'

The same study, however, found that relaxed drivers take 10% longer to react, although they don't pose as great a risk as stressed drivers because they also leave more space from the car in front and drive more slowly.

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Our own investigation into stress followed two drivers through their day and monitored their heart rates to see how their driving and health could be affected.