You’re having a bad day at work. Everything’s going wrong; your manager has snapped at you, your to-do list has doubled and all you want to do is go home. But this could increase your chances of an accident, according to research conducted by motoring experts Confused.com.

A recent study by Confused.com found stress at work has been the cause of many accidents on UK roads, with data indicating 3.2 million drivers have had an accident or near miss because of heightened emotions while driving.

This year, Wednesday November 2nd is National Stress Awareness Day – a day dedicated to recognising the impact stress has on our lives. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has revealed that around half a million people in the UK suffer from work-related stress.

Confused.com have partnered with behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings to explore the psychological and physical effect stress has on our minds, bodies and actions, providing tips on how to reduce stress and the impact it can have on our driving ability.

The top six causes of work-related stress, according to behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings

Besides these factors, other elements, such as work-life balance, financial worries and even the traffic jam on the way to the office can have an impact on our stress levels.

Are you stressed? Signs and symptoms

Stress makes itself known in a variety of mental and physical ways. Some common symptoms to look out for in yourself and your co-workers are:

Heading home: How dangerous is driving under the influence of stress?

Whether employees are having a hard time hitting sales targets, have had a run-in with their boss or are generally feeling overworked and undervalued, chances are they’ll take this mood with them on the journey home.

A recent study by Confused.com indicated 13.7 million motorists continue to drive home after a bad day at work, with some experiencing feelings of anger, stress and exhaustion. And, while over half of respondents (51%) believe their emotional state doesn’t impact on their ability to drive, the equivalent of 4.5 million admitted to committing a motoring offence, such as speeding or running a red light, because of their emotions.

When we drive in this state of mind, it may be that we’re not always able to make appropriate, sensible decisions. Drivers experiencing stress could drive erratically and are more likely to speed, overtake or commit other inappropriate driving behaviour.

When you worry or become stressed, your heart rate may accelerate and your blood pressure can rise. Your muscles could become tense, especially in the neck and shoulders, and concentration levels can slip. People suffering from stress could lose focus on surrounding drivers, and this can be dangerous. Stress can also lead to anger, which may be even more perilous to drive under the influence of.

Over half (52%) of Brits in Confused.com’s recent study admitted to speeding due to feeling angry. And it appears anger has caused the highest number of near misses or accidents of any emotion – the equivalent of 992,000 drivers said they had either crashed or had a near miss because of feeling angry.

The full impact of driving under the influence of stress and anger can be explored using the interactive tool.

How to reduce stress in the workplace

It may be sensible to address work-related stress before it turns into a bigger issue and has a lasting impact on your health and wellbeing. Here’s what to do:

Also there are a few tips that may help when in the car:

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “After a bad day at work, getting in your car and heading home can sometimes feel like a relief. However, our study shows that our emotions are not always left behind in the workplace. The actions that caused us to get angry are likely to play on our minds throughout the journey home.

“This this can have a serious impact on our ability to drive safely. It’s important to be aware of how your feelings can affect your driving and what you must do to minimise the risk of an accident. Drivers who are involved in road accidents will need to notify their insurer, which could result in increased premiums.”

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