Ah Ref! Emotional football fans should avoid driving immediately after matches, motoring expert warns

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Football fans should give DRIVING the red card if they’re ‘upset or emotional’ about their team’s end-of-season performances – as they pose a major crash risk.

The football calendar is reaching a nail-biting crescendo, not just in the Premier League but across all divisions.

Titles and promotions are still to be decided, relegations need to be avoided, and play-off places wait to be dramatically secured.

And if you end up plagued by what experts are calling the ‘soccer sads’ should your team fall short, your glum mental state could make you a real danger on the roads.

Graham Conway, Managing Director at SELECT CAR LEASING, reveals how driving while ‘highly emotional’ can increase your crash risk TENFOLD.

He warns: “As football fans, we can all let our emotions get the better of us.

“But there have been many scientific studies examining the impact of negative emotions on our driving behaviours, and they all say the same thing – if you get behind the wheel while visibly sad, angry or agitated, you become a risk to yourself and other road users.

“I’d argue that this advice is important for sports fans in the coming weeks.

“If your favourite team has just missed out on the title or automatic promotion, if they’ve slipped out of the play-off places, or if you’re worrying about impending relegation, take time to cool-off and regain your senses after the match before even thinking about reaching for the car keys.”

In 2016 by the Transportation Institute at Virginia Tech university in the US revealed how drivers increase their crash risk by 9.8 times when they get behind the wheel while ‘emotionally agitated’.

Researchers came to that conclusion after studying the results of an extensive ‘Second Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study’, in which more than 3,500 real-life motorists were monitored using an advanced suite of radars, sensors, and cameras.

More than 900 ‘higher severity’ crashes, involving injury or property damage, were recorded.

The ‘emotional drivers’ – those angry or upset – were around five times as likely to crash as those who were chatting on their mobile phone and, overall, ‘those overwhelmed by their emotions were 9.8 times as likely to have an accident as model motorists’.

A separate Chinese study in 2020 found that being especially ‘happy’ behind the wheel could be just as dangerous as being ‘angry’.

A group of 35 motorists were monitored for their ‘driving performance and risk perception’ after being provoked into different emotions.

“The results showed that the drivers in an angry or happy emotional state tended to maintain less time to collision and take a longer time to brake while following a lead vehicle than the drivers under the neutral condition, suggesting that drivers in emotional states are more dangerous than those in neutral states.”

Select Car Leasing’s Graham Conway adds: “It’s clear here that being jubilant after your side’s triumphant win could also lead to poor driving behaviours.

“If you’re feeling emotional – whether overwhelmingly happy or suffering from the soccer sads – give yourself time to calm down before you get in your car.”