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Stress and Driving: What you Need to Know

Stress and Driving: What You Need to Know?

Not everyone experiences intense stress on the road, but when you do it can be debilitating. Here is everything you need to know about stress and driving in one place.

Driving isn’t the head-in-the-zone relaxation experience that some of us think it is – especially when you drive for a living. In fact, those HGV and LGV, coach and taxi drivers that do drive for a living, all experience stress on the roads. Some days it’s a single incident of road rage, and other days you get so stressed out that being behind the wheel is a dangerous experience. If you are prone to bouts of intense stress when you drive, a career behind the wheel might not be for you. On the other hand, perhaps you never experienced that level of intense stress until you got your HGV license.

Whatever the case, we are here to help you. We can review how the DVLA reacts to stressful drivers and how you can detect the likelihood you will become a stressed driver before you attempt your HGV license test.

Statistics on Driving Stress in the UK

Let’s begin with SEO statistics to discover how bad the problem truly is. Stress affects more drivers than you would think. A 2021 Road Safety GB study reported that 9 in 10 drivers felt stressed out or angry behind the wheel. A little over one in ten people said they were angry every time they drove. A survey by First Central, an auto insurance firm in the UK, found that the end of lockdown caused an increase in driver stress levels. This isn’t just a UK specific thing, either. Across the sea in America, dangerous driving is at epidemic proportions. There were 1,390 deaths ( .gov estimate) due to dangerous driving in the UK in 2021. In 2019, only 123 were reported.

How the DVLA Deals with Stress and Driving in Employed Driving Positions

To stop driver stress reaching dangerous levels, the DVLA demands that any long distance or full-shift drivers in the UK follow strict guidelines. One of these is in their working hours, limited to 4.5 hours of driving with a 45 minute break in HGV drivers. Another way they limit damage potentially caused by overtired long haul lorry drivers is to have them medically assessed when they reach a certain age.

What’s an HGV Medical?

Once they reach 45, HGV drivers must pass an HGV medical every 5 years. When you reach 65, this increases to an annual check-up. These checks monitor your eyesight, your heart, and any medical conditions. It also includes a psychiatric evaluation which takes your stress level into account. If you are too prone to fly off the handle, you won’t handle driver stress well. Failing this section of your HGV medical will cause you to fail your HGV test. If you are already a driver, it may cause you to lose your job.

You can learn more about what is expected of you from an HGV medical on our pages. You can also find out more about Drive2Medicals, where we perform these medical assessments, on our website.


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