All you one of those that feels really tired after a commute? If so, you’re not alone. Researchers have even recently coined a new term to describe this kind of stress.
Researchers at the University of Houston have found that experiencing acceleration “events” while driving can cause stress to the driver. These acceleration events can be even small ones.
What is Accelerousal?
They coined this stress as “accelerousal.” As a psychology term, arousal means stress. Accelarousal is what is identified as stress provoked by acceleration events, even small ones, according to the researchers.
In study, UH researchers collaboratedith the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. They looked at how individual drivers reacted to common acceleration, speed and steering events.
Eleven volunteer drivers were monitored for signs of instantaneous physiological stress during separate half-hour drives along the same route in the same Toyota Sienna minivan.
They analyzed the data and found that half the drivers exhibited peaked stress during periods of commonplace acceleration, such as happens in stop-and-go progress through red lights. The other half did not show any notable changes.
Significantly More Stress
In fact, the data indicated the “accelaroused” drivers showed significantly increased stress — almost 50 percent more than the non-stressed drivers. The “accelaroused” also indicated they were more exhausted after their drives. The non-stressed drivers said they were calm after the drives.
In short, the stop and go acceleration was stressing out half the participating drivers. The stress was also taking a toll on these drivers without them being aware of it.
The study was presented at the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.
Stay Aware and Try to Relax
These findings are relevant especially for delivery drivers who experience a lot of stop and go traffic. Many of these drivers may be experiencing increased stress without realizing it.
Even for the common commuter driver, these findings are eye-opening. If driving seems to be wearing you out more than others, than keep an eye out to see if you’re suffering from “accelerousal.” Maybe take steps to help relieve this stress like playing relaxing music. Or simply take deep breaths, relaxing on the exhale when you start feeling stressed out while driving.