Severe stress can make us do silly things. It is present in everyone’s life. We have all had days where almost everything went haywire due to extreme stress and anxiety. Most of us blame this on our clumsiness or just plain luck. It can range from a simple coffee spill in the morning to a dangerous car accident.

Scientists now have proof that stress affects our ability to think and function. Hence, it leads to a higher number of mistakes and accidents in our day to day life.

Stress Causes Accidents?

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, there is a direct relation between stress and accidents. The study  was conducted by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Cente in Toronto. It took the Tax filing season as the subject and studied how the stress of filing taxes affects people. Data of U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was used to ascertain the accident rate during tax season.

The study’s researcher, Donald Redelmeier, believes that stress and anxiety induced distraction increases the error rate of humans. Although, stress and depression of on-duty cops who are worried about their personal tax problems may also be a factor.

Stress While Driving?

Captain Steven Ang from  Ocean City Police says that a distracted driver can almost be as dangerous as a drunk driver. "They make the same type of mistakes: zipping through lanes, not paying attention to traffic lights, etc." All this shows that the driver is too distracted to pay full attention to the road.

He added that anxiety and burnout can affect a driver’s judgement behind the wheel. The increased stress and anxiety level in the tax season, raises the number of accidents.

Stress and Driving Are Fatal?

The data procured by the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Cente revealed some surprising facts. Over the last 30 years, 19,500 people have lost their lives in the week leading to and following Tax Day. However, around 13,000 people die on regular days.

What does the Stress Study Reveal?

The study revealed the following facts:

  •  Every tax day has 13 additional deaths due to car crashes.
  •  Super Bowl Sundays also show similar trends.
  •  A stressful deadline is the biggest cause of the anxiety experienced by tax payers.
  •  Alcohol consumption and lack of sleep due to stress and anxiety also add to the fatalities.

Researchers recommended that public safety programs must raise awareness towards this problem. Most people, who are stressed about their taxes, drive regularly. The stress and anxiety may lead to bad decisions, which may prove to be fatal.

Stress is Avoidable

You must make efforts to reduce stress and anxiety during tax season.

  • Start doing taxes early to avoid the last minute rush.
  •  Don’t be afraid to take professional help.
  • Get good sleep and rest whenever you feel that anxiety is kicking in.
  • Avoid driving while experiencing anxiety, depression or stress.

Paying taxes is an unpleasant, but necessary task. So, instead of feeling stressed about it, try to take it in your stride.