Driving to the Extreme


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MASON CITY, IA – Most of us will probably never do anything as extreme as skydiving in our lives, but a new study suggests we’re probably not too far from living life on the edge.

In a recent study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, driver responses in heart rate, face movements and other vitals were found to be as stressful as skydiving.

“That same kind of stress, pressure of the unknown, you haven’t done it before, it’s all the same. With driving, the idea of having situations and road rage promotes so much of it,” said Michael Ghere, Driving Instructor with Drive Pro.

The statistics don’t surprise Ghere and he’s not alone.

Dan Courtney of Mental Health Center of North Iowa deals with stress management on a variety of levels and says driving is one of them.

He says our time behind the wheel can cause a great deal of stress, but it’s more about our intentions, rather than other drivers.

“Even though it feels like it’s the situation that is creating the stress reaction, creating the emotion that I’m feeling, it’s your minds interaction with the situation. There’s just so much you can do with your own mind that is going to help insulate you from whatever is happening out there,” said Courtney.

While it’s difficult to admit for themselves, some area drivers say they’ve had their fair share of run-ins with other aggressive drivers.

“I think that’s understandable, there are a lot of crazy drivers out there who you can tell when they’re stressed because they’ll definitely take it out,” said Elizabeth Polsdofer of Mason City.

Don’t worry however, it’s not necessarily time to panic.

Mike says there’s one easy way to try to lighten the mood and it  might just be the answer.

“When your driving home tonight, look at the people in their cars, and if they’re not smiling, and the pull up beside you, wave at them and they’ll smile back at you. you’re not gonna make a big dent in the problem but at least your part of the situation and solution,” said Ghere.

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