News & Media Centre

Earlier this month, World Mental Health Day prompted a global conversation about mental wellbeing – encouraging us all to look after our own mental health, as well as that of others.

At First Central Group, we’ve also been having conversations about mental wellbeing – specifically, about how our psychological state can impact our safety while driving.

After all, many of us are leading busier and more stressful lives than ever before – impacted by factors such as the increased use of smartphones and social media, as well as workplace pressures. Meanwhile, motor vehicle traffic has increased more than ten-fold since 1949 – from 28.9 to 328.1 billion vehicle miles – meaning people are more likely to encounter stressful situations on the road.

This year, we’ve been working to improve driver safety, raising awareness of lesser understood and discussed factors which may lead to unsafe behaviour on the roads – such as through our Campaign for Safer Road Signs. Through the course of this campaign, stories like those from TV presenter Fearne Cotton – who revealed recently that she stopped driving on the motorway following a serious panic attack – have made us aware that our mental wellbeing can have a significant impact on our driving safety.

In order to understand more about the relationship between our psychological state – specifically feelings of anxiety – and driving, we partnered with leading UK mental health charity SANE.  

Together, we undertook a programme of research investigating the causes and impact of feelings of anxiety while driving – and developed practical advice to help UK motorists who may have been affected.

Ultimately, our aim is to encourage people to be self-aware and check in with how they’re feeling before driving – as well as to signpost motorists and non-motorists alike where they can get more in-depth help if they’re concerned about feelings of anxiety.

We launch our campaign this week – and will be sharing the findings of our research, as well as top tips, on our 1ST CENTRAL blog and Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels. SANE has also shared its insights on the campaign – providing valuable advice about how and why we experience anxiety both when driving and in our day-to-day lives.

We hope you will all join our efforts to raise awareness of the impact of feelings of anxiety on driving safety through sharing your experiences with your friends, family and colleagues – continuing some of the great conversations started by World Mental Health Day.