Recent studies have confirmed that two-thirds of motorists suffer from permanent stress as they torture their way through endless traffic jams with blood pressure rising in anger over situations they cannot control.

Driver assistance systems can, however, do a lot to reduce stress and several car manufacturers already have technology available in their top of the range models that makes driving to work a lot easier.

A recent British study has even found that commuters can experience greater stress than fighter pilots going into battle or riot policemen.

The stress is exacerbated by the fact that motorists are seldom in a position to control their situation as they sit waiting behind the wheel in a traffic jam with time for an important appointment slipping away, the study found.

The Austrian automobile club (OeAMTC) and the Cologne Research Institute Psychonomics came to a similar conclusion as the study conducted by British stress expert David Lewis. However, it also found that nine out of 10 motorists would not like to swap their car for other transport like the train or bus.

Every new traffic situation has the blood pressure and pulse rate rising but most stress triggered by anger is over the behaviour of other motorists, according to the Austrian study.

In principle, higher alertness and muscle tension prepare the body for quick reaction and a new situation, according to stress experts. But long car trips also lead to exhaustion and tiredness. Lewis even identified a so-called “commuter amnesia” where people forget large parts of their journey because of stress.

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