This has prompted researchers in the field of psychology to initiate a number of studies about the effects of deployment on driving. Said professor Erica Stern, who is conducting research for the Pentagon, “I can’t talk with somebody who is a returned service member without them telling me about driving issues.”
At the heart of the issue is a paranoia and restlessness that causes sufferers of PTSD, even mild cases, to “view ambiguous situations as hostile.” That sense of being on guard, ironically, also seems to distract drivers from the normal driving cues like stop signs and red lights, according to one study.
So far the primary method of therapy seems to be helping veterans become aware of the situations that make them nervous, and how that affects their driving. But that can’t do much to make driving enjoyable again for veterans that associate the act with danger.
When service members sacrifice years of their lives for their country it’s heartbreaking to see even simple pleasures of their lives tainted by war upon their return. Hopefully the researchers now at work will be able to design methods to ease the stress of driving for those who seek it.
It should be mentioned that veterans close to the Bay Area can be involved in one such study being conducted at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System by Dr. Steven Woodward.
Here’s hoping that researchers like Dr. Woodward can find ways to ameliorate the stresses of driving for our veterans.
Photo Credit: ISAFMedia