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Stress, Alcohol Use, and Car Accidents Post-Hurricane Irma


With so much of Bradenton and the surrounding areas still without power and struggling to clean up debris post-Hurricane Irma, stress levels are naturally running high. Unfortunately in these types of conditions, people are apt to turn towards alcohol as a means of ‘calming the nerves’, making car accidents and injuries more likely to occur. The following outlines important information to be aware of regarding the impact stress has on your overall health, and how using alcohol as a coping mechanism only makes matters worse.

The Impact of Stress

When you are without electricity and are dealing with damaged property or have friends and family members going through these experiences, it is hard not to let the stress of the situation get to you. The Mayo Clinic warns that it not uncommon for people to be completely unaware of how stressed they are, or the changes in their behavior it is causing. The stress of going through a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Irma, can have significant impacts on both your physical and emotional well being. Common symptoms include:

  • Headaches;
  • Irritability;
  • Increased anxiety;
  • Lack of motivation;
  • Feeling overwhelmed;
  • Angry outbursts;
  • Sleep disturbances.

All of these symptoms can be distracting, making it difficult to focus on the tasks at hand. They can also have long term impacts on your health, resulting in high blood pressure and heart disease. To combat stressful feelings, you may feel the urge to overindulge, particularly when it comes to alcohol use.

How To Manage Stress and Decrease Your Car Accident Risks

Unfortunately, studies show that using alcohol to relieve stress often only makes matters worse. According to Science Daily, alcohol use can actually increase your overall stress levels, while making it more difficult to process the events going on around you.

Alcohol use also significantly increases your car accident risks. While clean-up efforts weigh heavily on everyone’s mind, drivers need to pay close attention for damaged roadways and debris. During times like these, you need good judgment, strong reflexes, and quick reaction times to respond to sudden changes. If you are under the influence of alcohol in addition to being under extreme stress, your chances of being in an accident are high. To manage stress in a more positive fashion, try these tips from the American Heart Association:

  • Practice positive self talk, such as reminding yourself “I am going to be okay”.
  • Practice emergency stress stoppers, such as deep breathing or counting to ten.
  • Take a break from stress by finding some healthy, pleasurable activity to do each day.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

If you are injured as the result of a car accident, contact the Law Office of Steven G. Lavely. We provide compassionate, caring legal representation for people in the Bradenton, St. Petersburg, and surrounding areas. Let us arrange a free, one-on-one consultation with a Florida car accident attorney who can review your situation and the types of compensation you may be entitled to. During times like these, you need a strong legal advocate on your side. Call or contact our office online today.