Anyone who has already been through the teen years knows only too well the effect of hormones on the growing body. Some of the changes prove useful and help build a better future. Others can be less welcome. Here’s a new study from Canada suggesting drivers with higher levels of cortisol in their bloodstream are safer drivers. This hormone is one of the trigger mechanisms for the flight or fight response to stressful situations. When it appears, it gives the body a quick shot of energy and helps us survive. Traffic accidents have now become the leading cause of death in the age range 15 to 29. The first months are particularly dangerous as inexperienced drivers adjust to the realities of trying to control a vehicle on the public roads.
The new study shows those with higher levels of cortisol had fewer near-misses and actual crashes. Now no one is suggesting Big Pharma suddenly begins marketing cortisol to young drivers, but this news does open a new research field to establish whether these results can be replicated across a statistically significant number of teen drivers. Its implications for road safety policy could prove interesting.