The ‘January blues’ can cause drivers to be less tolerant with each other, according to new research published this week. The study of 2,000 UK motorists, commissioned by French car maker Citroën, found almost half of drivers say being in a bad mood makes them more agitated and less tolerant while behind the wheel.

Some 45 percent of respondents to the research said they became more agitated with fellow drivers when they were in a bad mood, while a quarter (25 percent) said they became more likely to get distracted or ignore hazards. At the same time, almost half of Brits (49 percent) said they had suffered the ‘January blues’ – low mood and lack of motivation during the first month of the year – while more than a third (34 percent) said January is the month with the most negative impact on their wellbeing.

Among those, 73 percent said winter temperatures and short days were some of the main factors most associated with feeling low in January. Other factors included returning to work after Christmas, which was cited by 38 percent of respondents, while financial worries were listed by 35 percent of respondents.

Angry young man driving expressing road rage

Popular ways to combat the blues in winter included spending time with friends and family (48 percent), exercise (47 percent) and planning an upcoming holiday (42 percent). However, some drivers see their car as a place to reflect and gather their thoughts, with almost a third of respondents (32 percent) saying they have gone for a drive to clear their heads.

Almost half of respondents (49 percent) said they felt their car could come with more features to improve their comfort and state of mind. Heated seats were desired by 51 percent of drivers, while comfortable suspension and seats were requested by 35 percent of motorists. A good infotainment system was also desired by 35 percent of those quizzed.

Young man experiencing road rage in his car

Greg Taylor, the managing director of Citroën UK, said many drivers would be familiar with the January blues, and suggested drivers should head out to visit friends or family, or set out on a drive to combat the low mood.

“The January blues is a phenomenon familiar to many, but there are remedies to tackle the feeling,” said Taylor. “Visiting a friend or heading for a drive are both quick and simple ways to combat the blues.”