Petrol pumps across the country have been inundated with people panic buying fuel in the past week.
The nation’s petrol stations have been chaos, and many have been ran dry by people ensuring they have a full tank.
A local psychology expert has taken CoventryLive through the thought process behind panic buying, in an 18 months that, as well as petrol, has also seen people stockpiling toilet paper, pasta and rice.
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Dr Annie Turner is Course Director for Business and Organisational Psychology, as well as Assistant professor and lecturer in Consumer Psychology at Coventry University.
She says panic buying is a common occurrence when there is a national crisis or event of some kind that threatens our day to day lives.
“Panic buying or the urgent gathering of resources is often a reaction to an emergency event or situation, and one built from a pervading fear of what is happening in the environment,” Dr Turner said. “As a result of the uncertainty surrounding recent events such as Covid-19, this are likely to have galvanised an increased need to feel safe and in control.
“These actions also make us feel better; by buying a stock of toilet rolls or pasta we are actually gaining some certainty and control over a situation that is often outside of our control, such as around recent COVID-19 events.
“The need to rid ourselves of the distress and feelings of uncertainty helps drive our actions to get that scarce resource, we are often unaware that this is one of the reasons for behaving as panic buyers.
“The type of hoarding we are seeing during COVID-19, at a non-clinical level, is often a psychological mechanism to react to the current situation, as an unconscious attempt to alleviate feelings of uncertainty and reduce distress.
“If they have a stock of a particular commodity, certainty is maintained, and distress and anxiety reduced, we are also then prepared for any eventuality.