Driving while ill may be as dangerous as drunk driving

Most Nashville car accidents are attributable to poor driving behavior such as speeding or distracted driving. Although most drivers know that it is dangerous to speed or to text while driving, fewer drivers know that their runny nose may be equally as hazardous.

A recent study indicates that driving while ill may be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Sick drivers were shown to be as dangerous as drivers who had taken several shots of alcohol. Sick drivers had issues negotiating curves, braked suddenly, and also displayed diminished reaction time.

Anecdotal evidence shows that driving while sick may be unduly hazardous. One driver was recently pulled over for his odd cold-related driving behavior.

"I was reaching over to grab a tissue and weaved a little bit," the driver said.

Law enforcement officials are very familiar with the dangers of driving while sick.

"It's taking away your attention," said one state trooper. "You're more focused on your cold than you are on your driving."

The trooper said that the recent study into sick drivers should serve was a warning for individuals who are feeling the effects of a cold or flu. Drivers should also be cautious when driving after taking cold or flu medication. Medication can promote drowsiness, which may make it hard to safely operate a car.

"You should be evaluating yourself," the trooper said. "Can I drive safely while I'm feeling as ill as I am?"

It should be noted that drivers who are under the influence of some prescription medications may also face charges of DUI if they exhibit dangerous driving behavior or cause car accidents.

Source: Komo News, "Study: Driving while sick as bad as drunk driving," Mark Miller, Jan. 5, 2012

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