Is Driving With A Common Cold Similar to Drunk Driving?

A recent study published by a UK-based car insurance company and a British university found that individuals who operate a vehicle while suffering from a common cold may as well be driving drunk. Experts say that people who drive with heavy colds have an inability to concentrate and reduced reaction times that mimic the impairment of those who have consumed four double whiskeys.

While the effects of a cold, such a headache, stuffy nose, cough or fever, can negatively impact a driver’s alertness and reaction times like alcohol does, cold symptoms alone cannot explain the reason for significant impairment. Sleep deprivation, caused by aches and pains, and coughing and sneezing at night, is the likely culprit. Antihistamines and cold remedies that contain up to 27% alcohol can contribute to a feeling of drowsiness.

It is estimated that there are about 500 million colds each year in the U.S. With approximately 90% of American driving every day, nearly 1 million vehicles will be operated by those suffering from the effects of a cold. The chances of a cold-sufferer being involved in a serious accident are high.

So should you drive if you are ill with a cold? Only if you feel that your are well enough to safely operate your vehicle. Try to focus on the task at hand and follow safe driving rules, such as keeping a safe distance from vehicles ahead of you. You should not begin a long driving trip until your cold symptoms have subsided.

The State of Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning calculates that one person is killed every 9.4 hours and another person is injured in a crash every 7.5 hours in the 282,075 crashes that were reported in 2010 in our state. At the Law Offices of Henry Hanflik, P.C., we believe that the best way to keep Michigan drivers safe is to raise public awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, as we have done in previous blogs. Remember to keep focused on your driving and drive defensively whenever you are behind the wheel.

We understand that the consequences of serious injuries sustained in an accident can be physically, emotionally and financially devastating. That’s why we will not charge you a dime until we win/resolve your case. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call the Law Offices of Henry Hanflik at 810-720-4000 for a free consultation.