Is A Driver Negligent If They Drive While Sick?

June 25, 2020

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Colds and flu are typically seen as mild illnesses. People who are experiencing fever and chills often get behind the wheel. They do so either out of necessity or because they believe they’ll be able to drive as usual even though they’re sick. However, when a driver isn’t feeling well, they’re likely to be distracted and unable to focus on the road. Furthermore, the decongestants they take to make them feel better can slow their response times

One study found that driving with flu-like symptoms is just as bad as driving while drunk. This is not surprising since body aches, runny nose, and the shivers can make it difficult to concentrate on anything else. Anyone who is feeling unwell or running a high fever should stay at home to protect both themselves and other road users.  A driver who gets behind the wheel while ill could, therefore, be breaching their duty to other road users. If they cause you to get injured, you could hold them liable with help from an Albany, Georgia car accident injury lawyer.

Why it Can Be Dangerous to Drive While Sick

People often associate distracted driving with texting, talking on the phone or fiddling with the radio. However, sneezing, searching for a tissue or having a coughing fit is also distracting. A driver simply can’t keep their hands on the steering wheel and their eyes on the road when they do these things. In just a second or two, a car can travel several feet. In that time, they could rear-end you or drift into your lane.

Many prescription and over-the-counter drugs carry a warning that they could make the user drowsy. They also say anyone who takes them should avoid driving a motor vehicle. Some people ignore these warnings and assume they will be fine. However, some cold medicines contain alcohol and when coupled with a fever, the driver can appear drunk. They may weave in and out of their lane or slow down even when there’s no need to do so. If a driver was impaired because of drug use, even if prescribed, a Georgia car accident attorney can hold them responsible.

A study found that people who are infected with a common cold virus can be impaired even if they don’t show symptoms. Research indicates that cold viruses may interfere with the transmission of dopamine, noradrenaline, and choline. Dopamine affects the speed of working memory while noradrenaline can have an impact on reaction times. Choline is linked to the encoding of new information. Drivers with colds may respond more slowly to things that happen on the road and may even be less likely to notice collisions.

The flu usually causes symptoms that are more severe than those caused by the common cold. Nausea, vomiting, and blurred vision can make it hard to do anything at all. A driver who is experiencing these symptoms should simply ask for a ride if they need to go to the doctor or pharmacy. Anything else could be considered negligence.

Other Conditions That Can Lead to Impaired Driving

Colds and flus are common, but they aren’t the only conditions that make a person’s driving less safe. For example, eye infections can lead to blurred vision, eye discharge, and itchiness that can affect driving ability. Ear infections can also cause dizziness, pain, nausea, and vomiting. However, the medications used to treat inner ear infections can lead to drowsiness.

Meanwhile, migraines can cause debilitating pain and discomfort as well as blurred vision. The medications some people take make them drowsy and dizzy and they slow reaction times. The stomach flu also comes with symptoms that make it almost impossible to drive safely. Diarrhea, dehydration, exhaustion, and fever can all make it hard to focus on the road and navigate busy city roads.

Contact Joe Durham Jr. P.C. to Discuss Your Car Accident Case

If you were injured by someone who decided to drive while sick, you may be able to hold them liable. If they knew they were sick when they got behind the wheel, that may be considered negligence. Call the Georgia car accident attorneys at Joe Durham Jr. P.C. to help you build a strong case for compensation. A driver who is responsible for causing injury to another should have to take responsibility. Schedule a consultation with our law firm today and let us review your case. The first consultation is free, and you don’t have to pay until we secure damages on your behalf.