Driving While Sick is as DangerousWith cold and flu season in full swing, it is important to know just how dangerous it is to drive while sick.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is not only illegal, it is also dangerous and at times deadly.  A new study shows that driving while sick can also have the same effects on a driver as if they were drinking.

An insurance company in Britain decided to test this this theory by having individuals with colds participate in computerized driving tests.

The results were the following:

  • Drivers had slower reaction times.
  • Drivers braked more often than needed.
  • Drivers were less aware of surrounding traffic.
  • Drivers drove more erratically.

The study recorded that there was more than a 50% decrease in driving ability among sick drivers.  This is equal to a person who consumed four high in alcohol content drinks.

A nurse described the symptoms a cold sufferer has and how they can negatively impact driving abilities. She explained that being sick can affect a person’s mood, judgment and concentration negatively. She also added that sneezing and coughing can cause a driver’s vision to become impaired.

A doctor included in the study warns against the dangerous effects over-the-counter cold medications can have on a driver as well.  Many of these medications contain ingredients that can make a person drowsy or tired.

If you are sick it is best to stay home, rest and avoid driving.  If you do need to travel, try and find a ride, or a means of public transportation to ensure your safety and others on the road.

Source: cbsnews.com, “Is driving with a cold as dangerous as driving drunk?”