Most people are aware of the dangers of driving under the influence (DUI), but this isn’t the only form of impaired driving. Anything that distracts you from the road or impacts your ability to quickly react to changing conditions can increase your risk of getting into an accident.
Driving while sick is one example. While this is not illegal like drinking and driving, it is potentially dangerous and can be evidence of negligence in a personal injury case. Additionally, some prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause impairment and may lead to DUI charges.
Why is Driving While Sick Dangerous?
When you are not feeling well, it is harder to concentrate. You may also be losing sleep, and driving while fatigued triples your risk of being in an accident according to the National Safety Council (NSC). If you are sneezing, this results in you closing your eyes while driving and you may need to take your hands off the wheel to reach for tissues.
Studies related to how illness affects driving ability are somewhat limited. However, research from a car insurance company in the United Kingdom found that driving skills dropped by 50% for individuals who were under the weather.
Most people would agree that you don’t feel your best when you’re dealing with an illness. It would be reasonable to assume that you won’t necessarily be driving at your best either. When possible, it’s better to have someone else drive for you or, even better, to stay home and rest.
Over-the-Counter and Prescription Drugs
Some medications that you can use to help with the symptoms of your illness could impact your ability to drive. If the medicine you are taking makes you drowsy or otherwise impairs your driving skills, this is a form of drugged driving. Under Arizona’s strict DUI laws, you can face charges if you were impaired to the slightest degree. This is true even if the medication was over-the-counter or if you had a valid prescription.
If any medicine you are taking has a warning label stating that it can cause drowsiness, you should not drive while taking it.
Is Driving While Sick Negligent?
Although driving while sick is not illegal, it may be evidence of negligence if you cause an accident that results in injury. An individual who drives while they are not feeling well does not intend to cause harm, but an attorney could argue that this individual should have known that the decision to drive was potentially dangerous. This is especially true for more serious illnesses that severely impair your concentration.
Car accident injury claims involve a large number of different variables. If one of the individuals involved in the crash was sick at the time, this is not necessarily enough to prove negligence by itself. However, it could be a contributing factor.
Were You In a Car Accident?
If you were involved in a crash and were injured due to someone else’s negligence, our attorneys can help. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.