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Auto Accidents / May 04,2020

Can you safely drive if you have a cough or a fever?

Certain aspects of American culture can put people in unnecessarily dangerous situations. The concept of rugged individualism is one such problematic cultural belief. Quite a few people in the United States believe that they must do everything on their own and never ask for help or assistance.

Stubborn individualism can lead some people to create their own businesses, but it more often prompts people into making decisions that could hurt themselves or others. For example, the idea that you should always push yourself might make people decide to go to work when they feel sick.

Some respect the resolve that it takes to continue performing a job while feeling physically miserable, but people put others at risk by doing so. It’s important that people heading into work with a fever or cold understand that not only may their job performance suffer, but their ability to safely drive may also go down when they have symptoms of an illness.

Research shows that the symptoms of illnesses can drastically affect driving

Many would feel shocked to learn that getting behind the wheel with a cough or a fever might impact how well they drive. After all, although a stuffy head may make it hard to focus on complex information, driving doesn’t require the same degree of cognitive effort as calculus or solving a riddle.

People might think that as long as they can see straight and maintain consciousness, they can safely drive. However, the truth is that the worse their symptoms are, the worse their driving becomes. In fact, those who have severe illnesses may experience a 50% reduction in their driving performance and skill. Although the research validating these concerns has its limits, such a conclusion also reflects common sense.

When you can’t focus and react quickly, you can’t drive safely

That sense of foggy brain that often comes with seasonal allergies or the medications used to treat it, as well as the distraction from driving that pain can cause, can make you a much worse driver, to say nothing of how coughing might force you to close your eyes or result in you inadvertently jerking on the steering wheel.

Staying home when you feel sick is the best way to reduce illness-related risks on the road. If you get into a crash with another driver who has obvious symptoms of an illness, make sure that you report that information to the police officer responding to the scene of the crash, as driving while ill will likely increase their level of  responsibility or liability for the collision.

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