Have you ever had those days when you had a cold or flu and couldn't care less about anything? You might have felt as if your brain were fogged up and you couldn't think straight . . . even to the point of being a little delirious.
Hopefully you did not attempt to drive a vehicle while in this condition – even if you weren’t taking any type of cold medicine
(Nyquil, anyone?). If so, you may have been in danger of getting pulled over by law enforcement – and possibly getting a citation!
Why is that, you ask? Well, a recent study in the UK shows that driving while suffering a bad cold or influenza can be just as dangerous as driving after knocking back four double whiskeys.
I don’t know about you, but if I drank four double whiskeys, I’d be out cold (no pun . . . well, ok, pun intended).Details of the Study
The study was a joint effort between Young Marmalade, which is a UK-based car insurance company, and Cardiff University. The motor safety experts discovered that when sick, an individual's motor skills were reduced by about 50 percent, compared to a healthy person. This was in part due to a significantly reduced reaction time and difficulty concentrating. While the full details of the study have not yet been released either by Young Marmalade or Cardiff University, it serves as a warning to any sick would-be motorist
who plans to drive.
For the experiment, which was relatively small scale, the researchers planted a black box in the car of each sick participant. The black box then recorded the results of each individual's driving habits. The results showed that indeed, the sick drivers had significantly impaired braking and cornering ability, and had a hard time regulating speed. This is troubling for America, as there are over 500 million colds a year and 90 percent of Americans drive every single day. This means that at any point in time, about 1 million Americans will be driving while sick. A Cold Reaction
Dr. Christopher Ohl, an associate professor of medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, was not impressed by the results. He stated that it shouldn't really be surprising that an illness would decrease alertness and reaction times. And, even with the mounting evidence, Dr. Ohl insisted that it is highly unlikely that most sick individuals are as impaired as those who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Listen to Your Body . . . and Your Doc
Regardless, doctors recommend staying home if you are suffering from a high fever or a bad cold in order to avoid causing danger to other drivers . . . in addition to getting some much-needed rest and avoiding spreading of the cold
. Perhaps when the full research is published, we will be able to get a much better idea of how in-depth the study truly was.