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Dangers of Driving with a Cold

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  • 1. Dont Sneeze and DriveIt’s the time of year when thousands of Oregonians are suffering with colds and flu. People still driveto the shops; mothers drive the kids to school and some people try to tough it out and drive to work,even when they should probably be at home in bed with a hot drink, a cold remedy and some coughlozenges. Now, a new study carried out in England has revealed that people who drive when they’reunder the weather may end up causing accidents that necessitate the services of Portland autoaccident attorneys.The surprising results of the Lloyds TSB Insurance commissioned study have shown that driver illnesshas a significant impact on accident rates. To put it in terms that anyone can understand, drivingwith the flu is like driving after drinking a double whiskey. In statistical terms, driving with a cold orflu virus impairs driver awareness by up to 11 percent, so in any terms you care to use, that’s asignificant increase in risk for both the sick driver and the people sharing the roads with him or her.Is anything worse than PMT?It depends on your point of view! But in terms of road safety, the scientific evidence indicates thatdrivers suffering with colds or flu are more likely to be in an accident than drivers suffering fromstress, headaches and even PMT. Drivers with a flu virus have poorer reaction times and lower levelsof awareness than healthy drivers, even those suffering the complaints described above. These factswere ascertained through tests carried out on drivers using a hazard perception simulator. A total of102 drivers were tested, with the following results: Drivers suffering from stress, headaches and PMT had scores just 4 percent lower than the control group in terms of reaction times and awareness. Drivers suffering from cold and flu scored 11 percent lower, which was considered a significantly greater risk factor. Drivers consuming two shots of whiskey scored from 10 to 12 percent lower on reaction times and awareness—almost exactly the same as those suffering from flu.How far can you drive with your eyes closed?It’s a scientific fact that it’s impossible to keep your eyes open when you sneeze. So when yousneeze while you’re driving, you could be traveling significant distances with your eyes closed,depending on how fast you’re going at the time. On average, it takes about two seconds to completea sneeze, which means the distances you would travel with your eyes closed would equate to almostexactly one yard for every mile per hour. Even at 30 mph, this means you’d travel 90 feet with youreyes shut. At 70 mph—and you can still sneeze on a freeway—you would travel 70 yards with youreyes closed, and there’s nothing you can do about that.Portland auto accident attorneys know that there’s always an increase in accidents during the wintertime, but it seems that the increase is due as much to people driving while they’re sick as it is toslippery roads and bad weather. As cold and flu epidemics sweep across the state, the scientificevidence shows that one in 10 road accidents can be attributed to driver flu. The costs, bothphysically and financially, give serious food for thought.
  • 2. Drivers don’t believe itMost drivers admit that they shouldn’t drive after having a drink. They know they are more likely tocause an accident and do damage to both people and property if they’ve consumed alcohol beforegetting behind the wheel. Surprisingly, far fewer are aware of the negative effects of the flu virus ontheir driving ability. Almost half of those surveyed (46 percent) think that driving while sick will haveabsolutely no impact whatsoever on their driving ability. Almost four in 10 (38 percent) alsoadmitted to having driven while suffering with a flu virus.Another unique factor to be considered is that the very medication people take to make them feelbetter can impair their driving ability to an even greater extent. Many cold remedies containingredients that make people drowsy.Now insurance companies and Portland auto accident attorneys are warning drivers to be aware ofthe dangers of being sick behind the wheel, to the point where they are asking their clients not todrive at all until they are feeling a lot better. One doctor who participated in the survey said, “Safedriving requires concentration and good reactions, both of which are significantly reduced, even byjust a mild cold. I would advise drivers suffering from (colds and flu) to avoid getting behind thewheel until they are better.”The figures may be surprising, but they’re backed up with hard facts and scientific research. Drivingwhile sick can be bad for your health in more ways than one. It’s especially dangerous if you throwmedications or even minute amounts of alcohol into the mix, yet a shocking number of drivers seeno harm in these activities. If you’re an Oregon motorist who has been injured by a driver whoshouldn’t have been on the road, whether they had the flu or not, you should contact anexperienced and dedicated team of Portland auto accident attorneys to represent your interests.They know how to deal with the insurance companies and will fight to get you and your family thecompensation you will need to get on with your lives.

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