With coronavirus cases surging across the U.S., there are increased concerns about people getting sick and spreading the virus. Another issue that is seldom discussed is the reality that as more people get sick, more people might be facing the dilemma of whether to drive themselves to the hospital or to call an ambulance. Others might choose to drive despite feeling sick. While public health officials are asking people who are sick to stay home, not all people are following public health recommendations. Is driving while sick with the coronavirus risky to others on the road? Could more people getting sick potentially increase the accident risk in in Columbia, South Carolina? Let’s explore what we know and what we don’t know. The Louthian Law Firm is a Columbia, South Carolina car accident law firm that works closely with individuals who have been hurt in car accidents. We help victims and families seek damages for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and rehabilitation costs. If you or someone you love was hurt in a crash, the Louthian Law Firm may be able to help you.
Driving While Sick Could Be Risky
A few years ago, CBS News published an article on driving risks that came with a provocative title: “Is Driving with a Cold As Dangerous as Driving Drunk?” The article reported on researchers who found that drivers who got behind the wheel while suffering from the common cold were impaired in certain aspects of their driving. According to the study, drivers who were sick were more likely to stop frequently, were more likely to drive erratically, were less aware of others on the road, and they had slower reaction times. The researchers estimated that drivers were 50% less capable, which resulted in a loss of driving ability equivalent to drinking two double whiskeys. What does all of this mean for us in the era of the coronavirus? What we do seem to know is that driving while sick can impair your ability to drive. We also know that for some individuals, coronavirus symptoms can be worse than the common cold. Individuals suffering from the worst of the symptoms, which can include difficulty breathing and even difficulty remaining conscious, should certainly not be driving.
Is driving while sick with the coronavirus against the law? As of now, there is no law against driving while sick. However, given that public health officials are recommending that people who are sick self-quarantine, if you’ve been in a car accident and the other driver turns out to be sick with the coronavirus, you may have some options when it comes to protecting your rights and seeking damages. For example, while driving when sick isn’t against the law, driving while under the influence of substances that can impair your driving is against the law. According to the FDA, there are several types of medicines that can impair driving ability. These medicines include:
- Pain relievers that contain opioids
- Products containing codeine (which includes some prescription cough syrup)
- Over the counter cold remedies and allergy products
- Some prescription cold medicines and allergy medicines
- Sleeping pills
- Some cold medicine with sleeping medications
- Some types of motion sickness medicines (anti-nausea)
If you are sick with a cold and are taking these drugs, you shouldn’t get behind the wheel. If you do get behind the wheel and are involved in an accident, you could be held responsible for the crash. If you’ve been in an accident and suspect the other driver was under the influence of cold medicine that impacted his or her ability to drive, always call 911 to report the accident, report the crash to your insurance company, and consider reaching out to a car accident law firm like the attorneys at the Louthian Law Firm in Columbia, South Carolina.
What You Should Do If You’ve Been in a Car Crash
Determining the cause of a car accident can sometimes be challenging at the scene of the accident. For example, police might perform field sobriety tests on the other driver to determine if he or she was under the influence of drugs or medications that could have impaired his or her driving. If you’ve been in a car accident and were hurt, take steps to protect your rights. Call the police, make a police report, let your insurance company know an accident took place, and if you have questions about your right to seek damages or about your insurance claim, reach out to the Louthian Law Firm, a Columbia, South Carolina car accident law firm today. Our car accident lawyers are here to help. You can also connect with us by connecting with USAttorneys.com to get matched with a car accident lawyer at the Louthian Law Firm today.