COVID-19 Notice: Malman Law’s staff is working at office & from home so that we can do our part to fight the spread of this virus within our community.

Learn more x
Free Consultations | Tap To Call Today: 1.888.625.6265

Speak to a Lawyer 24hrs a Day

1.888.625.6265

Free Consultation, Call Now!

Is Driving While Sick Considered Negligence?

Schedule Free Case Review

Monday, February 13, 2017

Is Driving While Sick Considered Negligence?

Cold and flu season is at its peak this time of the year. That means more drivers are out on the roads with decongestants in their system, cold medications delaying their response time, and high fevers paired with chills that are making them uncomfortable and less focused on the road.

While most feel that there is nothing wrong with driving with a cold or flu, two studies have found that driving with a common cold might be as dangerous as drunken driving.

Therefore, getting behind the wheel with a cold or flu could mean you are failing to provide the standard level of care; you could be held liable for any accidents you cause as a result.

Driving While Ill

An insurance company by the name of Young Marmalade in Great Britain conducted a study on the effects of the common cold and driving. They found that when drivers are ill, it diminished their skills by approximately 50 percent. Ill drivers also suffered from reduced reaction times, major concentration issues, and more. Researchers compared those with a cold to those driving on four double whiskeys and found the cold to be just as dangerous as the drinking.

No one feels great when they are sick. They could be suffering from a cough, stuffy or a runny nose, fever, chills, body aches, and more. Therefore, it should be no surprise that driving with these symptoms is a distraction.

Those with an illness or high fever should stay home to rest, but should also protect the public from dangerous driving behavior. Given the number of Americans who will drive with the cold or flu virus, it is estimated that each day one million Americans are driving while ill.

Sickness and Distraction

When you are sick and driving, you are distracted. In fact, an infamous study in Britain showed that there were 2,500 more accidents each week that were blamed on sneezing, reaching for a tissue, and blowing the nose. When people think of distracted driving, they assume texting and talking. However, blowing your nose or dealing with your cold symptoms are forms of distracted driving.

After all, when you sneeze, you close your eyes and you could lose control of the vehicle. Even though it is only a second (maybe two), you might travel more than 50 feet during that sneeze, and that means you are going 50 feet without paying attention to the road. Reaching for tissues to catch that runny nose means you take your eyes off the road and possibly a hand off of the wheel. Then, your car could weave into another lane.

Don’t Forget About Cold Medicines and Their Effects

A combination of cold medicines and high fevers could actually trigger a breathalyzer to register you as a drunken driver. It is important to note that even though you did not drink alcohol, some cold medicines contain drugs like alcohol that slow reaction times and make you drowsy. These could make you drive like an intoxicated driver – you could exhibit behaviors such as weaving, slowing down when it is unnecessary, and slower reaction times.

High body temperatures naturally exaggerate the effects of cold medicines, too, which means that the cold medicine you take could affect you more harshly than how it would if you were healthy.

Slower Reaction Times

A second British study found that a person with the cold had a slower reaction time than those who have consumed four pints of beer. The cold significantly reduced response time by as much as 36 milliseconds. However, consuming four pints of beer only slows reaction times by 15 milliseconds. They also showed that all it takes is a sneeze or a cough to take the driver’s attention off of the road.

There are physical effects of the flu and cold that impact a driver’s ability to be safe. However, any time the body is fighting off an infection, the chemicals in the brain – including those that handle mood and movement – are changed. A person suffers a brain reaction to the cold and flu, which includes memory problems, mood changes, and an inability to move the same. These could lead to dangerous motor vehicle accidents.

When You are Too Sick to Drive

You must get to work, take the kids to school, or even pick up a prescription and see a doctor. So, when you are too sick to drive safely, see if a friend or family member can take you to the doctor. Even though it might seem like a hassle, asking for a ride is doing your part to remain safe on the road.

If you were to choose to drive despite your symptoms, you could be held liable for any accidents or injuries that you cause.

If that is not enough, here are how some common illnesses affect your body (and your ability to drive):

  • The Flu: The flu has symptoms that are more severe than the common cold. You will have slower reaction times, high fever, nausea, vomiting, headaches, blurred vision, and aching joints.
  • Eye Infection: An eye infection, such as conjunctivitis, causes sticky discharge in the eye, itchiness, redness, and blurred vision – all of which affect your ability to drive safely.
  • Ear Infection: When you have an ear infection, you could experience pain, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and more. The medications used to treat some inner ear infections also cause sleepiness and could impair your driving abilities.
  • Migraines: Migraines are more than a headache; they cause incapacitating pain and discomfort. You could even suffer from blurred vision. The medications used to treat a migraine rival opiates – they make you drowsy and dizzy, and slow your reaction times.
  • Stomach Flu: The stomach flu is paired with nausea, bouts of extreme vomiting, high fever, joint pain and stiffness, exhaustion, dehydration, headaches, and diarrhea. Even just one of these symptoms is enough to make a person act as an impaired driver.

Injured by a Sickened Driver? You Could Have a Negligence Claim

If you were injured in an accident by a driver who was ill while driving, you might have a claim against that driver. If he or she was aware of the condition, then he or she chose to ignore the standard duty of care and drive. Contact Malman Law in Chicago today to explore your options by calling our offices or requesting more information online.

Related Posts

Why People Choose Malman Law

You’ll want your lawyers to be this good.
You’ll want our experience on your side.
  • Icon

    Credibility & Experience

    25,000+ Cases over 25 Years
  • Icon

    Track Record of Success

    25,000+ Cases over 25 Years
  • Icon

    Team of Litigation Lawyers

    25,000+ Cases over 25 Years
  • img

    They area very helpful and when it come to getting things done with your case I had the pleasureof working with Jason Kellerman he was awesome I highly recommend them.

    - Britany Weaver

  • img

    I’m very pleased to recommend Malman Law to my friends and relatives! I have to mention how efficient and professional in dealing with my case has been with everyone that I’ve been in contact with at Malman Law. Mrs. Sabo is outstanding as well as her secretary and assistant in responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. This firm has gone above and beyond to keep me updated and get answers to my questions at any time, weekends included! Malman Law rules in my opinion!

    - Cheryl Wagemann

  • img

    I’ve been knowing about this Law firm for many years through friends, referrals & advertisements , never I thought I would need their services , because I believed things & situations don’t happen to me like this , long story short I was in situation that I needed help & advice!!! The right direction , I connected with the Firm & a very patient , understanding professional woman by the name of Margie assisted me in what I needed 🙂 Thank you I will refer as I was as referred as well This firm really does care !

    - Elvira G.

  • img

    I was rear-ended by a semi-truck on my way to work. I was transported to the hospital and my car was totaled. In the aftermath, Dan Petrich and Anna Schmidt from Malman Law helped me get set up with physical therapy and negotiated with the insurance companies to make sure the resulting settlement would cover my medical bills and a rental car until I could get a new car. I would highly recommend their services.

    would do everything they could for me.

    - Tony S.

  • img

    I contacted Malman Law go my work injury. So professional from my first phone call. Mr. Malman’s investigator, Dan, came right out to our home. Everything was explained in detail so I know what to expect during this process. I certainly recommend anyone ever in need of a personal injury lawyer to call Malman Law. Truly the best!! Thanks everyone!

    - Devin Jones

  • img

    Attorney Greg Lamorena was my lawyer when I slipped and fell. He kept me updated throughout the case and was always available to talk when I had questions. He is a great lawyer and could not be happier about my settlement!

    - Annie Ong

  • img

    Alexis was the attorney on my case! She kept me in the loop about everything with my case. If I had any concerns I was able to contact her and she’ll answer my questions right away. If your interested in working with Malman Law I would highly recommend Alexis she was GREAT. I would highly recommend Malman Law if you’re ever in need!

    - Eugenia Cathery

  • img

    They are so efficient and professional.Always available to help.Attoney Boyer was great and very good with my case.I really appreciate mailman law firm. I gave them 5 star because there is nothing higher.

    - Omolewa Snyder

  • img

    I have had an amazing experiences with Malman law so far. From the start Dan was super easy to work with, got me the medical attention I needed and fast. Couldn’t ask for better communication. Neil Kilcoyne has been nothing but the best I could not recommend a better attorney. Malman Law is a 10 out of 10 law firm.

    - Trevor Harris

  • img

    Hi I just want to acknowledge Jay McCarron, Kelly & the Firm at Malman Law for representing me as they continue to work on my case. Thanks for keeping me updated & responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. I would Highly recommend you and your firm to friends & family. E. P.

    - Ernest Pitts

  • img

    Alexis was the attorney on my case and she was GREAT. She made sure I was updated on everything about my case. I would highly recommend Malman Law if you’re ever in need.

    - Ariel Fleming

  • img

    I had the best experience with Jason and Jay attorneys from Malman Law they really went all the way to settle my case I’m telling you there just the best!! Recommend 100%!

    - Carmen Rivera

  • img

    Adam Meadow acted as the attorney for a family member who was in a car accident. He was highly personable and actively listened to our issues throughout the litigation process. He was able to get us a settlement for the repairations of the accident. We would recommend their services!

    - Greg Gustafson

  • img

    Excellent customer service and great experience. Malman law handled the whole process and it was very smooth. The settlement was a great success. I would choose malman law again in the future.

    - Malak St.Clair

  • img

    Helped me out of a big jam when my auto was hit twice when and the other drivers had no insurance. Adam Meadow is the only Lawyer I will call for helping me an my daughter.

    - Devri Lott

  • img

    I cannot give enough praise to the team at Malman Law, for helping with my case . My children were involved in a auto collision and the attorney Adam along with his paralegal Michelle worked diligently until the matter was resolved and my entire family was happy. I would definitely recommend Malman Law for anybody going through legal troubles.

    - Adrian Lopez

  • img

    A close friend recommended me to Malman Law. I currently have a case with them due to a car accident I had and ever since the accident they have been taking care of everything for me without me having to worry about anything. They took care of the medical bills & helped me get physical therapy right away. I highly recommend them.

    - Vanessa Leon

  • img

    Bella Feinstein, Jason Kellerman, and Terry Davey, have been instrumental in helping me though many difficult situations. Not only did they work to get my mom a settlement, they have continued to help me through the legal process of relocating my mom to a different state. I’m very grateful for their hard work and good advice.

    - Nyah Vuljanic

  • img

    This law firm is the best they got me paid and meymen law kept in constant communication with me which meant a lot to me I would highly recommend this law firm to anyone who. In the position they are awesome sincerely. Jeff walker

    - Jeff Walker

  • img

    Mr. Kellerman of Malman Law shows compassion for his clients. Returns calls and emails promptly, takes time to listens to his clients and gather facts accordingly.

    - Steve Acosta

  • img

    Everyone at Malman Law made me feel welcomed and heard. My lawyer, Adam Meadow, as well as staff kept me up to date and were more than happy to do so! I would highly recommend their services. Also- a plus is many employees are fluent in Spanish. My experience was easy and worthwhile.

    - Adrianna Gomez

  • img

    Dan Petrich was the best man for my case of falling through my porch of a apartment I rented. He made sure I got what I deserved not only $ wise but medical wise and that my hospital bills and Dr bills were left at a $0 balance before closing my case. I was definitely happy and glad I choose him. Thank you. 5 stars

    - Jose Cruz

  • img

    Steve Malman helped me with my auto case. He quickly responded and answered any and all the questions I had. My case was a success as well as 2 other family members I recommended to him won their cases as well. Definitely a 5 star!

    - Meagan Cruz

  • img
    Malman Law goes above and beyond handling your legal injury case needs. From the first appointment through to the ending verdict my sister and brother in law were very happy with their case results. Highly recommended!

    - Eddie Villarreal

  • img

    I am very impressed with Malman Law and my experience with Tiffany Alberty. She was very professional and knowledgeable. I appreciate the great communication and never felt out of the loop. She was very patient and hard working on my case. I would highly recommend this firm. Thanks for the hard work and all your help!

    - Madissen Miller

  • img

    Malman Law is definitely professionals and skilled at what they do. Mr. Adam Meadow always kept me informed and never hesitated to answer my questions and was open to hearing my concerns. Wouldn’t think twice about referring them to family and friends. Thank you to all at Malman Law!

    - Christina Ocon

  • img

    Mailman Law, Excellent firm!! Tiffany Alberty and her assistant Margie Gallegos were super efficient and knowledgeable. Great communication—very quick response and great follow up! My case was resolved sooner than expected. I highly recommend them!

    - Adriana Martinez

  • img

    So glad I contacted malman law regarding my accident. Professional and caring. Thank you Mr Malman. I most definitely recommend to anyone if you need the best to call Malman Law!!!

    - Virgil Sanner

  • img

    I really appreciated and enjoyed Yennin Calderon’s service. I called asking questions and she was so helpful. Not only did she answer all my questions and concerns. It was also a bonus that she was bilingual in Spanish! Loved the warmth she brought. Thank you!

    - Jazlyn Caraballo

  • img

    My experience with Malman Law was great. I worked with Attorney Tiffany Alberty and her assistant Margie. Both communicated what was going on with my case, explained next steps and got my case to resolved early. I would highly recommend Malman Law.

    - Ashley Jenkins

View more testimonials
img

What’s your case worth? Submit for a free case review

ALL FIELDS REQUIRED

2 years ago I was involved in a trucking accident involving a 14-wheeler truck that nearly disabled me for life. Steve fought to make sure that I received the most possible compensation for my injuries. I was about to take the insurance company’s lowball offer, but decided to call Steve first – it was the best decision I’ve made yet

NOAH TAFFELPersonal Injury Victim