Traumatic brain injuries like concussions can severely impede a person’s ability to get through the day. However, concussions also can threaten the safety of others—especially when concussed individuals get behind the wheel of a car. Unfortunately, not all doctors advise patients that their concussions can impair their driving, which can lead to needless accidents on our state’s roads.
Concussion Symptoms Can Impair Driving
Immediately after a blow to the body or head, concussion victims might black out and stay unconscious for seconds or hours. When they awaken, they can begin to feel certain symptoms associated with a concussion. Unfortunately, these symptoms can persist for weeks or months after the initial trauma. The signs of post-concussion syndrome may include:
- Double vision
- Increased sensitivity to light or noise
- Impaired memory
- Impaired concentration
- Difficulty problem solving
All of these symptoms can impair your ability to drive safely, making it harder for you to react quickly or to even see or process dangers on the road.
Doctors Are Not Doing Their Part
When treating patients with concussions, doctors will usually advise rest, pain management, and possible rehabilitation, depending on the severity of the concussion. However, few doctors advise patients not to drive after a concussion.
As reported by Reuters, the Sports Medicine Institute at the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System in South Carolina surveyed members of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine about whether they advised patients to not drive after a concussion. Although more than 80 percent of them thought concussions increased the risk of a collision, only about half (49 percent) advised patients to stop driving until symptoms had cleared.
Furthermore, 82 percent failed to do any testing to determine whether a patient was ready to resume driving, perhaps because not all doctors have clear criteria about when it is safe to return behind the wheel.
Driving after a concussion not only endangers the lives of other people, it increases your own chances of suffering injuries in a serious accident. To protect yourself, follow these sensible safety rules:
- Avoid driving while your concussion symptoms persist. Take public transportation, if available, or ask someone to drive you.
- Follow your doctor’s orders for treating your concussion so that you make a recovery as soon as possible.
- Meet with your doctor if you do not feel that you are improving. A doctor might need to change your prescriptions or recommend rehabilitation.
If you do choose to drive with post-concussion symptoms, you open yourself up to legal liability for any injuries you cause.
Contact a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
If you were in a collision and suffered injuries, we want to hear from you. At Emroch & Kilduff, our Richmond car accident attorneys know how to obtain financial compensation for victims injured through no fault of their own. To begin your case, please contact us for your free, no-obligation case review. Call (804) 358-1568 or submit our contact form.
Do not delay. Virginia gives accident victims a limited amount of time to file a legal claim in court to protect their rights.