If you’ve ever driven while sick, you’re probably familiar with the many distractions it can cause. While driving while sick isn’t always considered risky behavior, but in some cases, it can lead to dangerous situations like car accidents. 


How risky it is to drive while sick depends on the type of illness you’re experiencing, the severity of symptoms, and the effects of the medication you’re on. 


Though many people believe there is nothing wrong with driving while ill, recent studies have found that sick driving can be just as worse as drunk driving in some cases. 


Learn more about the risks of driving while sick below. 

Consequences of Driving While Sick

While getting to a meeting, going shopping, or picking your kids up from school are all noble endeavors, it may be worth postponing those duties or using alternative methods when sick. 


Before you get behind the wheel of your car while ill, it’s important to understand the potential consequences and assess your situation from there. The most prevalent consequences of driving while sick include the following: 

Slower Reaction Time

If you’re seriously ill with a cold or the flu, studies have found that your reaction time can be significantly slower than usual. This can impact your ability to drive safely. Also, serious illnesses can cause mental challenges, memory issues, and restricted body movement. 

More Distractions 

A distraction is considered anything that takes your visual or mental attention away from the road. When you are sick, you are more likely to cough uncontrollably, have watery eyes, and sneeze. All of these actions can lead to car accidents and overall unsafe driving conditions. 

Effects of Cold Medicine

Both OTC and prescribed medicine can induce dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, and many other side effects. It’s essential to understand the potential side effects of any medication you take. 


Additionally, it can gauge your overall capabilities a while after taking your medicine to ensure your fitness to drive. 

When Are You Too Sick to Drive?

Perhaps if you are suffering from a mild cold, a few sniffles, or some congestion, driving isn’t so risky. However, there are instances that you might be too sick to drive. Some examples include:

  • The Flu

  • Eye or Ear Infections 

  • Serious Migraines 

  • Stomach Virus 


According to leading car accident lawyers, you could be held liable for accidents or injuries caused when driving while sick. 

What to do if You’ve Been in an Accident With a Sick Driver

If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a sick person, you may have a claim against them, mostly if they were aware of their illness. It is important to identify potential eyewitnesses and contact a proven car accident lawyer immediately after the collision.


Please don’t wait until it’s too late to pursue a personal injury claim. Contact Steinberg Injury Lawyers online or call us at 1-800-350-8888 to schedule your no-obligation initial consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer today. 

Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982
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