We never thought we’d think of anything worse than driving drunk, but apparently something other than alcohol can cause reckless driving–and it’s not a drug, either.
The common cold can make driving even more dangerous than downing beers before getting behind the wheel!
A new study says that driving with cold makes you take longer to stop, which is bad enough–but is even worse when you realize that driving with the common cold also makes you more likely to tailgate the car in front of you, getting too close and thus increasing the chance of rear-ending them and getting into an accident. Yikes!
More scary stuff? Having a cold makes you less aware of imminent danger of an accident–and sneezing makes drivers take their eyes off of the road for three seconds at a time. That may not sound like a lot, but ask anyone who’s been in or lost someone they love in a car crash and you’ll realize just how much can happen in that time. (And also keep in mind that usually you sneeze more than once in a row, so it winds up being a lot more!)
An expert in the study says that alertness was cut by a third in those who drove while under the weather, and that driving while battling a cold or illness is equal to three or four drinks and being over the legal blood alcohol limit–possibly even worse in terms of reaction time. “People with a cold had slower reaction times than those associated with drinking,” he said. “Colds slowed reaction times by 36 milliseconds. Yet consuming the amount of alcohol that would lead to a driving ban slows reactions by just 15 milliseconds.”
It makes sense when you think about it, because when you’re sick, you kinda feel spacey and a little slower than normal, right? And sometimes cold medicine can even mess with your head a little, making you lightheaded or drowsy. If you’re ever not feeling well, stay home (show Mom this article!) or try to get a ride with someone else without spreading your pathogens all over them. The common cold isn’t deadly on its own, but it may be if it leads you to reckless driving!
Have you ever driven with a cold? Do you think being sick leads to reckless driving? Have you ever been accused of being a bad driver when you didn’t feel well? Tell us in the comments!