Is It Dangerous to Drive after a Concussion?


A concussion is a potentially serious head injury that could occur at just about any time and in a variety of ways. A slip and fall incident, car accident, sports injury, or a wide range of other potential causes could cause you to suffer a concussion, which is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). 

Whenever you suffer a blow to the head that knocks you out, you most likely have suffered a concussion. But most of the about 1.4 million concussions that Americans annually suffer do not render the victim unconscious. Any violent shaking of the head or upper body could cause a concussion as well.

The Mayo Clinic says falls account for most of the concussions that people suffer. Most people recover fully following a concussion. However, the effects and healing process can vary greatly from one person to the next. Confusion and a lack of focus are two common side effects of concussions and are good examples of why it could be dangerous to drive after suffering a concussion. 

How a Concussion Might Affect Your Driving Abilities

Researchers at the University of Georgia recently studied the effects of concussions on people’s driving abilities. They compared the driving of 14 people who suffered concussion injuries with the driving of 14 people who did not suffer a concussion. Those who had suffered concussions were evaluated within 48 hours of the disappearance of their respective concussion symptoms.

The preliminary study showed that motorists who suffered concussions had slower reaction times than those who did not suffer a concussion. The average reaction time for concussion victims was about one second slower than those who did not suffer a concussion. Although that time interval is very short, it could have a significant impact when confronted with driving situations that require split-second decisions to prevent accidents. 

The study’s sample size is too small to apply any generalized results to the nation’s driving population. However, the study does show the potential effects that a concussion could have on people’s driving ability even after the concussion symptoms go away. The study also affirms the potential dangers of driving immediately following the onset of a concussion injury and while still feeling the side effects that often accompany a concussion. 

Common TBI Injury Symptoms that Affect Driving

A concussion could negatively affect your driving ability if you resume driving too soon. That is especially true if you are experiencing some of the common symptoms of TBI injuries that clearly could impact your driving. Blurry vision, fatigue, drowsiness, and dizzy spells are common symptoms that could occur soon after suffering a concussion. 

Other common symptoms that could affect driving include general confusion, a fog-like feeling, headaches, and a ringing sound in the ears. Those symptoms and others could occur individually or in combination with other concussion symptoms. When that occurs, the potential for a car accident rises. 

Concussions and TBI injuries clearly impact driving ability. That is why it is important to avoid driving while recovering from a concussion and especially while dealing with its symptoms. But many drivers still get behind the wheel and head out onto public roads despite increased risks. 

Media Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Help to Build Strong Cases     

If you are in an accident caused by a driver who recently suffered a concussion, you could have a good claim for liability damages. The experienced Media car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello help accident victims to present strong cases to hold drivers accountable for causing accidents. Our legal team will investigate the cause of your accident and fight to secure the compensation for which you are entitled. Learn more at a free consultation by filling out an online registration form or calling 610-892-4940. Our office is in Media, Pennsylvania. We represent clients in Media, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster, Montgomery County, Norristown, Philadelphia, Reading, West Chester, and throughout Pennsylvania.