Concussions aren’t just a risk of playing sports or taking a bad fall. Many people who are involved in a car crash suffer concussions if their head strikes a hard surface or even is shaken back and forth abruptly.
This can be a very deceptive injury. Sometimes, a person will feel fine within a few days after the headaches and dizziness have subsided. However, they can still have some sensory and cognitive deficits.
Typically, doctors advise patients to stay away from work, screens, studying and sports for a time as the brain heals. But what about driving? Maybe your doctor has told you it’s safe to drive again if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms. Is it?
How a concussion can affect your ability to drive
One study, although small, had some concerning findings. Researchers put young people who had suffered concussions on a driving simulator within 48 hours after they reported that they no longer had any concussion symptoms. They found that their driving behaviors were similar to those of people under the influence of alcohol. For example, they had “less vehicle control” and “swerved more within the lane” than the control group who hadn’t suffered concussions. The study’s author noted, “This is a pretty large indicator of motor vehicle accident risk…at a time point when they are considered recovered.”
If you suffered a concussion in a car crash or other event, it’s crucial to continue under a doctor’s care for a time. It’s also important to be cautious about getting behind the wheel again (at least by yourself) until you’re certain your driving skills are not in any way impaired. That’s why it’s wise to have someone with you who can be a better judge of that than you are.
If your concussion was caused by the actions or negligence of another driver, you have a right to seek compensation that will allow you to take the necessary time off work and other responsibilities. Having sound legal guidance can help you ensure that you aren’t shortchanged.