Researchers found that people with flu-like symptoms, such as those suffering from the flu, have a 50% reduction in their concentration. They also experience slower reaction times, lower alertness, and a slower rate of acceleration and braking. This is as dangerous as drunk driving. It is actually a crime that Halfords and Young Marmalade, a British insurance company, have made public. We don’t know the exact method they use to pour their whiskeys in the United Kingdom, but suffice it to say that being sick can cause serious impairments when driving. Flu season coincides with wintry weather. This means that accidents are more likely in icy conditions.
This is How Common Is It?
You don’t need to worry if you aren’t sick. There can’t possibly be many sick drivers on the roads. Wrong. Flu.gov estimates that 5-20% of Americans get the flu every year. That’s roughly 1-5 of 20 drivers. Halfords also found that 40% of those who have been sick admit driving to work. Take these two numbers together and you can almost guarantee that you will come across sick drivers during flu season.
OTC Medications increase risk
Common flu and cold medication can also make it dangerous to drive in winter conditions. These medications can lead to drowsiness and impairment comparable to drunk driving. Although it is difficult to determine exact accident statistics due to drunk driving, the FDA maintains a list of active substances that can make it dangerous to drive a vehicle. These include common ingredients like codeine and naproxen. Prescription drugs are more dangerous because they tend to have higher doses. Safety is not the only concern. Legal drugs can lead to a DUI.
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The Killer Sneeze
To be dangerous on the roads, you don’t need to have the flu. Sneezing is a common side effect of sick driving. According to Halfords, sneezing is responsible for 2500 car accidents per week in the UK. It’s simple. Your eyes automatically close 600 milliseconds after you sneeze. Although it might seem like a long time, just a fraction of a second, at 65 mph you will travel approximately 57 feet without your eyes open. That’s right, almost 20 yards!
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Have you ever smelled the Sniffles? Stay at Home
It’s best to avoid getting sick if you have the flu, a severe cold or other flu-like symptoms. Representatives from the British Central Motorway Police Group stated that this was true in light of these findings. Your boss might not care what the bobbies say, but he or she may not want you to get sick. If you can, stay home and if not, ask someone to take you to work.