5 Health Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Driving

June 13, 2013

Healthy Life

Being safe on the road relies on more than being a good driver. It relies on being healthy enough to both mentally and physically control your vehicle on the road. Medical conditions and medications can impair your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, so it is important to identify issues that may affect driving before you hit the road.

If you experience any of the following, you should consider discussing whether or not you should be driving with a licensed medical professional.

You Have a Health Condition That Causes Mental Impairment



Image Via Flickr by Kyle May

Drivers need to have strong judgment skills, attention, and alertness to properly operate a vehicle. Without these skills, drivers with delayed reaction time are far more likely to be in an accident. One study noted that patients with neurotic disorders have 50% more traffic accidents than the general population.

Conditions that affect mental ability may include psychiatric and neurological disorders such as:

  • Dementia
  • Hypomania
  • Mania
  • Severe depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality disorders

You Have a Health Condition That Impacts Physical Ability & Eyesight

While driving may not seem like an overtly physical activity, drivers need certain physical abilities (strength, physical coordination, agility, and acute eyesight) to safely drive. Conditions that affect physical ability may include severe arthritis, fatigue, and vision impairment caused by aging or illness.

All drivers must pass a vision test to receive their license, but they should continue to take notice of changes to their vision. If you experience a change to any of the following visual abilities, contact a professional before getting behind the wheel.

  • Visual acuity
  • Peripheral vision
  • Night vision
  • Glare resistance
  • Judgment of distance
  • Perception

You Have a Health Condition With Sudden, Debilitating Symptoms

Health conditions that cause sudden, uncontrollable symptoms may limit or completely restrict your driving abilities.

Conditions with sudden, debilitating symptoms may include epilepsy, narcolepsy, or any other condition that causes sudden blackouts, fainting, or seizuring. In some cases those with severe heart disease or diabetes may consider restricting their driving as those conditions may result in sudden attacks of physical distress.

You Have a Health Condition That Requires Medication

It may not be an actual physical or mental condition that impairs driving, but it could be the medication provided to treat the illnesses. Medications that may inhibit driving safety include:

  • Decongestants
  • Antihistamines
  • Cough medicines
  • Sleep aids
  • Narcotic pain pills
  • Antidepressants
  • Tranquilizers

If you are taking any of these medications, it is strongly recommended that you check with your doctor before taking the wheel. Most medications will also list on the bottle whether or not the medication will inhibit driving ability.

If you want to know how your medications could affect your driving, check out Road Wise RX. The online application from AAA allows you to enter in your medications to determine a level of safe driving.

You Are Responsible for the Physical Safety of Other’s on the Road

Driving is a privilege and a responsibility. Drivers deserve to use DriveTime, take road trips, and enjoy driving only if they are able to ensure the safely and physical well-being of others on the road. Any health issue that makes it difficult for a diver to properly operate a motor vehicle should be discussed with a licensed professional.

5 Health Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Driving

This site is for information and support only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment!

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