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Winter is coming around again, and it’s quite common this time of year for influenza and other illnesses to start making the rounds here in Arizona. We’ve all been there before: the coughing, sneezing, and achiness that always comes with it. And yet we often insist on doing our normal routine, taking kids to school, going to work, exercising, and more. You think some cold medicine will do the trick. But there can be a danger to driving while under the influence of an illness. Being sick while driving can impair your judgement, distract you, or even influence your breathalyzer test if you’re pulled over. Let’s take a closer look.
When you have a fever or a raging cold, your body is working hard to flush out the illness. This means symptoms like sweating, sleepiness, or sore joints. These can also influence how you control a car.
Feeling lightheaded as you fight off the illness can throw off your depth perception, making it difficult to focus on the cars in front of you, or follow directions out on the road. If you’re feeling sleepy, there’s also the danger of falling asleep at the wheel and causing an accident.
If you’re feeling heavy symptoms of illness, avoid driving if you can. Get a ride with a loved one or a friend, or save your errands for another day when you’re feeling better. When you’re out on the road, you should be fully aware of your surroundings and not muddled by the symptoms of a cold.
A few years ago, Britain released a study relating to sickness and driving. Turns out that throughout their winter study, they found that there were 2,500 accidents every week that could be blamed on sneezing, reaching for tissues, or blowing your nose.
When you sneeze, you both close your eyes and lose control of your vehicle. While it may seem like a second or two, the study found that cars can travel up to 50 ft over the course of a sneeze; that’s 50 ft without control of your vehicle.
When you get distracted reaching for a tissue, you run the risk of taking your eyes off the road, or even weaving your car. Weaving is a red flag for any patrolling officer, and will most likely pull you over if they suspect that you’re under the influence.
With the many messages about texting and driving, or driving under the influence, it can be easy to forget about your natural bodily instincts like sneezing.
What also may come as a shock to Arizona drivers is that a combination of cold medicines and a high fever can actually trigger the breathalyzer. Most strong cold medicines, and even some cough drops, actually contain a small amount of alcohol. Combine that with a high body temperature, which has the possibility of exaggerating the alcohol content, and drivers could be arrested for being “under the influence” of being sick.
Do not consume strong cold medicine if you plan to drive; if you must travel somewhere while sick, do not drink cold medicine before or while you’re driving.
It’s possible for Arizona drivers to be arrested for a DUI while under the influence of illness symptoms or cold medicines. If this is your case, don’t hesitate to contact us at the Weingart Firm. Our experienced attorneys know how to fight for your rights and scrutinize the case for the best possible outcomes for our clients. Don’t let illness get you in trouble; contact us today!