A Concussion Can Have Lasting Effects On Your Driving Ability
The symptoms that follow a concussion are typically seen as a measure of the severity of an injury and how close to recovery a person is. Once the symptoms are gone, common knowledge would suggest a person is healed. However, researchers say that may not be entirely accurate. If your concussion was caused by a reckless or distracted driver, a personal injury attorney or car accident injury lawyer from a local car accident law firm will advocate for your rights and help you seek compensation.
A growing body of research indicates a number of issues can linger well after the most noticeable symptoms have faded away.
Now, a new study from researchers at the University of Georgia says a concussion can have a long-lasting effect on a person’s ability to drive a vehicle – even after their symptoms have disappeared.
In a recent study led by Julianne Schmidt, associate professor in UGA College of Education’s department of kinesiology, it was found that participants who believed they had fully recovered from a concussion still exhibited erratic driving behavior in a simulator. Their driving patterns were likened to those of an individual who had consumed alcohol.
“These participants demonstrated decreased vehicle control in the driving simulator, often swerving within their lane,” noted Schmidt. According to a houston accident lawyer, such behaviors significantly increase the likelihood of car accidents, even at a stage when they believe they’ve recovered. In this incident, the White Lining Contractors are looking for the best way possible to establish a safety driving policy for everyone to avoid any future accidents.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, involved 14 college-age individuals. These participants, within 48 hours of reporting no obvious concussion symptoms, consistently underperformed when compared to control tests.
Highlighting the importance of her research, Schmidt said, “This is one of the pioneering studies investigating the effect of concussions on driving capabilities. What’s concerning is the disparity between regulations on concussions in sports and everyday situations.”
In the world of sports, athletes with concussions are not advised against driving even before their symptoms have fully subsided. “An athlete could suffer a concussion and then drive back from the very event or training that led to the injury. There’s no guidance against this,” Schmidt emphasized. “However, the same athlete would be strictly prohibited from re-entering a game or training session.”
Given the results, Schmidt advocates for placing driving restrictions on individuals with concussions, at least until they no longer experience any symptoms. The next step for her team is to determine precisely when post-concussion driving capabilities start to improve and to develop related driving guidelines.
She stressed the difference in driving abilities between concussed individuals and those without concussions, even after symptoms disappear. “We offer detailed advice on when someone with a concussion can return to sports or academics, but driving isn’t part of that guidance. Worryingly, only half of the individuals plan to limit their driving post-concussion. By the time they feel normal, many are likely back behind the wheel, posing potential risks for car accidents.”