Is it negligent to drive while you are sick?

Most Ontarians know that driving under certain conditions is dangerous. We know that we should not drive if we are intoxicated, under the influence of drugs, drowsy or distracted. These conditions make drivers unpredictable and unsafe. 

But what about driving while sick? Is it negligent to drive while sick?

Under some circumstances, driving while sick can be negligent if a person does not exercise the same standard of care that a well person would in the same situation.

Driving while sick could put others in danger of suffering harm in several ways.  

  • Medications - People who take certain types of medication are advised against operating heavy machinery. Cars and trucks are considered heavy machinery, so people who experience fatigue, confusion or other conditions resulting from medication should not get behind the wheel.
  • Distractions - Being sick is distracting. Symptoms like nausea, digestive issues, fevers, pain and fatigue can make it nearly impossible to focus on the task of driving. Drivers who feel miserable or are very worried about their condition can lose focus, compromising their ability to respond to changing road conditions.
  • Loss of control - Uncontrollable reactions to an illness can make it very easy to lose control of a vehicle. One driver, for instance, crashed after suffering a coughing and sneezing fit. Additionally, if you need to do something like blow your nose, you could be taking your eyes and hands off the wheel. Even if this happens for just for a split second, giving up control of a car could have catastrophic consequences.

Making healthy decisions

If you are sick, it can be wise to stay home and refrain from driving, if possible. That said, there may be times when you need to go to the doctor, the pharmacy or maybe even work even though you don't feel well.

Under these circumstances, consider the following ways to avoid dangerous, negligent driving

You could call a rideshare service or ask a friend to drive you. You might time your driving according to when you take medication. You could also put off a trip or opt for deliveries until you are feeling better.

By making better choices when we are sick, we can prevent accidents and get home safely.

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