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Are people driving too soon after suffering a concussion?

On Behalf of | Oct 15, 2021 | Car accidents

If you’ve been involved in a serious car crash, it’s easier to measure your level of recovery from some injuries than others. You can see lacerations healing and feel your level of pain from torn muscles diminish over time.

It’s not always that easy to know how well you’re recovering from a concussion. Even after any obvious symptoms are gone, you may still not be ready to handle complex tasks like driving.

What studies have found

One small study of college-age people found that even two days after they reported having no symptoms, their driving skills were still affected. When tested on a simulator, they often “drove” erratically – for example, swerving within their lane.

A survey of 300 teens found that many resumed driving after a concussion before they resumed other activities, like exercise and playing sports. Nearly half were driving within two weeks after their concussion. Further, three-fifths of those said that they didn’t restrict their driving in any way because of their injury.

Why young people are at particular risk

The lack of restrictions placed on driving by doctors after a concussion is particularly concerning when it comes to young people – and especially teens – because they’re still relatively new drivers. As one professor involved in the teen survey said, “We’re looking at this intersection of driving and concussion and see teen drivers returning to what is already a very high-risk behavior for them and doing so with an injury known to cause cognitive impairment.”

If you or a loved one – regardless of their age — has suffered a concussion in a crash or any other type of event, it’s crucial to understand that it can cause neurological issues and cognitive deficits that can affect perception and reaction time. Continued medical treatment and observation is always a good idea after any kind of brain injury. If your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence or actions, it’s important to seek the compensation you need for medical costs and other expenses and damages.