Driving skills naturally change over time. As he gains experience, a reckless teen may become a defensive driver. A normally careful driver could turn into an aggressive or distracted driver after a career change. An elderly driver may find that the normal changes that come with aging make it harder to react in dangerous situations.
Driving skills can also change with illness. A sudden health problem or a chronic disease can impact one’s ability to drive safely, make good driving decisions, and react to traffic. Medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, dementia and epilepsy increase the risk of a West Palm Beach car crash because they can cause confusion, dizziness, faintness, or sleepiness. Arthritis or joint injuries can make it difficult to check blind spots. Not only do the symptoms of these conditions impair driving, but the side effects of medication taken for these symptoms can also increase the likelihood of a Florida traffic accident.
As the American population ages, the number of drivers with chronic health issues is expected to increase. This means that an increasing number of drivers will be using medications to manage their health.
In 2009, the AAA Foundation conducted a survey of over 600 drivers between the ages of 56 and 93. Seventy percent of those participating in the study were taking one or more medications that could affect driving ability. However, only 28 percent of those surveyed realized that their medication could affect driving skills.
If you take medication for an illness or chronic medical condition, follow this advice from Craig Goldenfarb, an accident injury lawyer in West Palm Beach:
- Read the inserts and warnings that come with your prescription. If the package insert warns that the medication may affect driving ability, stop driving until you know how the medication affects you.
- Discuss all your symptoms and medications with your doctor, and ask if there are any driving risks that you should be concerned about.
- Let your doctor know if you have received medications from other doctors. Sometimes a medication that is fine when taken alone will produce dangerous side effects when mixed with another drug.
- Never drive if you have been drinking. Even a small amount of alcohol can intensify the effects of medication.
A driver under the influence of prescription medications puts themselves and everyone else on the road at risk of a West Palm Beach auto accident. If you are injured by a medicated driver, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, and other losses.