Should you drive if injured?
Just like everyone else, I’m getting older. Although I’m currently in my late 40’s, I often don’t feel my age. I still play street hockey with my kids and their friends and throw the baseball around too. Unfortunately, I have to put those games on hold for a little while. With the actions I do every day as a driving instructor at Young Drivers of Canada, I tend to write and draw a lot while teaching in the classroom. These actions have caused my arm to suffer bursitis in my shoulder. This has made it difficult to raise my arm above my head. Has this reduced my ability to drive safely? Fortunately it hasn’t, but what would you do if you were injured enough that driving would become difficult?
I think the first thing to recognize is if there is still some pain from your injury. That pain can distract you and your much needed driving thoughts. If you’re still in pain, let someone else do the driving for you. Taking medication for your pain isn’t always the best answer if it can cause drowsiness. Always ensure you read the label of any medication before your take it. If it can cause drowsiness, why not take it after you get to work? By the time you’re ready to head home it would wear off for you and allow you to drive safely.
What types of illnesses or injuries could you drive with? They would definitely have to be something that doesn’t distract you, but also something that would still allow you to drive normally. Ok, as normal as you’re able to. I once fractured my big toe on my right foot and had it wrapped up with the other toes to keep it stable. It was quite bulky and awkward to move it around, so I let my friends and family chauffer me to my destinations. Wasn’t that nice of me to let them?
Although I’ve seen it, driving with your arm in a sling isn’t a good idea. Some people feel that ‘palming’ the steering wheel will give you enough steering control. Not exactly. If that one hand slips off the steering wheel, you won’t have access to the other hand to grab the wheel. This would most likely lead into a possible crash.
I also know someone who drove themselves to an eye appointment knowing they would be getting eye drops that blurred their vision. How would they get home? Planning ahead is important if you’re heading off to a doctor’s appointment, just in case you’re unable to drive safely after the visit.
Whatever you injury or illness, take the time and think carefully about your ability to drive. If it has the remote chance to stop you from focusing on the driving task, don’t drive. Make alternative plans to get around. There’s no need to add other injuries to that fractured toe and having to call…wait for it…a toe truck.