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Driving Sick = Driving Drunk; New Study

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Here’s another reason to stay home from work when you have a cold: new research says driving with cold symptoms is just as dangerous as driving drunk!

The study was done by British insurance company Young Marmalade [yes, that’s the company’s name. Doesn’t build up much confidence in their insurance, does it? Well, maybe it means something different in the UK. No, wait, it doesn’t]. It gave computerized “simulation” tests to drivers suffering from cold symptoms. Turns out a case of the sniffles throws off driving skills big time. Cold-suffering drivers have slower reaction times, are less aware of surrounding traffic, and in general, drive more erratically than healthy ones. In fact, the study claims that a cold drops your driving skills by more than 50 % – as much as drinking four double whiskies! One British police chief has even threatened prosecution against sick drivers in the wake of the report.

So why does a cold trash your driving skills? Young Marmalade suggests that being sick makes drivers less interested in being careful. Registered nurse Denise Amrich notes that coughs and sneezes cause shaking, and could cause a driver’s eyes to shut involuntarily, or water, which would make seeing more difficult. Dr. Thomas Campel, an emergency room physician in Pittsburgh, adds that many cold medications contain ingredients that can affect a driver’s abilities.

So if you’re calling in sick, tell your boss it’s “doctor’s orders”.


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