How soon is it safe to drive after a concussion?

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

If you were involved in a serious car crash, it may take some time before you’re healed enough – physically and emotionally — to get behind the wheel again. You know that some injuries, like a broken leg or a slipped disc, can prevent you from driving. But what about a concussion?

If you were diagnosed with a concussion after your crash, your doctor may have told you how soon you could return to work, school or any kind of strenuous activities like sports. However, the medical community doesn’t seem to have any agreed-upon timeline for returning to driving after suffering a concussion.

The symptoms of a concussion can vary greatly from one person to the next. Some of the most noticeable and common symptoms of a concussion, like dizziness, headaches and light and sound sensitivity, can be intermittent but last for weeks or more.

However, a person who has suffered a concussion can have cognitive impairments they’re not even aware of, and those can stay with them for longer. That can make driving risky.

One study showed the risk of driving too soon after symptoms are gone

One study showed just how dangerous it can be to try to drive too soon after a concussion. The study involved a small group of college-age subjects. Each person was put on a driving simulator a few days after they reported no longer experiencing symptoms from a recent concussion.

Researchers found that in many cases, their driving resembled that of a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to the author of the study, “They had less vehicle control while they were doing the driving simulation, and they swerved more within the lane.”

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). An injured brain may not be able to tell you when it’s fully healed. That means we likely aren’t the best judge of our own ability to drive. That’s why it’s best to have a licensed driver along with you when you first get back behind the wheel who can better judge your ability to drive safely.

Car crash injuries can have more long-term and far-reaching effects than people realize at the time. That’s why it’s crucial not to settle a claim with an insurance company before you know the full extent of your expenses and damages. Having legal guidance can help you protect your rights.