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Study Suggests It May Not Be Safe to Drive Soon After a Concussion

Study Suggests It May Not Be Safe to Drive Soon After a Concussion

A recent study has determined that driving for a while may not be a good idea if you have suffered a concussion. According to a HealthDay news report, researchers at the University of Georgia concluded that people who have concussions often have slower reaction times as a result and do more poorly in tests involving thinking skills after their injury compared to peers who don’t have concussions.

What the Study Showed

The study states that “complicated driving skills,” involving split-second reaction times that could make the difference between life and death, are the longest to regain after someone has sustained a concussion. Researchers say it takes longer to get these skills back even when all other symptoms have subsided or resolved.

The study involved 28 college students (average age 20), including 14 with concussions and 14 without. The subjects completed a simulated driving reaction time test and a computerized mental acuity test 48 hours after their concussion symptoms disappeared, about 16 days after the injury.

The study found that drivers with concussions had slower reaction times compared with those without a head injury by an average of nearly one second. For example, at a stoplight, it took those with concussions 0.24 seconds longer to react, an equivalent of nearly 16 feet in stopping distance, compared to those without concussions. During the driving simulation, which included the image of a child running in front of a vehicle the concussion group took 0.06 seconds longer to react, the equivalent of 3 feet in stopping distance.

The study results were presented last week at a virtual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. Overall, as the symptoms of the drivers with concussions resolved, their reaction times were similar to drivers who did not have concussions. However, when researchers looked specifically at stoplight reaction time, they saw lingering deficits in drivers with concussions.

Understanding the Effects of Concussions

A concussion is typically viewed as “mild” traumatic brain injury, often leading to underestimation of the damage these types of injuries can cause. Based on several studies, we now know that concussions can leave victims with long-term issues. If you or a loved one has suffered a concussion as a result of an injury from car accidents, a slip-and-fall accident, an assault or contact sports, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, damages or losses against the negligent parties involved. An experienced California brain injury lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options better.


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