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Look out Seattle, driving sick may be as bad as driving drunk

Seattle drivers know that driving drunk is a bad decision. It is dangerous and puts your own life, as well as the lives of other drivers and pedestrians, at extreme risk. It is irresponsible, causes car accidents, and those who drive drunk should be held accountable.

However, a new study suggests that many of us who drive only when sober and of clear mind may actually be just as negligent as someone who gets behind the wheel after taking multiple shots of alcohol at the bar.

A research team funded by two British insurance companies recently released a study which says that driving sick is just as dangerous as driving drunk. It reportedly goes so far as to suggest that driving under the influence of four double shots of whiskey can be as reckless as driving with a cold.

The study's authors say that drivers who are sick have a slower reaction time, difficulty maneuvering around curves and braking suddenly, according to a news report.

The news report gave an example of one driver who said he was recently pulled over after he reached to grab a tissue and an officer noticed his car weaving.

Though the study's findings seem surprising, state troopers interviewed by a TV station about the results were not shocked.

One trooper said that being sick does take your focus off of the road. He said that drivers should evaluate their condition before they get behind the wheel and ask themselves whether they can drive safely when they are feeling so ill.

Of course, it may not be safe to drive while taking certain cold medicines that may cause drowsiness or alter your mental state.

This study should be a reminder to all motorists to drive carefully and to think about their condition before driving. Those who are sick and find it difficult or uncomfortable to walk around the house by foot would likely be irresponsible to choose to drive around in a car. If a sickness is impeding daily functioning, it certainly may take attention away from the road and we should all certainly be aware of that and make smart decisions to avoid personal injury of ourselves and others.

Source: KOMONews.com, "Study: Driving while sick as bad as drunk driving," Mark Miller, Jan. 6, 2012

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