Are you fit to drive?

Many of us depend on our ability to drive every day – whether it’s for work or simply to go grocery shopping or pick up the kids from school. However, it’s important that you’re always fit to drive before getting behind the wheel of a road vehicle. Many accidents are caused every year as a result of health problems, fatigue or inebriation. Below are a few checks that you should always make before you drive a vehicle. 


You can’t drive safely if you can’t clearly see the road in front of you. If you’ve noticed that your long-distance vision has started to decline, it could be important to see an optician before you next step foot in a car. Ideally, you shouldn’t drive unless you can read a registration plate from 20 metres (65 ft) away. Meanwhile, you may want to refrain from driving at night if you’ve noticed that you’re having trouble with glare. 


It’s important that you have full motion of your arms, legs and neck while driving. Any injuries or disabilities affecting these parts of your body could inhibit your control and reaction time. Many injuries (such as whiplash) may be possible to treat by taking a break from certain activities (including driving) and by looking into physiotherapy. If you’ve been seriously injured in an auto accident and this has affected your mobility, you may be able to claim compensation to go towards treatment. Degenerative conditions like arthritis and multiple sclerosis are much harder to treat and you may have to eventually accept the fact that you can no longer drive.


Your mental state is also important when driving. If you’re feeling depressed or incredibly stressed, you should consider how this may impact your driving. A clear head will prevent you from getting distracted or taking out your anger on the road. Mental degenerative conditions like dementia can also affect our ability to drive. If you’ve noticed that you’re losing your sense of direction or even forgetting certain rules of the road, it may unfortunately be time to retire from driving. 


A good way to determine whether a health condition inhibits your driving is to talk to a health professional. After an operation, many doctors will be clear as to whether you can drive or not. In some cases, you may be able to still drive with health conditions, providing that you take steps to manage them – such as taking medication for epilepsy. 


Fatigue is responsible for many accidents. If you’re feeling drowsy while driving, always take a break. If you continue to feel sleepy after this break, it’s advised that you pull over and get some rest before you continue driving. You don’t want to fall asleep at the wheel. 


Drugs and alcohol can negatively affect your vision and reaction time. While it’s important to consider local laws, you should also consider your own personal tolerance. If you already feel the effects of alcohol after one drink, you should avoid getting in a vehicle even if you are still under the limit. 

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