How Concussions Affect Driving

When they stepped up to the driving simulator at the University of Georgia, 14 college-aged students exhibited strange driving behavior. They swerved out of their lanes, had trouble maintaining speed, and frequently lost control of their simulated vehicles. In fact, many of them drove as if they were under the influence of alcohol. The students, however, were not drunk. They were recovering from concussions.

The Effect of Concussions on Driving

The students who participated in the study had all recently suffered from concussions, but reported that they were within 48 hours of no longer feeling the symptoms. Their hindered driving skills, however, show the lingering affect that concussions can have, even when the initial symptoms have vanished.

Concussions, like alcohol, can contribute to:

  • Slowed reaction time
  • Lack of concentration
  • Poor physical coordination
  • Poor judgement

Even if a concussion is in the recovery stages, driving can still trigger issues. For some people, bright lights cause headaches during concussion recovery, making stop lights, brake lights, and other colors of traffic difficult to manage. For others, turning their head might be difficult. This puts them at risk, but also endangers other people on the roads. When someone has a concussion, they may display similar behavior as a drunk or distracted driver, and could cause an accident.

Of course, having a concussion does not mean that someone should never drive again. However, they need to be extra aware of when it is safe to get back behind the wheel. After suffering a concussion, drivers should carefully consider their symptoms, and what triggers them, if anything, and if that will hinder their driving ability. They should also talk to their doctor about when it is safe to returning to driving.

After a concussion, it is important to be cautious with all activities, not just driving. By jumping back into driving and other daily activities too soon, another injury could easily be sustained, and after a concussion, that is the last thing anyone wants!


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.


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