Too sick to drive? USC researcher shares tips for Qld Road Safety Week
26 Aug 2019
USC road safety expert Dr Bridie Scott-Parker has outlined top tips for road users as part of Queensland Road Safety Week.
Dr Scott-Parker, who leads the Adolescent Risk Research Unit at USC’s Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience – Thompson Institute, said her research aimed to identify the reasons for risky driving behaviour and develop ways to lessen or prevent it.
She said drivers might not realise that the current cold and flu season could lead to situations of impaired driving.
“How many times have you felt too sick to work or study, but then you have jumped in the car?” she said.
“Being sick means you have trouble thinking straight. If you are sneezing and blowing your nose frequently, you might not be able to see or keep both hands on the steering wheel.”
She suggested postponing non-vital travel, using public transport or getting lifts with family, friends or paid ride services.
“If you’re well enough, you could walk. Or you could get someone to make the trip for you. My P-plater child is always happy to drive, even if it’s just to the chemist.”
Dr Scott-Parker also had a strong message to share about the dangers of mixing medication with driving.
“Not only could you be feeling the impact of your illness, such as feeling muddle-headed and having to blow your nose frequently, your medication could prevent you from thinking clearly,” she said.
“Medications can impact your coordination and the speed of your reactions, make you feel dizzy or faint, blur or double your vision, and cause muscles weakness.
“Remember to follow the instructions of your doctor, your chemist, and any instructions in the guide that accompanies the medicine.”
Dr Scott-Parker also has plenty of tips to share this Queensland’s Road Safety Week, including how to improve safety getting on or off a bus.
“If you are waiting for a bus, make sure you keep an eye on passing traffic as drivers may be distracted and may mount the footpath, or may swerve suddenly,” she said.
“Make sure you step back from the roadside as the bus is arriving as the driver tries to get as close to the footpath as possible.”
“Most importantly, this means making sure children do not try to cross the road – either in front of or behind the bus – to leave or to return to your car.
“Park in a safe area on the same side of the road as the bus and, if your children are young, walk to the bus to help them travel to and from your car and the school bus safely.”
“Queensland Road Safety Week is a great opportunity to remind all road users that not only should getting from A to B safely be a top priority, safe travel via buses should also be an important goal,” she said.