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Fit to Drive

7 Lessons Intermediate

About this course

Driving demands your constant attention, good judgment, the ability to maintain your health, and have a positive attitude.

Some personal health conditions (e.g., poor vision, heart problems, diabetes) may affect your driving. You should discuss your condition with a physician and follow their advice when you get behind the wheel.

Whether you are calm, nervous or hot-tempered, your personality affects the way you drive. As a result of your mood, you may also take more driving risks than you normally would when you're calm, relaxed, and alert.

Any changes in your health and the ability to drive should be reported to the DVLA because the state of our health can have a huge impact on road safety, affecting reaction times and judgment.

As far as the law is concerned, everyone has a legal duty to ensure they are fit to drive and to notify the DVLA of the onset or worsening of any condition that could affect this. Failing to do so can net you a £1,000 fine (or worse if you cause an accident as a result of that failure). 

On the DVLA website, you’ll find a full list of illnesses and conditions, ranging from cancer to diabetes, which requires direct notification. A doctor will only alert the DVLA about your health if they think you may be a serious risk, so most drivers must take responsibility for themselves.

Make sure you’re up to date with your eye tests and consider issues such as general mobility – you need to be able to turn your head to look behind, and need to have good movement in your lower limbs so that you can brake quickly. If any of this is compromised, you may not be fit to drive.

a study by the insurer Confused.com, in partnership with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, found that one in seven motorists who had taken cold or flu medication containing codeine had suffered side-effects at the wheel.

A lot of drivers are unfit to drive from the beginning—sometimes they're fatigued, sometimes they fall asleep as they drive in the middle of the night, sometimes they're worried, stressed or inattentive or distracted.

Apart from the driver's state of mind, other factors, such as their health, what road they are driving on, the weather conditions and what time of the day it is, influence driving and increase the risk of crashes.

Those with a serious weight problem can also present a risk to themselves and other road users. One side effect of obesity is sleep apnoea [a disorder that disrupts sleep] even though a person may not even realise they have it, explains Paul Reddy, a specialist motoring lawyer with Slater & Gordon. “Sufferers can feel extremely tired during the day, which is a risk to driving.”

Don't endanger yourself and others on the road with driving under the influence.  According to NHTSA statistics most car collisions, injuries, and deaths occur due to drunk driving.

In Europe, more than 25,000 people lose their lives on the road every year, while another 135,000 are seriously injured. The main culprits are speed, alcohol or drug driving, non-use of seat belts, distraction, and fatigue. 

Approximately, 25% of all road deaths in Europe are alcohol-related. As alcohol concentration in the drivers' blood increases, the crash rate does too.

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