Having a cold makes you miserable, but it isn't so bad that you can't go about your normal day. Plenty of people still function while suffering from a cold, doing the things they usually do like working, parenting and in many cases, driving. However, it turns out that driving with a cold could wind up costing you thousands of dollars.
You might think you are able to function with a cold just as well as you can when you are healthy, but according to a recent study, the effects of the common cold can actual impair driving ability as much as 50 percent. To put that in perspective, it would take eight shots of whiskey to cause that kind of impairment. Headaches, fatigue, and being distracted by a stuffy or runny nose are all cold symptoms that have an effect on driving. Reaching for a tissue while behind the wheel is dangerous, but even just sneezing can be perilous. A sneeze while driving at 70 miles an hour means your eyes are closed as you move 155 feet.
Even with all that, it isn't illegal to drive with a cold however, if you get into a car accident while sick with one, it could cause you to be considered negligent in the crash, opening yourself up to lawsuits from victims seeking compensation for any accident-related losses or injuries.
Worst of all, even if you take medicine to deal with your cold symptoms, you will still be liable since certain meds make it unsafe to drive. Many have side effects like drowsiness, even ones labeled as "non-drowsy," and that can definitely impair your ability to drive.
Meanwhile, if you are a commercial truck driver, it is illegal in all states to drive while sick. Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, "No driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle, while the driver's ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle."
If you are sick, even if you weren't risking thousands of dollars by driving with a cold, you should stay at home. It will stop the spread of your illness and in doing so, protect vulnerable people, and it will give your body a chance to rest and recover so you get better faster.