As people get older, they are likely to suffer from chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. These conditions, coupled with the medications taken to control them, have the potential to impair functioning while behind the wheel of a car. Getting back on the road after a heart attack can be just another step in the recovery process, but it’s important that a person with a heart condition is especially careful. Brad says, “Age will impact us all. And while we all want to retain our freedom, don’t endanger yourself or others if you see signs that your driving abilities may be declining.”
The following conditions can result in a heart attack, stroke, palpitations, or breathlessness, which may cause someone to lose consciousness and/or control of their vehicle.
- heart disease
- post heart attack
- post heart surgery (bypass, transplant and fitting of pacemakers)
Following a heart attack, these are tips for resuming driving:
- If you are in any doubt about your fitness to drive, please consult your doctor.
- When you resume driving, take it in easy stages.
- Driving with a passenger can be helpful.
- Avoid heavy traffic and motorways until you know you can cope.
- Give yourself plenty of time for your journey.
- Do not drive for longer than 2 hours without a break.
In the unfortunate instance that someone experiences a heart episode while driving, drivers and passengers should follow these steps:
- If you’re driving and experience the symptoms of a heart attack, ease off the accelerator and try to find an opening in the flow of traffic to allow you to steer to a safe place and bring the vehicle to a standstill as soon as possible.
- If you have a passenger with you, ask them to assist you to steer the car to safety.
- Whether the person experiencing the heart attack is the driver or passenger, the medical episode is exacerbated by panicking.
- If you are close to a hospital, ask your passenger to drive you to the emergency room.
- If you’re a little far from a hospital or unable to drive there, immediately contact the emergency services and tell them where you are parked.
- If available, and as soon as possible, give the cardiac victim aspirin by mouth.
- If the patient goes into cardiac arrest, start CPR with 30 chest compressions before checking the airway and giving rescue breaths.
Truck drivers are held to stricter standards following a heart episode. To return to work, they must have written permission from their treating physician. They must also pass a formal stress test and work evaluation. “A situation is risky when a driver has a heart condition, but it becomes much more dangerous when that person is operating a commercial truck weighing 80,000 pounds,” Brad says.
At Parker Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.
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