ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, has become a very common condition in America, particularly among the young. The condition currently affects almost 10 percent of all children in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That translates to more than 6 million individuals under the age of 18.
The condition is associated with a number of difficulties, including learning, working, and general focus. Additionally, recent studies suggest that driving with ADHD can lead to a much higher risk of car accidents. This makes sense, since safe driving practices require constant focus and vigilance.
Understanding ADHD and finding ways to live with are is important challenges many American families face. By better understanding ADHD and the driving risk associated with it, steps can be taken that allow ADHD drivers to enjoy the road safely.
Increased Crash Risk for ADHD Drivers
It is difficult to gauge the precise level of increased risk for drivers with ADHD. A Swedish study found about a 50 percent increase in the potential for a car accident, while other experts have suggested the increase is significantly lower. Some figures put it at 36 percent instead of 50.
There may not really be a disparity in these opinions. Studies also show that children with ADHD wait longer to get their licenses. It is not clear whether this is because parents make them wait or because they struggle to pass the tests, but the difference in risk factor may be reporting on two different things. Namely, the risk of those drivers who do start driving earlier versus the real risk on the road (where there are fewer young drivers with ADHD).
Regardless of the real number, there is a consensus from all studies that ADHD raises the risk of a car accident, particularly for teenage drivers.
Risk Factors for ADHD Drivers
ADHD risk factors mostly relate to the same issues that other teenage drivers struggle with, only to a greater degree. By far, the greatest risk is found in distracted driving. ADHD drivers may find it more difficult than others to focus when there are more passengers in the car. This problem is most acute at moments when driving seems dullest, such as on long road trips along seemingly unvarying miles of highway. At that point, ADHD can make it difficult to focus when distractions such as friends, the phone, or the radio are within reach.
Other risk factors connected to ADHD include poor decision making that can be a factor in moments of great danger. ADHD drivers may also be more willing to take excessive risks which, combined with a general teenage driver inclination to misjudge dangerous road situations and to speed, can lead to more accidents.
A final risk factor for the ADHD driver is their overconfidence in their own driving skills. ADHD drivers tend to assume they are more competent and more in control of their driving than they actually are. Combined with the ease of distraction, their tendency to take risks, and their poor judgment in crucial driving moments, it is easy to see why such drivers, particularly when young, are at a higher risk for accidents.
Tips for Drivers With ADHD
While ADHD may make driving riskier, there is plenty of evidence that the increased risks can be significantly reduced. Parents and teenagers who use a few tips for ADHD drivers can help make a huge difference in the potential for any type of car accident.
One tip that potential teenage drivers will not want to hear is that delaying driving outright may lead to significantly less risk of ADHD driving accidents. Experts recommend parents and teenagers talk to their doctor and other specialists about whether the teenager in question should delay getting a driver’s license. A delay may be responsible for a decrease in the accidents related to ADHD. As individuals get older, many age out of the condition and others learn to manage it more effectively. Even if doctors say it is fine to drive now, these specialists can help the teenager develop techniques to help stay focused while driving.
If the person is already a driver, or will be shortly, simply taking medication for the condition as prescribed may reduce the number of ADHD-related crashes by between 41 and 49 percent, particularly for men. Since 62 percent of young people with ADHD in America use some form of medication, this is excellent news.
Beyond medication, many other reasonable steps can be taken to help keep attention on the road. The most important thing is to remove as many distractions as possible and reduce the risk of bored and unfocused driving. Drivers with ADHD are advised to avoid all use of cell phones and social media while in the car, including texting and calling. Drivers should also keep the number of passengers to a minimum and take frequent breaks when driving for extended periods. This will break up the monotony of the drive and allow for greater concentration. Overall, ADHD drivers should take extra effort to drive defensively and be as vigilant as possible.
Contact Demas Law Group, P.C. After an ADHD Car Crash
It is incredibly important to try to minimize the risk of car accidents for those with ADHD, but when a car accident does happen, it is just as important to know what to do. The first priority is, of course, to take care of any medical assistance the person needs, but afterward, you may well need to contact our car accident lawyer to consider your legal rights.
If you or someone you know has been in a crash either as an ADHD driver or with an ADHD driver, contact Demas Law Group, P.C. to find out what your next legal steps should be.