A small study of 28 college students has revealed that drivers with recent concussions had slower reaction times than those without a head injury by an average of nearly one second.
The group had an average age of 20, 14 of which had experienced concussions and 14 without. They completed a simulated driving reaction time test and a computerized mental acuity (awareness) test 48 hours after their concussion symptoms disappeared - about 16 days after the injury.
At a stoplight, it took those with concussions 0.24 seconds longer to react, an equivalent of nearly 16 feet in stopping distance, compared with those without concussions.
During the driving simulation, which included the image of a child running in front of a car, the concussion group took 0.06 seconds longer to react, the equivalent of 3 feet in stopping distance.
The study results by University of Georgia, were presented last week at a virtual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in July. Data and conclusions presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until peer-reviewed for publication in a medical journal.