Are pregnant drivers more likely to crash?
A new Canadian study suggests that pregnant women are more likely to be involved in a serious motor-vehicle accident, especially in their second trimesters.
Why is this? And does this finding mean you should avoid driving while pregnant?
1 in 50 Pregnant Women Will Be In Serious Crash, Researchers Say
The study, authored by Dr. Donald Redelmeier at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Ontario, examined more than 500,000 pregnant women for four years before delivery and one year after. According to Live Science, the study found that about 1 in 50 pregnant women will be involved in a serious motor-vehicle accident.
Even when pregnant women are passengers in cars, there is a risk of miscarriage stemming from a serious crash. Redelmeier's study pointed to a 42 percent increase in crash risk for women before they were pregnant and women during their second trimesters.
Redelmeier speculates that women who have passed the first trimester of pregnancy may feel a false sense of security, combined with insomnia, back pain, and "a more hectic life," reports Live Science. Stress, pains, and a busy schedule often lead drivers to be less than focused while driving, and distracted driving is a proven cause of accidents.
So what can pregnant women do to prevent becoming another statistic?
Tips for Safe (and Pregnant) Driving
There's no evidence suggesting that pregnant women are any less capable of being safe drivers, so following these tips can help increase safe driving while pregnant:
- Wear a seatbelt. Although there may be some disagreement about seatbelts, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute engineer Kathy Klinich recommends pregnant women always wear a seatbelt, with the lap portion low on the abdomen and the shoulder portion across the sternum.
- Do not disable airbags. Yes airbags can cause injuries, but they may also save you and your unborn baby's lives.
- Position the steering wheel to avoid belly contact. If possible, drive a vehicle where you can decrease your abdomen's contact with the steering wheel.
- Avoid driving in hazardous conditions. There are ways to safely drive in ice, snow, and rain, but if you can avoid it, don't drive.
- Be a vigilant, defensive driver. Pregnancy can create a million distractions. Practice defensive driving, keep alert, and obey traffic laws to avoid exposing you and your baby to risk.
And if you are involved in a car accident while pregnant, you can always reach out to an experienced car accident attorney for answers.