Can You Drive While Wearing a Neck Brace?
Driving is a complex task that requires not only mental alertness but also physical capabilities. Numerous car safety laws govern what is and is not acceptable for a driver when behind the wheel, encompassing their actions, physical condition, and mental state. Among the considerations that come into play is using medical tools or accessories, such as a neck brace. So, is driving legal or illegal while wearing a neck brace?
The challenges of driving with a neck brace
Driving with a neck brace can be challenging due to the limitations it imposes on one’s ability to move their neck freely. Typically, a brace is prescribed to immobilize the neck and restrict its range of motion, primarily to facilitate healing following an injury, according to the NHS.
While a neck brace serves an essential medical purpose, operating a car can create difficulties. When you wear one, you may find it nearly impossible to turn your head to look behind you or to check your side mirrors for traffic in your blind spots. These limitations mean that you would have to rely solely on your rearview mirror and any camera views your vehicle may have to be aware of what is happening around you while driving.
Driving with a neck brace: Is it legal?
So, is it legal to drive with a neck brace? In most places, the answer is a resounding no. Laws and regulations regarding driving with medical accessories like neck braces typically err on the side of caution, prioritizing safety above all else. When you wear one, you cannot operate a vehicle safely; therefore, it is generally considered illegal. In some cases, driving with a neck brace can result in fines, penalties, and even license suspension.
Handicapped parking permits: Not for neck injuries
Healthcare professionals usually advise people with neck injuries not to drive at all while wearing a neck brace. So, not only is it illegal to drive with a neck brace, but it is also medically discouraged.
Now, let’s address the question of whether a neck injury qualifies an individual for a handicapped parking permit. The answer is somewhat straightforward: if you are not allowed to drive with a neck injury, you also do not qualify for a handicapped parking permit. Handicapped parking permits are typically issued to individuals with mobility impairments that significantly affect their walking ability. Since driving with a neck injury is not permissible, the need for a handicapped parking permit due to a neck injury does not typically arise, according to The Zebra.
Protecting your neck as a car passenger
Driving with a neck brace is generally illegal because it compromises safety by limiting the driver’s ability to check mirrors, blind spots, and other views of the road. Drivers with neck injuries should seek medical advice and refrain from driving while wearing a brace. On the other hand, car passengers with neck injuries should continue to wear neck braces during travel. The support provided can help prevent irritation to the injured neck, especially on bumpy roads or during abrupt turns.