Blackouts and driving
Loss of consciousness, or a 'blackout' is clearly incompatible with safe driving. Any driver who experiences a 'blackout' is legally required to notify the Registrar of Motor Vehicle as soon as practicable. Blackouts can occur due to a number of pre-existing conditions and factors, including:
- heart attack or stroke
- high emotions
- hot weather
- drug or alcohol misuse
How does this affect my driving ability?
A blackout will cause the driver to lose consciousness and control of the vehicle, putting themselves and other road users at risk.
What are the symptoms?
- Feeling 'faint' and light headed
- Experiencing high emotions, causing panic or anxiety attacks
- Experiencing a hypoglycaemic episode, which can include shaking, sweating and hunger
- Chest pain or shortness of breath
- Loss of vision
What precautions can I take?
- If a diabetic, ensure that you have taken the required precautions before driving (see Diabetes and driving)
- If you are prone to seizures, avoid circumstances and substances that are known to increase your risk of an episode.
- Know your risk of a heart attack or stroke (see Heart conditions and driving)
- Pull over if you start to feel faint, light headed or dizzy and have something to eat or drink.
- Pull over if you are overly emotional or anxious
- Ensure you are well rested before driving and are taking any medication prescribed to you when required.