A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that women were 42% more likely to be involved in a car accident during their second trimester of pregnancy. The study, “Pregnancy and the risk of a traffic crash,” looked at women in Ontario between April 1, 2006-March 31, 2011.
Researchers cited “diverse physiologic and lifestyle changes” that happen to a woman who is pregnant that can have an impact on driving. These might include stress, fatigue, back pain, nausea and sleeplessness. An article on ABC News quoted its senior medical contributor, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, who is also an OB/GYN. Dr. Ashton said in part that after delivering over 1,000 babies none of her patients have ever been involved in a car accident. She said she would tell her patients how to stay safe while driving and remind them to always wear a seatbelt.
Seat belt Use & Pregnancy
According to doctors, seat belts will not hurt your unborn child. Doctors recommend that you continue to use seat belts even after your uterus has expanded. A study in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology found that three fetuses of 86 women in accidents who were wearing seat belts died. It also found that only three fetuses from 12 women not wearing a seat belt died. While that sample size is limited, it is cited as support that expecting mothers should continue to wear seat belts.
The seat belt should be worn below the belly and across the hip bones to protect the mother and unborn child.
Avoiding a Car Accident
Regardless of whether or not you are pregnant there are several things you can do to keep yourself safe on the road. These include:
• Always, always wearing a seat belt
• Obeying speed limit signs. If you have to go 15 mph or more below the speed limit make sure your four-way flashers are on to alert other drivers
• Obeying and stopping at stop signs for at least 3 seconds.
• Paying attention to your surroundings. Don’t use a cell phone or become distracted by loud music or conversation in your car
• Yield when instructed to do so. If traffic is heavy, treat the yield sign like a stop sign and wait until it is clear to merge
• Keep your distance from others drivers. Never travel too close because you never know when the other driver will make a sudden stop
• Make sure your call is well-maintained. Get your oil changed, tires rotated and car inspected when needed
Make sure you always have your auto insurance card in your car, so it’s easily accessible. Also, keep your driver’s license in your wallet and up-to-date.
Exclusively focused on representing plaintiffs, especially in mass tort litigation, Eric Chaffin prides himself on providing unsurpassed professional legal services in pursuit of the specific goals of his clients and their families. Both his work and his cases have been featured in the national press, including on ABC’s Good Morning America.